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The best of West Hollywood

Los Angeles is a tough city to traverse – be prepared to spend a fair amount of time in the back of an Uber – but West Hollywood’s (referred to as WeHo by those in the know) best shopping, dining and drinking is explorable by foot. If it’s luxury boutiques you’re after, you’ll be in heaven: West Hollywood has them all – and even if you’re not committed to splurging, it’s trip worth making for boutique finds that you couldn’t get your hands on here.

Start up at Paul Smith (8221 Melrose Ave); the iconic bubblegum-pink boutique is one of Los Angeles most Instagrammed spots. Head across the road to our personal favourite: Reformation (8253 Melrose Ave) – to get your fix of sustainable clothing, most of which is made in downtown LA. A block away you’ll find eccentric Brit import, Vivienne Westwood (8320); the three-story space stocks men’s and womenswear. Cross the road to get your hands on one of much-loved American designer Rebecca Minkoff‘s (8335 Melrose Ave) coveted leather handbags.

It’s hard to miss Marc Jacobs – covered in greenery and perched on the corner of Melrose Ave and Melrose Place. Book lovers need to pop across the road to explore the offerings at sister store, Bookmarc – it’s impossible to leave without a hard-to-find coffee table tome tucked under your arm. Refuel the healthy way at Gwyneth Paltrow’s favourite Moon Juice (8463-3 Melrose Place) – try – or if it’s a caffeine fix you need, grab a very-LA almond milk iced latte at Alfred Coffee (8428 Melrose Place) – expect queues at peak times. Adjacent you’ll discover European fashion big guns Chloé, Anya Hindmarch, Isabel Marant and Bottega Veneta.

Beauty buffs are in for a treat too. Violet Grey (8452 Melrose Place) is home to some of the world’s most sought-after beauty brands including Charlotte Tilburry, Surge Lutens and Glossier. Jet-lagged skin will appreciate a visit to one of the world’s oldest pharmacies, Santa Maria Novella (8411 Melrose Place). NARS’ flagship Los Angeles boutique (8412 Melrose Avenue) will take you into the evening – pop in for a full make-up lesson ($100 redeemable on product) or a free five-minute touch-up. End the day by heading to the rooftop bar E.P. & L.P. (603 North La Cienega Boulevard) – sample some organic tofu fries and a signature cocktail while watching the Californian sunset.

Getting there: Qantas Business Class Los Angeles to Sydney
Once you conquer the plight of the dreaded customs at LAX, it’s a smooth-sailing experience: the business class lounge in Los Angeles is award-winning and boarding was a breeze. Since our flight departed just after 11pm, as tempting as Neil Perry’s in-flight menu of small and main plates was, getting some shuteye was on the cards.

The seat: Sleeping at all, let alone for nine hours straight on a long-haul is something of an achievement for me but getting serious zzzs on the Qantas A380 Airbus was easy. The business class cabin is fitted with 72 skybeds; each seat fully extends and stretches out to a full two metres when flat – and they’re comfortable too; I was surprised to wake and find I’d managed to get a full night’s sleep. Headrests are contained within the pod and there’s a retractable screen between seats so your space is as private as you want it to be. Snuggly Qantas pyjamas, a Kate Spade amenities kit complete with mini Aspar by Aurora Spa products and a turndown service were the icing on the cake. disembark bright-eyed and bushy tailed.
The food: I requested not to be disturbed when sleeping, so by the time I woke from my slumber it was almost time for breakfast. While I regret not sampling more of the menu, my scrambled eggs, salmon and avocado on brioche toast served with a long black hit the spot.
The entertainment: There were plenty of award-winning films and television series worthy of a watch to see me through the final five-hour leg of the journey.

Qantas flies daily to Los Angeles from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington via Sydney. For more information, or to make a booking, visit Qantas.com.

Karen Walker & The Caker team up for Mother’s Day

Karen Walker and The Caker’s Jordan Rondel have teamed up to create something delicious just in time for Mother’s Day. Long-time admirers of each other, the duo collaborated on a recipe for Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Cookies; the cookie mix is available online at both thecaker.co.nz and karenwalker.com, and in-store at all Karen Walker stores and The Caker Store.

“We worked together to develop this recipe that we felt was perfect for Mother’s Day,” says Rondel.  “When Karen and I began sharing those memories, that was the springboard for our inspiration,” she says. “Cookies are often the first thing a mum teaches her child to bake, aren’t they?” Walker adds. “We wanted this mix to be something you could gift to and then bake with your mum.”

In addition to the cookie mix, the pair is running a charity auction on Trade Me. The highest bidder will get to spend the afternoon with their mum and three friends in The Caker’s kitchen whipping up Mother’s Day cookies with Jordan and Karen. All of the funds raised from the auction will be donated to Plunket. Click here to make a bid.

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