|Us at The Ivy, Santa Monica|
|Paparazzi pretending to take a piccy of me (while waiting for Jennifer Garner)|
Kind of pathetic but I was absolutely thrilled. As you may remember, I am one of those people whose special skill is detailed recall of celebrity titbits (and not much else). And yes, I knew Jenn G was coming because I recognised her daughter walking with her nanny (bit embarrassed to admit that.)
We were a trio of Mums with our 15 year old sons - including my eldest, Harley - who have been friends for ten years. You might have read about the Palisades when I visited a year ago here, here and here. You could pass through this relaxed enclave and not think too much about it: it has a few shops surrounded by quite modest houses with tiny yards. Everyone wears sweats walking around with their dogs and children. But in fact it's the home of many of the laid-back A-listers....you might see Tom Hanks, Sugar Ray Leonard or Stephen Spielberg in the coffee shop, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck with their kids in the park.
Our host, Cameron, is refreshingly un-starstruck. "Okay Cam" I'll say on the phone to her: "Who did you see this week?" She'll answer: "I was at yoga and through the window I saw a photo shoot...now who was it?....was it that one Angelina or Jennifer Aniston?" She took out a subscription to People so she could learn a bit more about the celebs.
|My friend and host Cameron with Blue at home in the Palisades|
Cameron is up on all the trends and history though. The last time I was here the big work-out craze was running up and down the sweaty secret stairs of Santa Monica. Well, now, people are walking on their hands down the stairs. Another fitness craze: paddle boarding into the middle of a harbour and doing yoga balancing on your paddle board.
|Flying out of Swarthmore: studded, frayed, high-waisted shorts|
|...and cardigans made from five other pieces of clothing|
It was so fun to see the City of glitz and broken dreams through the eyes of our three 15-year boys who basically spent the whole time razzing each other.
First we tried paddle boarding in Marina del Rey, a still and seemingly innocent harbour. The instructor warned us: stay away from the1000 stingrays on the left and leopard sharks are everywhere. And (even more scary) steer clear of the drunk boat owners. The boys took off for the stingray area, stood up, and promptly had a swordfight with their oars trying to push each other off.
Then we took off with the boys in our sweet ride, our 11-year-old battered, bird poop-encrusted Dodge minivan, which earned loads of horrific glances. On Amalfi Drive and Hollywood we braved the cavalcade of Ferraris, Maseratis and filthy stares of the security guards, drove right up to gates, said hi to the surveillance camera and took photos. We then scooted across roads to peek through high hedges.
|Cruising the Sunset in the "Grey Ghost"|
|Nate, me and Harley "Release the hounds! Boil the oil! They're at the gates!"|
|"Run away! Run away!"|
We breakfasted at the hipster The Griddle (mega-mansion pancakes, hella-noisy, eighties-style wall scraped away to reveal brick, filthy bathrooms, TVs, two blacked-out internal rooms, Muddy Waters tunes.) "Awesome" said the boys. Apparently Jay Z and Tommy Lee are regulars but that morning only the tattooed entourages were evident.
|Harley with mega pancake stack|
Outside Kodak Theatre we met "Marilyn Monroe". It's nearly 50 years since she died and the newspapers here are full of her incandescent beauty and messed-up vulnerability; our appetite for the minutiae of her life remains un-sated. Half a decade from now, which one of our current stars will take her place? It's hard to imagine....
|Meeting Marilyn on Hollywood Blvd.|