As we've had friends and family visiting the last few weeks I've been out and about in Los Angeles acting as unofficial tour guide and taking them to see some of L.A's famous landmarks and local attractions.
and two days exploring Universal Studios Hollywood, enjoying the rides and all the movie costumes and props on display there.
We found ourselves mostly disappointed by L.A. Zoo (except for the giraffes)...
and there may not have been elephants at the Zoo, whilst they are building them a new habitat, but we did manage to find some at the Hollywood & Highland Center, along with the Walk of Fame stars and many costumed street entertainers.
Although my family all agreed that the infamous Hollywood Boulevard is a lot less impressive that they'd thought it would be and they were suitably underwhelmed.
We learned about the local history of the La Brea Tar Pits and even saw some live turtles as well alongside the ancient fossils at the Page Museum.
We visited The Griffith Observatory to get a better view of the sprawling L.A. basin and the impressive city skyline of Downtown...
plus saw some space exhibits and also this interesting globe model to show the changing shape of the Earth's continents over history...
Slightly less educational, but maybe a bit more entertaining, I went with some L.A. based friends after my family had departed back to the UK, to see Britney Spears in concert at the Staples Center arena.
It was my first time seeing anything at the Staples Center and it's a great venue. The show opened with a forty-five minute set from the Pussycat Dolls (and funnily enough we nearly moved into a house that one of the 'Dolls' had been living in with her manager when we first moved to L.A.), then was followed by some impressive circus performers from the Big Apple Circus to get the audience in the mood for the main act herself, Britney Spears.
Britney pretty much mimed to her songs through the whole concert, but to give her credit she did put on a dazzling show, with a collection of new and popular tunes, accompanied by a spectacular light-show.
Two things stood out the most, firstly I was worried about taking a camera to the concert so I didn't and instantly regretted it as pretty much everyone else in the audience had one, which looked like thousands of mini-starbursts when all the flashes were lighting up the arena during the show.
Secondly, was the amazing wall of sound of 20,000 or so screaming girls (and gay guys no doubt), when the Ringmaster of the Circus herself, Britney, took to the stage. It really was quite staggering and proved that people still love Britney.
The day after the concert, on the 18th April, we celebrated our yellow Labrador pup's first birthday. Cooper enjoyed the sentiment of this lovely fresh cake from Sweet Lady Jane, whilst we devoured it and he munched on a nice big rawhide bone.
We also treated him to a new guest to play with and a later in the week a trip to the beach for him to run off all his birthday energy.
In other celebrity news, at The Grove on Thursday night we were 'papped' as we were emerging from the car park elevator. As we stepped out we were greeted by flashing camera lights as a black haired, bearded male celebrity (who I didn't recognize) was being questioned by three paparazzi stalkers about his divorce with a lady called 'Kelly' and how they'd come to a settlement about the kids.
Whilst my family was here we had another celebrity sighting at The Grove, this time we spotted Pushing Daisies star Anna Friel with her daughter being trailed by a camera-wielding member of the paparazzi.
In other exciting Hollywood entertainment news, we've had another celebrity addition to our condo complex. This time a really 'fit' reality TV star from the Bravo channel, who joins the ranks of Broadway stars and an esteemed actor from Stanley Kubrick's 'A Clockwork Orange'.
We've also practically eaten and drunken our way around West Hollywood's local eateries, from Basix to Taste on Melrose, Mark's, The Abbey and O-Bar.
So as you can see it's been a busy month so far and it's not over yet, tonight it's off to one of our favourite restaurants, Cafe La Boheme...