Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Starry starry night

However hard I say I work, there are doubting Thomases in my family who regularly challenge this fact. The girls' favourite riposte to a hard day's slog at my PC is usually along the lines of, 'So mum, how many journos holidays did you say yes to today?' When I point out that these so-called journos holidays are press trips, where one is required to dress up, do some research on interviewees and perhaps hop on the occasional plane to a five star hotel, the sarcastic laughter drowns out any further response.

The Montblanc Princess Grace Foundation Gala in Monaco was one such event last week that earned me short shrift along with jealous, withering glances and that was just from the Handyman. Having accepted Juliet's invitation to cover the event for Hello I found myself sitting in chauffeur driven luxury in an official Montblanc car from Bar sur Loup to the very swanky Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel where I met the lovely Katie from This is Mission PR who was looking after the event.

As I am more used to driving myself to events, the journey itself was as much a treat as the rest of the evening. And what a night it was. I had the full experience, being papped on the red carpet as I walked in with Amy from You magazine, the photographer's blank faces betraying the fact that we are nobodies. Champagne at the Monte-Carlo Opera, where I chatted to Eva Herzigova and Spanish actress Elsa Pataky, was followed by a lyrical performance by Bryn Terfel, an amazing soprano called Diana Damrau and Rufus and Martha Wainwright in the presence of Prince Albert, Princess Charlene (who wasn't crying and looked quite happy to be there) and Princess Caroline. There was one awkward moment just before the royals arrived when a clearly impatient member of the audience started slow clapping and shouting for the evening start. PA's security people quickly had her removed and left everyone wondering whether she was marched off to Monte-Carlo's version of Traitor's Gate.

After the performance, where I spotted Jerry Hall wearing a necklace worth more than most people's houses, Daryl Hannah and Natalie Imbruglia, more Champagne was imbibed (taking full advantage of the fact that I didn't have to drive home) as we admired the collection of jewellery designed by Montblanc to raise funds for Princess Grace's Foundation-USA. A little chat with Olivia Palermo and her humungously handsome boyfriend Johannes Huebl was followed by supper at the Hotel de Paris and a chat with Aussie actress Naomi Watts, who despite being jet lagged was charming and very chatty, telling me how she is criss-crossing Europe to promote her new movie J Edgar Hoover with my Cannes party host Leo diCaprio and Clint Eastwood. Just to clear up any confusion, the pap shot above is me, not Naomi, Eva or Olivia.

We finally repaired to the hotel at 2am with goodie bags containing Montblanc sunglasses and a corsage (don't get excited, it's a large flower) after what can only be described as a totally luxe night. If you are still keen to hear more, my piece is in this week's edition of Hello, and after writing it, I felt it only right to enjoy breakfast on the terrace before a swim and lunch at the Cafe de Paris with Katie and Amy. Right on cue, my driver arrived and delivered me complete with a mild hangover and a head full of showbiz goss back to what passes for normality at Chemin du Laquet. Today I spent my morning cleaning the dirt off the white leather sofas....nothing like a bottle of Jif and a sponge cloth to bring you back to earth with an almighty bump.