Saturday, February 28, 2015


To celebrate our one year anniversary, Ro and I took an impromptu trip to the romantic city of Brussels. Ok, not so romantic but it is at the end of the Eurostar and is very nice.

Ro and I have very similar tastes, which means we love kitsch, antiques and garish things. We chose to stay in Mozart Hotel, as it had everything we wanted: gold, tiles, antiques, old paintings, etc. It was just up our street.

We met the owner of the hotel, Ben, who was also lovely and had opened up his hotel restaurant as a soup kitchen for those down on his luck. This guy truly has a good heart and was just so generous and thoughtful.

Of course, while in Brussels, you do what all the tourists do and drink to you can't drink no more. Hence La Corne becoming one of our favourite new tipples. The best thing is that you can't put the glasses down without a stand, which means you are unable to get truly shit faced...well, you can, as we did in fact.

On Sunday morning, we bought a beautiful ring for me to wear for the rest of my life. Ro and I are now engaged, the poor boy is mad. However, my ring is bloody beautiful and makes me as happy as he does.

We saw the 'Mannekin Pis', my father had told me that he was a little chap who you could miss if you didn't look hard enough, he was not wrong. He is tiny and they dress him up for some random reason, this would be like us dressing up Nelson on public holidays, I'm not opposed to this suggestion, I just would like to opt out of being his dresser.

It is also very strange seeing little boys peeing everywhere!

We also found the only goth bar in Brussels, it is just off the main square and was a lot of fun: black lights, corpses in coffins, dark leather everywhere, skulls for glasses...metal on full blast, everything you could want from your local goth bar!

How is it that Europe does squares/piazza so well? Brussels is no exception and has some stunning architecture, from vaulted ceilings to beautiful ornate stone work. We had a long discussion about the fact that Brussels missed a lot of the bombing in WWII, due to it changing hands so many times, the only real damage it appears to have incurred is from mortars and they appear to have fixed them up good and proper.

Not only do I have a ring to remind me of our time in Brussels but we also have some remarkable cushion covers to rest our weary bones on in the evening and a load of random crap from a flea market we thoroughly enjoyed!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Stand Up

For Valentines, Rowan and I attended an 'Anti Valentines' stand up comedy night, a friend of Rowan's was hosting in Brixton. It was rather fun, until the crowd participation started. Ro and I agreed to join in, as we are chumps, or kind people, you decide.
Ro was very funny and spoke about the first present he bought me, which had the florist's bad hand writing on it and every time 'can't' was written, it looked considerably like another word.

I spoke about a valentines I received when I was a child, thinking that a nice boy liked me, to only realise some years later that my mother had given it to me. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Los Angeles - Part 2

I woke up super early the first morning, had I expected anything else?! Not really. I lie in bed, trying to numb my brain with TV - fail. Eventually I get up and take a walk. I find adverts for free dog poo, I'm so glad to see these issues are universal and it isn't only shitty Chelsea and Mayfair, where people make the effort to bag their dog poo and then leave the bag on the pavement.

I ended up walking to the Beverly Hill Mall (much to the hotel receptionist shock, apparently people in Los Angeles do not walk), it was shut until 10am. Everything is shut until 10am. I popped into the local 24hr pharmacy, which was actually a large corner shop with a specialist pharmacy area. The rest of our day was full of pre-production meetings and fittings for the shoot.

The first day of shooting was executed in an amazing Malibu beach front mansion, that had the steepest drive known to man. The house was apparently used previously in 'Entourage'. The shoot included flowers being dangled with invisible fishing wire and created beautiful backdrops like this.

We had a male model on the first day and the poor guy hung around all day, to have his ear feature in the final photo. Below you will find the true glamour of photoshoots: Fake props and the 30 people surrounding the models in a "romantic" moment!

That night I enjoyed a nightly swim post shoot. Everyone thought I was mad, it was only 12 degrees but it was glorious!

Each day was gruelling, long days, starting on average of 6am, finishing at either 6pm or some nights 9pm. Everyone tried to keep their spirits up though...dark chocolate was the snack of the day, due to the model I was with having a secret obsession with it.

I got to see Simone again midweek, we hit a very nice Mexican, where the hostess did what they do in the films, seat you at the bar and collect you once your table is ready - yay! I also got to see The Viper Rooms, The Roxy and some other landmarks. I still hadn't seen the Hollywood sign though, even though I'd been up in the hills, etc.

The second days shooting was at a famous Beverly Hills home, known as The Sheats / Goldstein Residence (it was designed by John Lautner, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright). It features in 'The Big Lewbowski, as Jackie Treehorn's home. It was pretty cool, although everything was concrete and it had lots of sheer drops everywhere, my vertigo wasn't overly happy. Plus, it was the wrong day to wear high heeled boots - two locations involved walking down steep hills. It had lots of hidden gardens and holes to hide in. Plus some huge Koi.

The view from the edge of the pool was incredible, however you would not take children to this house. Apparently, only one person has fallen from the walkway in the current owners term, I'm not sure if I believe that, if the photos located everywhere were anything to go by.

Above is the stylist checking that everything was ok, wardrobe wise, however I think it looks like the grim reaper visiting.

On Thursday, was the last day of shooting. We were based up Mulholland Drive in a car park initially and then moved to a beautiful park which was hidden at the base of Mulholland Drive, if the people who lived there knew such a beautiful park was hidden, they'd be swimming in the lake every weekend. Or maybe that is frowned upon?! The weather was beautiful and the scenery glorious!: luscious, green, gorgeous!

Friday morning saw me packing up and heading out to Sunset Blvd to see the Stars! I had one intention, finding Danny Devito. I walked up the wrong side of the road and completely missed him, especially after Simone had been kind enough to tell me where he was lurking. I did, however find him!

I found Peter Falk "just one more thing" for Rowan too!

After this, Simone picked me up, we collected the gorgeous Quincy from her home and headed up to the Observatory and guess what I finally found:

Yep, the Hollywood sign! Woo Hoo! So up here is featured in 'Yes Man' and 'Rebel Without a Cause'. I'm still yet to watch 'RWaC', I promised Simone I would and I still haven't. I've owned it for years and fail to ever watch it, it isn't ok or acceptable. I will watch it by the end of the year, that is my one promise!

Here is the view from the front of the Observatory:

Eventually I packed my bags and headed off to LAX. Surprisingly, as always, I had forgotten to buy any sweets or presents, other that an 'I love LA' magnet for me and a 'Best Boyfriend' award for Rowan. I had also failed to post my postcards, I'm crap some days, what can I say. This saw my getting ripped off at the airport and buying over priced sweets. I also never saw a twinky, not even once while I was in LA. I've come to the conclusion that they don't actually exist!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Los Angeles - Part 1

Right, this tale starts in an arduous way: My new boss (a PR chappy) needed to send me to LA to escort one of our clients (it helps that she is positively lovely, bright and sweet natured, this will not be a hard week for me (fingers crossed)).

Said new boss, booked my flight under my everyday name, not my passport name; this issue saw me connecting two calls between BA and Mauritius to get this approved and changed.

All sorted, however a few days before I departed, I noticed the return was booked for March; once again, calls were connected and all got sorted...or so we thought...roll on the day before departure and the lady who had changed my return flight, had changed my surname, so that the first letter was now on the end of my first name - good times! At this point I couldn't be bothered to connect calls, I decided I'd get it sorted at Heathrow Terminal 5.

Arriving extra early to allow for changes, I tried to automatically check in - fail.
I spoke to a representative who tells me to just line up and they'll sort it out for me at the desk. 45 minutes of queuing and the lady starts to process me, only to stop due to my booking being flagged. Instantly I'm worrying that my mother being born in Egypt, means I could potentially be a terrorist (cause there are loads of them in Egypt?!) and therefore USA have told BA that I'm not allowed to fly, etc. Oh the humanity!

Off to E section I trot. After another 10 minutes of waiting; oh, did I mention that I had a killer hangover?! I did and it was blinking brutal! Anyway, I digress, a nice young man called Sim calls me forward and starts to sort out the nightmare that is my booking. Halfway through he halts and says "oh, you've been upgraded to Business, before I continue, I'll secure your seat against your new name". Sorry, what?! Upgraded. I thought this was only something that happened in the movies or to newly weds, how exciting!!! Instantly I've visions of champagne, caviar and then a wave of nausea hits me! I really do not recommend flying hungover...EVER! Anyhow, Sim helps me out and he also prints off my e-ticket from my flights to Geneva, so that I can add those to my Airmiles, oh yeah, I collect air miles now! How grown up am I?!

I eventually go through and head straight to my gate, as I have no time at all to potter about. Arrive at the airport and get boarded first, as I'm in Business. Did I mention I'm seated in Business?! I hadn't, oh sorry, I meant to tell you that I'd been upgraded, for FREE, to Business!

I walk through what I assume is First, and start to look for my seat, random these numbers are lower than mine. I am seated in a flat bed seat, holy fuck balls!!! This is Mega, Balling Pimp-mazing!

I'm so nice to everyone, I'm overly polite, I never mind that my first option isn't available, I keep the menu, I keep on returning my glasses to the flight attendants, I basically do not fit in and I am loving it. I can confirm that the First Class lavatory is just as shit as the Battery Class lav, also the paper is like tracing paper - some things never change, even with money! My steak was over cooked and the expensive Sancerre was mediocre - these are my only complaints and yes, I am allowed to complain, it's the British way - behind people's back and after the issue arose.

Of course, I was pikey enough to acquire the blanket from Business Class, somehow it ended up in my bag and is now in my suitcase...oops!

Once in LAX, after the three checks of your passport and once they've collected samples of everything but your bodily fluids, I found myself being confronted by 100 signs with different names on and I couldn't read them, so I ended up doing a very extravagant lap of arrivals, to no avail, oh hang on a minute there he is...whoop whoop! I've got a driver! Off we go and he has only bloody got a limo for me! I mean, could this day get better?! The limo is a little rough around the edges but he's nice and other than an old style Daimler I once went in, I've never been in a limo / stretch or normal. In addition, the best of the 80s was playing...

I arrive at The Chamberlain Hotel, it's in West Hollywood and is really nice, very residential and quiet. Everyone is super nice and I've only bloody got a suite - this is getting cray cray! Traditionally, when at a hotel, I only use the bed and bathroom, so having a sofa, chair and two TVs is a little over kill! But, when in Los Angeles, you've just got to roll with it...

Last night, I got to see Simone, she treated me to dinner in a diner and halfway through my margarita, I started to feel wasted, oh yes, Jet Lag - good times! It was lovely to catch up though and I'm hoping to see her later in the week also.

The downside to jet lag: I was in bed by 8:30pm and asleep by 9pm, however post 1am, I was waking every few hours due to a toilet that likes to gurgle and not being tired but hopefully I'll sleep tonight and get a little acclimatised!

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