Monthly Archives: June 2011

Beverly Hills chihuahuas

Los Angelenos have a weird relationship with dogs. They’re either feeding them organic, raw-food diets and wheeling them around in specially designed pet-buggies:

I spotted this one in Nordstrom this afternoon.

Or dressing them up as crabs:

(Although that is pretty cute.)

Or they’re dumping them in the street. At farmer’s markets you’ll see cages full of these abandoned animals, often wearing little bandanas that read, ‘Adopt Me.’

Which is pretty cunning marketing, huh? Who could resist a homeless puppy in a bandana? Certainly not me. Which is how come I ended up spending in excess of God-knows-how-much on flying one of these mutts back to London with me.

Say hello to Wilkie:

He’s the Jack Russell/Chihuahua cross we picked up at Larchmont farmers’ market two years ago this August. No, I wouldn’t have chosen those breeds either, but he’s lovely.

So what I want to know is why UK dog shelters don’t do something similar, and set up stalls at UK farmers’ markets. It clearly works. You’re missing a trick, Battersea…


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Only in LA…

…do the menus come ‘personal-trainer endorsed’.

(As spotted at Aroma in Studio City.)

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Game over for Glastonbury


I know I’m on holiday and shouldn’t be looking at British newspapers. But really, that’s the end, isn’t it?

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LA food

This is the wholewheat crepe with fake bacon and homefries at Local in Silver Lake. It tasted better than it looks. Mind you, I’ve clearly no talent for food porn because here it looks disgusting. And check out the size of it! There’s half an avocado there as garnish. Thankfully, for once we remembered to order only one meal and share it.

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Back in LA…

So here we are, back in LA, a trip that cost nada. I got the flights on air miles through my Virgin American Express card (worth getting if you can trust yourself to pay off the balance every month, although a friend who has both tells me BA’s card is better, with fewer restrictions).

As for accommodation, we ended up doing the home exchange. I don’t want to put the gob on it, as they say in the Black Country, but it’s great. We’re in Silver Lake*, which is basically Shoreditch with sunshine, full of hilariously self-conscious trendster types obsessing about coffee. I love the house we’re in, with its shiny wooden floors, beadboard panelling and friendly resident cat.

The couple we’ve swapped with have no TV, but terribly serious bookshelves full of Nabokov and Don DeLillo. I’m now fretting about what they’ll make of mine, which boast titles like ‘Practical Princess Perfect Wardrobe: Declutter and Rejig Your Wardrobe To Transform Your Life!’ (This is the downside of the exchange – you’ve basically invited another couple to come into your home and judge.)

The whole thing involved a fair amount of organisation but still, several Skype calls and a furious bout of oven-cleaning strikes me as a fair price to pay for a free house in LA for two-and-a-half weeks. I dread to think how much an equivalent hotel room (with kitchen facilities, study, garden, etc) would cost.

I flew out yesterday and am picking up husband and baby from the airport later today. I was pathetically excited about flying alone (this is what kids do to you – the prospect of an 11-hour economy flight on your own sounds like fun), but actually it was crap, as I was bumped, and then not bumped, and then pulled into a scary side room at immigration (who were suspicious of my WAG visa, got when we came over in 2009 for husband’s work). Funny, when you’re with a volatile 20-month-old, immigration are just so much nicer to you.

So I’m picking up husband and baby this afternoon, from which husband is going straight to dinner with Rose Byrne (better known as the pretty one from Bridesmaids) to talk about a potential project, while I get to stay at home with the baby and look grumpy. Hurrah! Love holidays.

*Silver Lake – you’ve never heard of it, have you? I’ve a theory about why so many visiting Brits hate LA. I reckon it’s because they head straight to the places they’ve heard of – Beverly Hills, Hollywood, etc – all of which are horrible, meaning they miss the good spots, such as Silver Lake, Los Feliz and Franklin Village.

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Interesting piece in the Observer about Pete Doherty’s sleazy life:

Makes you wonder what Kate Moss is like that she could hang around him for so long. My favourite Kate Moss story:

I was at Shoreditch House a couple of years ago and Kate Moss and her friends were at the next table. My friend went outside for a cigarette and found himself sitting next to Kate, staring at a view that looked something like this:

She asked him for a light and said, ‘What’s that building, then?’

‘What,’ he said, ‘you mean the Gherkin?’

She looked at him askance. ‘What’s it called?’

‘The Gherkin?’

‘Who calls it that, then?’

‘Umm… the people?’

‘I’ll tell you who calls it that,’ she said. ‘Fucking government calls it that.’

I guess this is why she doesn’t do interviews.

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Tokyo Bike

So I already own an expensive bike I never use:

Say hello to the Pashley Princess, a product bought largely by urban women who picture themselves in Supergas and some kind of floral tea dress, cruising down country lanes, a baguette and perhaps a small dog propped jauntily in the basket. What they don’t realise about this bike is that it is in fact fucking heavy and if they so much as approach a hill, they will be sweating like Pavarotti on a stairmaster. If there is any kind of stair in your flat/house, forget it.

So bye-bye, Pashley Princess, you are last week’s cycle crush. This week’s is…

Tokyo Bike!

Simplicity at its prettiest, if you ask me. It comes in a range of colours to make Farrow & Ball weep and, because the brand is fairly unknown, lacks the smug, nick-me aura of the Pashley. Although it will be stolen in about ten seconds, because it’s lovely.

I only came across these the other day at Tokyo Bike’s pop-up shop in Rivington Street. I’m sick of pop-up shops. They get your hopes up, kidding you that your area is getting interesting and then bugger off, leaving nowt but a desolate shop front. And now there’s a whole pop-up mall coming…

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Filed under Fashion, House and home