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living the dream

Movies and TV, My LA story, Posts

June Gloom really is a thing

It’s the summer holidays and it finally starts to feel like it. Apart from feeling more relaxed, sleeping in a little and eating later it hasn’t really felt like the holidays.

I managed to pin it down to two things:

  1. I didn’t have—or attend—an end-of-year break-up drinks session. For as long as I remember either I or one of my friends would have break-up drinks where all the kids and mums get together for drinks not unlike our Friday afternoon drinks. This year my son hosted a sleepover after exams and my daughter went to a friends for break-up pool party but I was left to my own devices and didn’t invite any parents for accompanying drinks. I don’t like it when there’s no celebratory get together so I’m pretty sure this was part of that anti-climax.
  2. We didn’t head straight for the beach. Once school is out–and we’ve got together for break-up drinks–we head straight for the beach to spend some six weeks in summer holiday mode: prepping for Christmas, heading to the beach each day, boating, water sports and lots and lots of eating and drinking. We love our summer holidays in Australia: it’s all about the beach, great food and amazing company.

Summer holidays in Australia

Let me tangent for just a minute: Australian beaches are largely uninhabited. Sure you’ve got Bondi and Manly beach in Sydney and St Kilda and Brighton in Melbourne but the beaches aren’t built up on the beach like Santa Monica, Malibu and Long Beach. Where we go—Jervis Bay on the South Coast of New South Wales (NSW)—there’s nothing.

At Our Beach, Our Magic Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

At Our Beach, Our Magic Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

 

And that’s exactly the way we like it. It has all we need: a seafood co-op (where local fisherman sell their seafood to the public), a butcher and a deli with most of the hard-to-find ingredients we need for the incredible food we’ll prepare—recipes we’ve been researching and preparing for months in advance.

All we have is the beach, the white sand, crystal clear water and fellow boaters. Oh, and lots of great food and drink.

In Australia hundreds of families pack up their car on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) to congregate on the highway headed for the beach. They rent houses, enjoy their own or camp or caravan (RV) on the foreshore for their annual fortnight (two weeks) holiday (vacation). It’s the quintessential ‘Straylian thing to do.

Summer holidays in the US

American summer holidays go on and on and on. And on and on. Essentially three months of the year are spent on holidays. If you ask me (I know you didn’t) it’s ridiculous. It’s just too long. There are some school districts that have caught on and implemented the “year-round” schedule. It works similar to Australia where you get two weeks four times a year and six weeks over summer.

(In Australia the school year goes something like this: 10 weeks of school, two weeks holidays, 10 weeks of school, two/three weeks holidays, 10 weeks of school, two/weeks holidays, 10 weeks of school, two/three weeks, 10 weeks of school, six/eight weeks summer holidays).

We all know through movies like American Pie that American kids spend weeks at a time on camp; well it’s no bloody wonder. You need to be a patient martyr to manage the kids for three months.

June Gloom

Last year I blogged about Brenda and Brandon heading down to the Beverly Hills Beach Club over summer where Brandon would go to work (good old Brandon working to earn his keep as opposed to Dylan living comfortably off his trust fund–don’t misunderstand me I loved Dylan!). I was so excited to be hitting the beach at the members-only club the likes of which the fictitious beach club in 90210 was based.

As a family we made a pact that we wouldn’t let 90210 and the Hollywood lifestyle change us. There have to be exceptions to every rule and heading down to the beach club has to be one of them.

Here are three (OK four) reasons why the private beach club should be an exception to our rule:

  1. Beach chairs: It’s so nice not having to lug your chairs all the way down to the beach, it’s all set up for you. How decadent.
  2. Valet parking: No more driving around trying to find a park: pull up, get out of the car and it’s parked for you.
  3. Bar and restaurant (no words needed)
  4. Toilets and hot showers (no words needed).

The only problem with world-famous Santa Monica beach in June (and SoCal in general for that matter) is June Gloom. June Gloom is exactly as it sounds: a marine layer hovers over the beach suburbs making it grey and gloomy (rather than bright and sunny) and doesn’t lift (if you’re lucky) until early afternoon.

I remember when we first arrived in LA we were running around Hollywood in the stifling August heat. We were due to meet friends in Santa Monica at 3:00. When we got there we were freezing: the marine layer was hovering over Santa Monica, visibility was poor, no sun and it was at least 20 degrees colder. Ill prepared we needed jumpers and long pants it was that cold.  And that was in August.

On our way down to the beach club I was telling my friend about my experience because we’d forgotten to pack jumpers for our trip to the beach. Sure enough—as if I’d jinxed us—the same was true that day.

We were supposed to head to the beach the day before but Obama was in town and the roads were closed from the beach to Beverly Hills making it impossible to go anywhere on the Westside without being stuck in standstill traffic.

When parking our car we asked if the June Gloom had lifted at all this week to which the valet replied not really but they did catch the sun the day Obama shut down the roads. Great, we hoped we weren’t doomed.

But, alas around 3:00 in the afternoon, like magic the gloom lifts giving way to sunshine.

June Gloom lifts and Santa Monica looks like the travel brochures: iconically perfect | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

June Gloom lifts and Santa Monica looks like the travel brochures: iconically perfect | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

 

The scene was set for an afternoon in paradise: an afternoon where we could sip cocktails on the balcony watching the sun set over Santa Monica and the kids had run of the club and the nearby pier.

Sunsetting behind the Santa Monica mountains | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

Sun setting behind the Santa Monica mountains | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

 

Yep, summer is here, holidays are here. There truly is nothing like being at the beach to make you feel like the summer holidays have arrived. And if that trip to the beach happens to come with all the bells and whistles of a 90210 lifestyle then I’m all in.

Happy summer everyone!

xx It Started in LA xx

LA Restaurants, Posts

The Church Key

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. People complain about coming to the US and getting sick of eating hamburgers, hot dogs, salads with mayo all over them and fries, fries, fries. That’s not America’s fault people: it’s yours. You can’t use that excuse here in LA. The only excuse you have is ignorance—of not knowing where to go. But thanks to Google and blogs like mine you can find great restaurants to eat and with a bit of planning ahead of time you can check out some of LA’s great dining spots.

(Don’t forget to tip between 18-20% though—10% or rounding up the bill doesn’t cut it here! Blog post to follow).

Let’s start with the fabulously located The Church Key.

The Church Key… Just ✋. 😍 #canthandlethecute #thechurchkey #latergram #bestdonutsever @thechurchkeyla

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The bar. Love it @thechurchkeyla #thechurchkeyla #ladining #lafoodie #aussiebloggerinla #aussiebloggerinla #Itstartedinla

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It’s on W Sunset in West Hollywood right amongst some of the popular hotels.

Firstly you’ll thank me the minute you walk in as the décor is LA hip. You can enjoy cocktails at the bar and take advantage of the tapas/dim sum-style carts that wheel around specials with anything from tuna to mini shepherd’s pies and samosas to popcorn to deep-fried & breaded bacon!!! (I know sounds kinda too much but nothing in this place was terrible so I imagine it was anything but, still we weren’t game to try!).

Last one I promise! I want one of these drinks carts @thechurchkeyla #ladining #lafoodie #Itstartedinla #aussiebloggerinla #thechurchkeyla

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The menu is a sharing one—my preference to get a little taste of everything and not forced to pick just one thing. We sampled:

AGED CHEDDAR FONDUE—Asparagus, Artichokes & Carrots / Pretzel Twist

AHI TUNA TARTARE—Apricot / Greek Yogurt / Pistachios / Serrano Chili / Pappadam

BRUSSELS SPROUT “CAESAR SALAD”—Tomato Raisins / Sunflower Seeds / Parmesan Cheese

RICOTTA GNUDI—Corn Espuma / Parmesan / Brown Butter / Chives (my personal fave)

 

JIDORI CHICKEN “TIKKA MASALA”—Dehydrated Mango / Cilantro Raita / Basmati Rice

And next time I’m going to try (just don’t know what I’m going to swap for):

ENGLISH PEA “HUMMUS”—Vadouvan / Cherry Tomatoes / Grilled Paneer / Garlic Chips / Nigella Naan

OSOSKY’S POTATO PIEROGIES–Peach Butter / Aged Gouda / Crème Fraîche / Chives & the

CRISPY PORK BELLY—Gochujang Glaze / Cashew Butter / Radish / Pea Shoots / Cilantro / Sesame

RIGATONI PASTA—Fennel Sausage / ”Red Sauce” / New Olive Oil / Parmesan Espuma

TAPIOCA CRUSTED TAI SNAPPER–Broccoli Rabe / Sushi Rice Cake / White Soy Vinaigrette

Dessert |Filipino Key Lime Pie with Calamansi

Dessert |Filipino Key Lime Pie with Calamansi

 

Be sure to make it to the toilets as there are a few photo opps!

I lied. A couple more for the blog. Link in bio 🍷😍🍸#thechurchkeyla #lafoodie #ladining #livingthedream #myreality #weho #aussieexpat

A post shared by It Started in LA 🌴 Gwenny John (@itstartedinla) on

 

So next time you’re in LA eat somewhere nice! Here’s the website for more info & to make a booking.

I look forward to the thank-yous in the comments ;-).

xx It Started in LA xx

 

PS: For more LA Dining suggestions visit my Pinterest page.

Celebrity, My LA story, Posts

A normal end to the school year–with a twist of 90210

Like everyone in my neck of the woods, with school finishing in the middle of the year rather than the end, it’s busy, busy, busy. There are fairs, thank-you breakfasts, end-of-year events and of course big assignments and exams to study for.

Last weekend we had the Annual Fair, which was moved from the school grounds to a private party on Santa Monica Pier. Each school we’ve been to (with the kids) has had a Fair/Fiesta/Fete of some kind. They’ve all been good but last year we (I) was so shell-shocked laughing at the fact that my kids are having their fair on the Santa Monica Pier.

I never expected to be ever going back to LA let alone living here let alone having a private party on the blessed (pronounced bless-ed in place of a swear-word) Pier. This year we’re so LA that we’ve taken it all in our stride. Somewhat.

Cut back to my son’s school in Australia and the boys had to rock up to the Fiesta in full school uniform. While I can hear most of you that aren’t used to this thinking “WTF?” I can assure you it comes in very handy for three things:

  • Finding your son in a crowd
  • The girls finding a potential boyfriend in the crowd
  • Keeping the boys out of trouble—and if they choose to get into trouble they’re easily identified!

His Fair was fantastic. I love the excuse to hang out with my friends (may or may not sneak in a bottle of wine) and see the kids having a great time in the safety and security of the school grounds. Equally I love the scantily clothed girls hunting in packs checking out the talent—so easy to spot those strapping boys in their school uniforms. Such is the joy of single-sex schools and the lengths they’ll go to for the opportunity to meet someone of the opposite sex (yes, I am exaggerating).

My favourite thing about the Fair would have to be the silent auction. A lot of work would go into each class donating goods & services and we’d package them all up into enticing hampers. I would spend a considerable amount of time weighing up those hampers—what was in them, whether I was getting a bargain and whether or not I could use any of the contents as Christmas pressies. I was (not surprisingly) attracted by the alcohol hampers and scored many a bargain. At the end of the day I’d walk out with us all juggling a number of hampers trying to avoid doing more trips than we needed to.

I do love a 90210 silent auction though. On offer were things like Ellen tickets, tickets to the LA Kings, LA Lakers & Clippers, tickets to the American Idol final, Teen Choice Awards, lunch with Halle Berry and the opportunity to hang out with her on set and have lunch, and meet Steven Spielberg. By far the most popular prize was the chance for 12 kids to play basketball with legendary Clippers basketballer Chris Paul.  There were so many, many more amazing prizes it was hard for me to decide where to concentrate my focus.

I did very well this year. Instead of going home juggling several hampers I went home with an envelope with gift certificates and a Bass Guitar. Did I happen to mention that the guitar was Duff McKagan’s from Guns n Roses? No? Yes, as a matter of fact it’s true.

Proud owner of Duff McKagan's bass #myreality #itstartedinla #gunsnroses

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My gift certificates were for four tickets to see Rod Stewart in Vegas (as well as a photo opp & Meet & Greet—which seems really silly seeing as I’ve already met him and didn’t have to pay for the privilege but at least this way I get to take a few guilt-free selfies). That wasn’t all, four tickets to see Britney Spears and two night’s accommodation including F&B credit and Spa credit. Score. Yep, quite the haul indeed.

I say that we’re taking Fairs on Santa Monica Pier in our stride, we are, somewhat.  But we do have to stop and pinch ourselves and shrug our shoulders and think how on earth did we land here?  Seriously, the chance to bid on amazing experiences and events that simply aren’t available to everyone—especially for most people who live outside our bubble is not something we should ever take for granted.

“That” moment for us the other night was seeing the one and only Sandra Bullock just hanging out like a normal person (yep, new bestie material). For my son that moment was when he was on the Rollercoaster with her. Only in LA could you be riding a rollercoaster on Santa Monica Pier with Sandra Bullock. Hashtag Living the Dream.

The Californian High School Swim Season

I have to say I love how swimming is done here in the US. While I love, love, love the atmosphere, school spirit and passion that goes into swimming at my kids’ schools in Australia (especially the private boys schools) I’m forced to reflect that it’s somewhat elite. And in a strange way, it’s College level here.

Back home in Australia my son had to qualify to be in the swim team where they would compete in one bigger-than-Ben-Hur event. There are a lot of fast swimmers in my son’s school—most of whom qualify to compete at state level—and his times may or may not earn him a place on the team.

Here in the US my son had a swim meet each week, a tri-comp where three schools competed in individual events and relays. The events were broken up into girls and boys, Junior Varsity and Varsity. Everyone got to participate and compete on his or her level. They got to win, lose and get disqualified. They also got the opportunity to qualify for the CIF (which is basically all the private and public schools in California) for a mega meet to finish off the league season.

My son made it to CIF and his relay team made it to the finals.  I got a kick out of lots of things–nothing more than eavesdropping all day on other parents’ conversations–but the main one was them playing the national anthem before the finals.  The Amercians’ reverence and patriotism is certainly one to be admired.

Hats off & hands on your heart for the National Anthem

Hats off & hands on your heart for the National Anthem

 

The atmosphere and venue are second to none in Australia, the competition fierce but we’ll take swimming US High School style where regular, seasonal competition for your school is available.

Having said that I do wish the meets were bigger and had more of the ra-ra style cheerleaders that I expected to find when we moved here. I guess that proves you can’t have it all.

Exams v Assignments

Assignments are big in Australia, exams not so much. That’s what makes it harder the older you get when you actually have to start sitting exams and you’re not used to it.

Cut back here to the US and generally all grades (in our “College Prep” school) from 6-12 sit exams. But this year there’s been a little shift, a gentle shift but a shift nonetheless.

That’s right shock horror a couple of the departments opted for a major assignment rather than an exam. I’m on the fence about this. I thought that our American experience would have them so used to exams if and when the time came to head back to the HSC (Higher School Certificate—which it is in NSW) they’d be experts and it wouldn’t be so daunting.

Alas my son in 9th Grade (a “Freshman”) has an exam for every subject except for English and my daughter in 7th Grade (she’s a “Middle Schooler” so she doesn’t have a fancy title) seems to be in the grade that they keep changing the rules for, she’s missing English and History. Last year she was supposed to start exams but they opted for only a couple of the subjects having exams. In the middle of the year she was also supposed to start exams but they opted for only exams at the end of the year. Wonder if this is the start of a trend?

So you see the end of our school year isn’t that much different to yours but it does have a 90210 twist. And that 90210 twist is what makes life that little bit exciting here.  It’s what makes the mundane bearable and the move worth it. I’m sure when we’re home in a few years we’ll look back on this time and not believe it was us.

Enjoy the rest of the week!

xx It Started in LA xx

 

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Expat tales, Posts

Two-year itch: Confessions of an Expat junkie

It’s true I’m an Expat junkie.  The only problem is I’m not that good at it.  Sure, I’m good at saying “yes” and jumping in boots and all, I’m even good at moving and making the transition.  But then reality starts to hit and I get really bad at it.

I want to be out “on the road” but then I want to be settled at home.

That’s why I haven’t written for a while…

All I seem to be doing these days is apologising. And the apology seems to be for the same thing: not writing enough. Blogging is like having a pen-pal—you’re all gung ho at first then it gets harder and harder to find time to write.

Well this time the reason I haven’t written is that I think I’ve lost my mojo. I hate being negative so like I tell the kids, “if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say it at all.” So radio silence.

Life in LA hasn’t been that bad it just hasn’t been that great. Truth be told it has nothing to do with LA and more to do with me.

Our two-year visa was nearly expired so we had to leave the US and reapply for new ones.

Another two years

There was no way we were going home after two years—after all the time it took us to get settled we need to stay at least another year.   We only lived in Shanghai for two years and we left there kicking and screaming so if we can stay then we definitely should try.

So we went back to Australia to re-apply for our visas.  I really didn’t want to go back to Australia—it was too soon. I wanted to go to see mum in Wales or check out Canada to get our visas but Mr H insisted we head home to Australia. I couldn’t argue with him: there are no holidays here at the end of year (once school starts back after summer) and we plan to travel during summer so this was the only chance we had to head home. So home we went.

I don’t know if I had it in my head that it would make me homesick but I just knew it would stuff me up. And it has damn it.

I wasn’t going to write about it. Then I thought I should. Then I didn’t know where to start. Have I really lost my way? Days and days doing everything I could to avoid blogging.

One foot in each continent

Imagine this. Get a map of the world. Here’s one.

There's a lot of land (& sea) between LA & Sydney depending on which way you look at it.

There’s a lot of land (& sea) between LA & Sydney depending on which way you look at it.

 

See there’s one pin on the US and one pin on Australia? Yep, that’s me: I’ve got one foot in each country. I’m trying to keep one foot in Sydney while trying to balance on the other foot in LA.

We agree we want to stay on and continue the adventure: Mr H is enjoying work and the kids are doing well at school; I even have a work permit now. But why can’t we let go of life in Sydney? Part of it is the fact that we moved for a new job in a different country that’s not really a posting: this is it. If we head back to Australia it’s resigning from Hollywood and securing a new job and staying there.

Your future’s where you might not necessarily want to be

We know our future is here—at least for the next few years—so why is it so hard to accept? Will our world come crashing down? I doubt it. Will we lose our friends back home? Hardly likely. Well then, why the doom and gloom and moping around? Why is it so hard?

Well we’re back to that problem of feeling unsettled—unsettled when we should totally be feeling settled. I’m not talking about feeling unsettled with friends but come back to the house—a home.

I’m a Cancerian so to feel like I’m not in my “own” house unnerves me. When we lived in Shanghai we knew we could be moved at any time, and we had the ‘expat’ package to make up for it—that and our fabulous apartment on the Bund right in the hustle and bustle of downtown Pudong, Shanghai (but close to creature expat comforts like the Shangri-la Hotel and City Shop).

But like I said we’re not about to get moved—unless we decide to move. Why did I feel more settled in Shanghai? Is it because we were in a salubrious apartment that was possibly the nicest place I am ever going to live in?  Is it because two years wasn’t long enough for us to feel unsettled?

Do you buy a house in your new country?

So that brings me back to buying a house here. It makes sense doesn’t it? It’s the great Australian dream—why pay someone else’s mortgage when you can pay off your own?

But buying a house isn’t really the problem. No, commitment is. Sure we’re committed to staying but actually using our (hoarded) money in Australia is a bigger step than I thought. Add to that the complication that taking that money out of Australia and moving it to the US means it’s not there to use to renovate our house before we head home. Uh-huh. That there is your problem.

Sounds like choices have to be made—buy a house here and feel settled or keep renting and use our money in Australia to eventually renovate our house (with plans and council approval waiting for us).   Reluctant to let go but wanting to establish some roots.

Yep, it sounds like I can’t have my cake and eat it too. Still I guess I am in LA—land of Kale & Quinoa—I shouldn’t be thinking about eating cake.

Will keep you posted but instead of feeling better, writing this post has just depressed me even more: I want to eat cake!

What does your Expat life look like? Are you on edge to see when/if you’ll be moved? Have you made the decision to move away like we have and are in limbo? Have you taken the bull by the horns and established yourself, bought your own home? Or are you somewhere in between your old home and your new one? I’d love to hear about it.

xx it Started in LA xx

Oh and by the way in case you’re a knight in shining armour or a mortgage broker who will let me use my Australian house as security deposit please get in touch with me, I’m really really worth it and I’ll be so so grateful ;-).

Posts, Sydney

Five (food related) things I miss most about Australia

It’s Australia Day next week and I’m lucky enough to be heading back for it.  Gourmet Traveller just did a story on the things Expats miss the most about Australia.  While I’m not as famous as the gorgeous and wonderfully inspiring Napoleon Perdis or the spunky incredibly talented Chef, Curtis Stone I thought I’d share the five things I miss the most.  Why don’t you share yours.

  1. Coffee.  My husband makes great coffee at home but I miss being able to pick up a takeaway coffee from wherever you are and genuinely know it’s going to be good.
  2. Fish & Chips.  And Dim Sims.  My love for fish & chips goes way back.  Fortunately we have a great deli nearby whose fish and chips come close.  But! They don’t have Dim Sims (I prefer mine with Lea & Perrins to the traditional soy sauce) and they don’t have chicken salt.  My fondest memories are fish & chips on the beach or in the park.  I miss being able to pick them up then head to Elkington Park or the end of East Balmain and gaze out onto the Harbour.
  3. Egg & Bacon Rolls.  Nothing better than a BBQ at Saturday morning sport when the Dads are making Egg and Bacon Rolls with chilli sauce.  And the coffee van.  Heaven.
  4. Asian food at great Asian Restaurants.  Billy Kwong, Longrain, Blue Ginger, Red Lantern.  I love LA’s restaurants but I love (and dearly miss) Australia’s top quality Asian restaurants.  I have to bundle Indian food in there as well as our favourite by far is Indian Palace.  And proof they can be hip and groovy and don’t have to be dodgy.
  5. Long lunches.  Upon thinking what would be strong enough to make my Top Five it wasn’t about a particular place but a “brief”.  The best thing about eating out in Sydney is saying to a group of friends let’s head out to Pyrmont on a Sunday afternoon and have a long lunch.  The kids can play in the nearby park where we can see them and we can have a leisurely few bottles of wine and talk and laugh the afternoon away.  No getting kicked out because they need your table and no “eat and run” approach to eating out.  Ah, pure bliss.

What are yours? Or if you went away what’s the first thing you need when you come back?

Happy Australia Day everyone!  (It’s next Monday the 26th in case you’re wondering).

xx It Started in LA xx

1D's Harry Styles
Celebrity, Fact or Fiction, Posts

Fact or Fiction: Harry Styles bought a house down the road

Welcome back to Fact or Fiction.  I’m a bit late this week, a pupil-free day caused the delay with me being disorganised in not having the post ready ahead of time and the kiddly-winks cramping my style and forcing me to play mother for once. (Well, that and tennis & lunch took up a lot of my Friday which makes me a very happy chicky-babe!).

This week’s question centres around the ever-popular Harry Styles.  Word is he’s just bought a house in 90210.

http://www.eonline.com/news/522004/is-harry-styles-moving-to-america-one-direction-singer-buys-la-home

Question is: do you think it’s just down the road and literally around the corner from us?

Lodge your vote now:

 

Meanwhile, the answer to last week’s Fact or Fiction:

Beverly Hills was named after the Beverly Hills Hotel

was fact confirmed by the hotel’s in-house PR.  The hotel was built by bizzillionaire developer Burton Green, President of the Rodeo Land and Water Company.  According to the Hotel’s website,

“By 1914, Beverly Hills had attracted enough residents to incorporate as a city.

“Then, in 1920, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks built their county home, Pickfair, in the nearby hills. Beverly Hills soon became one of the world’s smartest addresses. More stars followed, including Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Buster Keaton, Rudolph, Valentino, Tom Mix, and Will Rogers, transforming the bean fields surrounding The Beverly Hills Hotel into prime real estate.”

66.67% of you thought it was Fiction meaning only 33.33% of you were right.

Here’s a link to the Beverly Hills Hotel’s website:

http://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/beverly-hills/the-beverly-hills-hotel/hotel-services/about/hotel-history

The hotel has the most amazing history.  My tour of the hotel got postponed to after Spring Break so I hope to bring you a story or two in the coming weeks.

Don’t forget to put your votes in.

Spring break starts for us so yay us!  Enjoy your weekend wherever you are in the world.

xx It Started In LA xx

West Gate, Bel Air
Celebrity, Fact or Fiction

Fact or Fiction: Bel Air

Fact or Fiction?????

Welcome back to this week’s Fact or Fiction.  It’s good to see voting increased by more than 15% this week.  Get on board, it’s a bit of fun.

This week’s item drifts away from me being centre stage to an LA Trivia question.  And the statement is …

Bel Air is a suburb of LA with its own postcode.

 

Thanks to the people who responded to last week’s Fact or Fiction.  The answer to:

Rod Stewart’s son is in my kids’ swim team.

was: Fact.

66.67% thought it was Fiction
33.33% thought it was Fact.

I am unashamedly a Rod Stewart fan.  I remember when I was younger we were on holidays staying at my uncle’s house in Wales.  He used to get The Sun daily and one week it had a Rod Stewart spotlight–a series about him, his life, his loves, his career etc.  Well I was hooked from that minute on.

So, when we turned up at the end of last year to one of the kids’ swimming finals and I glance up at the bleachers and see Rod Stewart–complete with hair and pastels–I did little to stay cool.  I couldn’t take a photo, I wouldn’t go talk to him and I was a mess.  (So much for the motto of staying cool).  I couldn’t get my words out–I was standing a few metres away from the one and only Rod Stewart. Ahhhhhhhhh indeed!

His wife, BTW, is gorgeous.  We did talk to her.  That was surreal in its own way because (apart from being a former famous model herself) she was talking about the upcoming holidays and their plans like they were normal people.  Of course they were–are–but it was totally surreal.

I heart LA.  And that’s how this blog started with simple everyday, surreal stories like that.  I can’t wait for the swimming season to start.  I just hope he’s not in Vegas for most of it!

Answer to this week’s post will come next week as usual.  Happy Friday Australia (and Asia).  UK and Europe you’re somewhere in between so happy weekend eve!

I’ll keep the link up to his Vegas concerts (and others for that matter) in case you want to fly over and see Rod Stewart live in Vegas.  I’m certainly going to try to get there.

http://www.rodstewart.com/events/

xx It Started in LA xx

 

Housekeepers
My LA story, Posts, Soapbox

To get a housekeeper … or not?

I’m living in Beverly Hills surrounded by people with full-time housekeepers.  When we left Australia I had a cleaner come each week.  I was under the impression it was cheaper in the US so perhaps I’d get myself someone to come twice a week and perhaps (if she was Mexican) she could cook for us once a week and I’d learn a few new recipes.

I sent out some messages saying I’m looking for a cleaner (housekeeper as they’re known here).

The first call I got from a prospective “housekeeper”  didn’t show up.  I gather we were too far away.  The second couple of mates showed up unannounced one day and I thought it was a sign that this would be it.

They said they needed four hours for the two of them to clean my house from top to bottom (and of course they’d do a fabulous job).  Longer if I wanted them to iron.  My house isn’t that big.  It’s about the same size as (actually a bit smaller if anything) than my house in Australia and my cleaner did my whole house by herself in four hours.  And let me tell you she wasn’t the fastest mover.

I think the 90210 postcode automatically jacks up the price.  I explained that it was cheaper in Australia and they discounted their services by $10.  They would not iron saving me more money.  Could it really take these two ladies four hours a week to do what my one cleaner did in the same time?  I don’t think so.

So I got to thinking I may as well pocket that money and get my hair done once a week or lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel sitting by the pool rather than give them my money they were trying to fleece from me.  Memories of my time in Shanghai came flooding back when you were constantly wondering if that was the going rate or the expat rate.  It was decided, no housekeeper for me.

At around the same time I decided I’d start this blog.  It’s now my full-time job (albeit generating zero income–blatant plug sponsors wanted) so the housework is a bloody hassle to fit in.

Enter my family.  I know he was winding me up (which is not that hard most of the time) but my husband has this little bee in his bonnet that just because he’s Mr Hollywood and I don’t have a job that my job should be to perform the housecleaning duties.  You can imagine how elated he was when I decided against hiring the cleaners.  I’m sure he’d even prefer it if I donned a uniform so I knew my place was to clean the house daily and wash, cook and iron.  Ahhh moving to BH and relegated as the housekeeper, how all my dreams have finally come true.

I mentioned we lived in Shanghai.  That was a few years ago.  Ironically before we even moved there he had secured a live-in ayi (maid) to work six days a week.  It was the done thing and he saw no issue with that at the time.

Still on the family (not surprisingly) our house had never been cleaner or tidier.  Everyone would make their beds (because they didn’t want ayi to do it); clothes would be put away (same reason) and if toilets were “soiled” they’d quickly be cleaned.  OK, except my daughter.  She left a trail of destruction everywhere she went and still does.

Fast forward to 2014 in 90210 and I’m living with three sloths who absolutely don’t do any of the above.  How ironic they’re cleaner with a full-time live-in helper than with me as the full-time “help”.

Take this recent exchange between Mr H & me:

Mr H: “I see my dinner suit pants are still on the chair.  I’ve been waiting to see how long it would take you to put those away.”

Me: “Oh, really.  How funny.  I’ve been waiting to see how long it would take YOU to put them away.  Last time I looked I wasn’t an ayi.”

Mr H: “But it’s your job.”

Me: “Oh is it really?  I’ve moved to Beverly Hills to become a cleaner.  Lucky me.  I am moving up in the world.”

… and so the conversation went.

Maybe I need to rethink my logic and hire a full-time housekeeper if nothing but to teach everyone how to clean up after themselves again.

xx It Started in LA xx

Psst … if you would like to sponsor my full-time housekeeper I’m open to a deal.  Anything to avoid me donning the chamber-maid outfit.

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