Friday, May 15, 2009

Launch at last!

What a week. Wednesday arrived, the day of the launch and everything we have been working so hard for suddenly arrives. We are running on empty now but adrenaline kicks in and suddenly you find the reserves somewhere to keep going. The party was in Cannes, everyone tunred up and the night was a great success. I can't even remember how many people I spoke to but they all said how much they love the site and that means a lot.

Having said that he would drive me, Norma and Sarah (who flew out for one night only just to give their support - I love you girls) home, Iain proceeded to get completely blotto, so just as well that I drank half a glass of rose and one small vodka cocktail all night and was able to get us home. Sarah was in foetal position in the back of the car, muttering about what a great night she'd had for aproximately 30 seconds before she passed out! Sometimes I really enjoyed being sober, especially the morning after. If you want to read all about it, check out

The girls headed off to the airport the next morning, one bright and bouncy the other jaded and full of Nurofen, while I headed off to the Cannes Film Festival for two weeks of madness. Have to say that being in the hub of the showbiz vibe was a real buzz, I have forgotten how much I miss that. Even though I had to leave today at 7am (in the pouring rain) to get to a screening at the Palais des Festivals, there was a spring in my step. I LOVE films, I used to review movies and go to premieres all the time when I was at The Sun and I can't tell you how brilliant it is to sit in a screening theatre and watch a film that the wider world has not yet seen, in Cannes of all places. Special. Bright Star is amazing, all I can say is go and see it, it is beautifully filmed and a real work of art. Early days but if it doesn't win, I hope it is usurped by something even greater.

Met a lovely journo at the very mad press conference afterwards, Lesley-Ann Jones, whose stuff I have been reading forever. We had a great chat about the mentality of the whole thing (staff who don't know where to direct you, a press conference room that holds a fraction of the journalists who are accredited, I could go on but I might be banned next year if I do.) She is doing a piece on the craziness of it all and was telling me about an Alsatian she saw on the Croisette in a bikini and a baby who had been spray tanned with St Tropez by its weirdo mother, who was quite proud of the fact. I know this place is a bit insane but stories like that make you shiver.

Parties are a big part of the season down here too. Have some great invites - Sam Taylor Wood's party with Harvey Weinstein, Elton and Jade on Sunday eve til late, then a screening at 8.30am Monday morning (so maybe I will sleep in the car,) Victoria Hervey's private dinner and party on Monday night and Paris Hilton and Solange Knowles along with MTV on Wednesday (this one made the girls cry with the unfairness of it all as I know nothing about Paris while they know every bit of trivia having just watched Paris Hilton's BBF on TV and are OBSESSED with her.) Oh and D&G's party on Friday. C'est la vie. Livvy did say, but mum, why would they want YOU there? I had to explain that they are occasional benefits to having spent 20 years in showbiz journalism.

Anyway peeps, need an early night so will be back very soon.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Portofino's so fine!

Just back from a wonderful weekend in Italy to celebrate Justin's 40th. He had no idea we were coming because as far as he was aware, I am covering the Cannes Film Festival at the moment (luckily J never questions anything so didn't realise it actually starts next week!)

We kept in touch with my cousin Michael by text and arrived at Sestri Levante, just down the coast from Portofino to find them wandering along the beach. We managed to creep right up on him and he nearly fell over with surprise. It was a really lovely moment and set the scene for the six of us having a fab weekend.

We explored Santa Margherita Ligure, Sestri Levante and Rapallo, which have a real charm about them. Lots of bright ice cream colours on all the buildings and a very olde worlde seaside feel to the towns. The highlight was Portofino - a place on my must-see list for years now and I wasn't disappointed. Very upscale on the shopping front -Louis Vuitton is the first shop you see as you step off the boat - and so pretty but also very friendly. The people watching is superb, we sat for ages sipping Prosecco on the port and umming and aaahing at all the bling!

One night we ended up at Da Beppe, a family run little restaurant in Santa Margherita, where the food just kept on coming at you. Octopus and potato salad, huge mussels, a whole seabass in Genovese sauce of parsley, garlic and olive oil, the list goes on.

The big family party opposite us must have had seven courses and at the end, a guitarist and singer struck up on their table and gave the most amazing impromptu performance of lots of old Italian songs as well as My Way (which got us all singing, much their amusement and they gave us a big round of applause at the end of it!)

The best bit is that door to door, it is just three hours away, which would have got us to Bournemouth in one direction or Skegness in the other a year ago in the UK! The girls were babysitting the outlaws ( a term of endearment Jean, honest!) and despite the fact that they were stranded at the house with no transport, peace reigned all weekend.