Monday, May 12, 2008

Big cars, gym visits, late lunches and soft furnishings...

This is my NEW life. It's not so different from my OLD one in the UK I suppose, but with a few 'little' changes.

Aside from the change of location, some 5,000+ miles, plus vastly different climate (although funnily enough it's been hotter in the UK than L.A. the last few days), my not working anymore and my now being able to drive are probably the biggest changes in my life!Silver Lexus car front
Speaking of driving, here's our super shiny new Lexus SUV - it's a monster, but still quite small by pick-up truck standards. Plus I've yet to work out why people need those huge wheels on their cars - they just look silly.
Side view of Silver LexusSo that's one car down and one to go. I've not driven for over two weeks since I passed my test, so I'll need some refresher lessons before getting behind the wheel of any car!

Cafe D etoile outside dining

Before long I'll be mobile and able to drive about town running all kinds of errands and exploring L.A. So we're starting to get settled and after a lovely late lunch at Cafe D'etoile in West Hollywood on Sunday we ticked a few more things off our relocation shopping list - lamps for our bedroom (check!) and cushions (check!) for our new sofa!

Surprisingly enough we found them at the larger Crate & Barrel store in Beverly Hills, where we'd bought our sofa and bed from. For those of you wondering what Crate & Barrel's like, think Habitat in store format, but more traditional in its interiors selection (although we've mainly opted for the more contemporary styles).

Laden with cushions and the lamps on order for next weekend we headed home to try out our new condo laundry room (we know how to have the best fun!).

Steele sofa and new cushions

You take it for granted having a washing machine in your house in the UK these days (with a dryer built-in or separate), even in small flats.

Apparently it's now more common in newer condos to have them as standard (even though the American machines are so much bigger than the European models), but some condo complexes also make thousands of dollars each year from laundry rooms and charging a dollar per wash and per dry. We even have to top-up a key card to use them - it's like being a student back in University again! Luckily we're getting a washer and dryer fitted in our apartment soon (hopefully).

Anyway, after more laundry on this morning I took my first trip to the gym in nearly three months. Even though I'd tried to keep vaguely fit in Burbank by going running most days, the endless lunches and evening socialising can take
it's toll, so it was nice to get back into a gym (even if it is only small - some residents refer to it as more of a weights room, but it says 'gym' on the door, so that's good enough for me!).

Condo gym

It's not perfect, but it's good enough for the time being and will save a bit of money on a gym membership until we get more settled in and find our way around West Hollywood.

I know it sounds like we're continually eating out (and we are at the moment), but L.A. is so great for alfresco dining and it's not as expensive as in the UK to grab a bite to eat out. Plus they talk about 'rip off Britain' lots, but I think our supermarkets were fairly good value for money compared to grocery shopping out here. Petrol (gas) may be cheaper to buy (not sure for how much longer mind), but basic food and household products are not that cheap, plus I don't find the retail experience as sophisticated as the UK. I'm sure I'll get used to it all soon though.

Ah well, I suppose I'd better get back to plumping my cushions...

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