LA… (Part 1)

I’ve been a little distracted from baking recently, thanks to a whirlwind week visit to Los Angeles. My actual job is in the media (I used to be a TV3 news reporter/presenter/producer and was a radio newsreader for many years in the UK/NZ), and still work with my husband in production. This trip combined work, filming, holiday – and a little thing called the flipping OSCARS!!!!

I love to travel but this is the first time in many years that I haven’t been in a wheelchair though the airport, which was a huge personal win. Watching others being wheeled on to board the plane first, I felt extremely grateful that this time I was actually able to walk on and off. Physically, I could do so much more and was in far less pain throughout this trip than usual. Yay!
I absolutely love movies, which you’ll start to notice more about on my social media. In fact my first ever date with my now-husband was to see – no, not a rom com – but the highly disturbing A Clockwork Orange! (My choice – I think I was trying to test how keen he really was). So being an movie lover, what better time to visit Hollywood than during Oscars week…
The Roxy Theatre, Sunset Boulevard
The day we landed in Los Angeles we pretty much dropped off our luggage (we stayed with friends in West Hollywood) then headed straight out. Having a night flight from Auckland direct to LA meant that jet lag wasn’t too bad at all – essentially just sleeping on the plane rather than in bed at home. We headed out for a quick Thai dinner at Night + Market on Sunset Boulevard then walked over to The Roxy Theatre. Everyone who’s anyone has played here – including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Van Morrison, Guns N’Roses… We were there however for a charity fundraiser, featuring Joel McHale (Community, The Soup) and stars of The Office (US version). The event was raising money for wildlife injured in the Australian bushfires – and yes it did seem a little ironic that we’d flown all the way from New Zealand and were at an Australian fundraiser in Los Angeles! The Roxy holds fewer than 500 people so it was a real close-up, fun experience. Radio LEGEND Howard Stern arrived just as we were waiting in line to go in – no queuing for him!
stand up at the Roxy Theatre
Joel McHale

I was a huge fan of The Office (BBC original) and also the US version – after my latest surgery I bingewatched all nine seasons on Lightbox. (By the way – if you are a fan of The Office then I highly recommend the new podcast Office Ladies!) Appearing on stage that night were stars Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute), Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin), Creed Bratton (Creed Bratton!) and Brian Baumgartner (Kevin Malone). Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly) was supposed to be there, but had to stay home to look after her son who was sick with flu. She did a little pre-recorded message instead. Rainn Wilson opened the show by reading some hilarious – and very VERY explicit – fan fiction. Certainly shone a whole new light on Dwight and Angela’s office romance! Joel McHale was incredibly funny doing stand-up, so professional. (A real highlight for my Community-loving husband.) Lots of laughs from everyone in fact, rounded off with several songs from Creed Bratton’s very cool band.

Angela Kinsey and Rainn Wilson

I’ve worked with and met many celebrities but rarely take photos – especially 20 years ago when selfies weren’t even a thing! So when Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin) came into the crowd and was stopping for selfies, I thought why not get one too. I grabbed my husband’s phone (his is newer than mine, and works better in dim light).

I’d forgotten two key things however:
1) My husband had just been filming, so the camera was set on ‘’VIDEO’ not ‘PHOTO’.
2) I’m still recovering from shoulder surgery and can’t raise my right arm properly.

So – rather than a cute snap of Angela Kinsey and myself – I have a blurred highly confusing 3 second video of me YELPING in pain as I raise my arm up without thinking to try and take a selfie, into a position my shoulder can’t possibly go. Then I pretty much stumble and fall on Angela, as the pain hits. She’s asking if I’m okay, and no doubt wondering what the hell just happened. I’m trying to babble out an explanation, but it’s dark and noisy and internally I’m screaming in pain! Not my finest moment. Note to self – I’m just not coordinated enough to take selfies under pressure!

Another night we had dinner at the highly exclusive private members’ club Soho House. So swanky and cool, you can’t reveal if you’re a member or who other members may be. (Think A-list movie stars, chat show hosts, Oprah etc etc.

Maya, Soho House (not my photo!)

Funnily enough the Kardashians and stars of the Real Housewives shows are apparently not allowed membership!). I’m most certainly not a member, but we were having dinner with two TV stars who are. We ate in Maya (one of several restaurants and bars in the club) which serves the most delicious Mexican food I’ve ever eaten. Photos are strictly banned at Soho House, so you’ll just have to take my word that the food was AMAZING! So so good. They have a little trolley which they wheel around to make the guacamole right in front of you at the table, with all the little bowls of chopped up ingredients, and nacho chips served in cute little paper bags. Plus we enjoyed spicy tuna tostadas, jidori chicken with salsa verde, steak (for the men – I don’t like steak), salads, black beans and brown rice. I’d love to share who else was there that night – but can’t. There was a multiple-Grammy award winner also eating dinner though! Soho House was every bit as fabulous and glamorous as you might expect, with a private entrance to avoid paparazzi, different restaurants, pool tables, staggering views of LA, private screening room, photo booth – we got a little tour of everything!

I can see how people get caught up in the tv and film bubble that is LA, it’s all consuming. On day five we headed to a ridiculously fancy address in Bel Air (zip code 90210) – where Adele, Katy Perry and Nicole Kidman all have properties. We were there to film in a phenomenal $20 Million mansion (!!!!). (It was unbelievable – more on that in the next blog!)
The security guard at the top of the street asks “You’re there for the filming?”.
“Yes” we reply.
“You’re here for filming?” exclaims our uber driver without missing a beat. “Damn I should have given you my script!”.

Earlier that day I was standing outside a store while my husband was inside messaging our son back home in NZ over which t-shirt he wanted us to buy him (belated birthday present). Suddenly a blacked-out car drops off Billie Eilish and a minder, right next to me. My husband mentions to the shop assistant what just happened. “Oh yeah” they replied, bored. “It’s LA, that happens every day…”.


Still to come… Oscars night in Hollywood, the red carpet glam, celebs and attending an Academy Awards dinner!

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