Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Our first day in Los Angeles

We arrived at LAX shortly before 7 in the morning, all of us exhausted because we'd hardly slept on the Delta flight from Sydney to LA. Not sure why. I usually get some good sleep in, and Joe certainly does. It was Helen's very first longhaul flight so nobody expected sleeping miracles from her, though I did try to coach her through it. I watched The Conjuring and Despicable Me 2 on the plane, as well as reading some of Piccadilly Jim by Wodehouse. I spent a lot of time with my eyes closed but no sleep was forthcoming. Alas.

So anyway, we were totally rooted and headed for our hotel, the Four Points by Sheraton at LAX hotel via the free airport shuttle. They kept our bags for us but apologetically said they couldn't check us in until at least 9:30am. Not to worry, we knew check-in was at 3pm so we were lucky to get early check-in at all! We wandered off to a Denny's Diner which was nearby for Helen's first taste of the diner experience. We were all quite full from the Delta flight (I have never been given so much food on a plane before! Value for money there) but I forced down some coffee.

Here's a pic of Helen and I looking wide awake and excited to be there (roughly 4am Sydney time).

Denny's had some very interesting Hobbit-themed items on the menu (a whole separate menu, in fact) for the release of the new Hobbit movie. Which reminds me, still haven't seen that yet...

After we went back to the hotel, checked in, and napped for 2-3 hours (desperately needed), we went down to see our concierge. We weren't really sure what we wanted to do but we knew we wanted to see the sights. Our tiredness was a big factor. The concierge booked the 3 of us in to do a "VIP Tour" with "VIP Tours" near LAX. It wasn't for a couple of hours, so we went and had lunch at the hotel restaurant.

Here we are, looking bleary-eyed. I thought I was doing the healthy thing by ordering a cobb salad, not really knowing what that was, and it came out with huge amounts of cheese and dressing on it. Oh yes, veeeery healthy.

Helen with her macaroni cheese

Me with my cobb salad

Joe with buffalo wings and onion rings
(read: Joe blissful and in Heaven)

So then we were off! Our driver was great and talked the whole way through the tour, pointing out various landmarks and interesting info about Los Angeles. As we approached each landmark, he'd explain how much time we had, and then we'd hop off for half-an-hour to an hour to explore the area. Then he'd pick us up again and we'd be off. It was the best thing for 3 weary, jetlagged travellers. We didn't have to do anything, just went along for the ride! Loved it.

On the way to Hollywood

The corner next to The Viper Room. Drove by too quick to get a good pic.


Extra points for being able to spot The Hollywood Sign in any of these pics.

Rodeo Drive

The Grove / Farmers' Market

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Friends

Before embarking on our Christmas trip to the States, we threw a small dinner party at home for a few friends - and it was great! Joe made another delicious turkey, and I baked my face off with caramel slice, truffles-- you name it, we made it. Sass brought pumpkin pie tartlets, Pippa made bread, B brought cake and wine-- all in all, a festively delicious affair.

And here are some pictures of our extremely attractive friends in our apartment at dinner, plus some of our festive fare.

Sass and Ellen

Wine from B

Pippa's homemade bread

B and Pip

Mikey and Javier


Pam's caramel slice
Old Family Favourite!!
(recipe from Condensed Milk tin)

B's cake, festooned with B's lights

The host and hostess


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pacific Opera 10th Anniversary Concert Celebration

The aftermath of the Pacific Opera 10th Anniversary Concert, which you can read all about on Pam's blog here. Joe was lucky enough to be asked by the General Manager to take photos for the concert, and he got some great shots!

Here we are at a nearby pub after the show, getting to know the boyfriend of soprano Rhian Saunders, Keegan McCarthy.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sydney Chocolate School

Level 1 Chocolate Making: Unlocked!

We now know how to correctly hand-temper chocolate. Alas, for we do not have a marble bench at home upon which to do this.

But I'm glad we went. It was fun!

My favourite part was the part where the instructor told us that under no circumstances were we to leave the class feeling like we hadn't consumed enough chocolate.

No chance.

Learn more at

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Pam's Birthday Dinner at The Athenian Greek Restaurant (Sydney)

So blessed to have so many lovely friends come along to my birthday dinner at The Athenian Greek Restaurant in Sydney.

Haloumi (my dearest friend)

L-R: Kaine, Karuna, Joelene, Paul, me, Ellen, Maia

L-R: Kaine, Karuna, Maia, me

L-R: Timmee, Andrew, B, me, Mikey, Pippa, Julian

My love and me <3

L-R: Kaine, Karuna, Joelene, Maia

Me with the beautiful Ellen

Paul, Joelene and I

MIKEY! ... and I.

And then Mikey, B, Joe and I went to a nearby bar which lives in the 1930s, Palmer & Co. Adorable and highly recommended. I also highly recommend their cocktail list.