As promised, this week's blog brings you some highlights from my sunny week in LA, including meeting up with fashion designer Antthony once more, and some wonderful LA sights.
Plus – a little film fest – well it is Tinsel Town!
And – who wants to come see Marlene in Surrey in December to learn how macrobiotics work?
Tinsel Town treat
Yes, I love LA. It's official. One day, when I'm a grown up, I want to write movies and live there – some of the year! Or even some of each month, I don't mind!
Till then, I go over whenever it's appropriate! Well for my week off, the pouring rain in soggy Surrey more than justified my curiosity about how much a last minute deal would cost, to fly to the land of sunshine and palm trees, instead of touring the south coast in a campervan.
Much as that would have been nice. I just needed a bit of warmth on my skin! So off we went! And I was soon sitting outside in the October sunshine in my fave coffee shops, where much latte was supped and much writing was done!
Al fresco with Antthony
One of the days was indeed 95 degrees! And most of the others were in the 80s. Woooonnnderful! Funnily enough tho', as you'll have seen me say if you follow me on Twitter (@debbieflint), it seems I brought the mist and a tiny bit of drizzle with me too.
On one of the days anyway. Happily by the afternoon, it was fairly warm again and fine enough for al fresco dining at The Grove (a must if you've never been there – think Westfield with palm trees). After a bit of shopping, my pal Antthony, our lovely designer, joined me for a nice lunch near the central pond, complete with dancing fountains in the background, and close to where the old fashioned tram passes by. Very picturesque.
We had a great time catching up and gossiping, and he brought me the most pretty jacket which I believe will be airing on his next visit, 26-27th November.
Penthouse dining in West Hollywood (WeHo)
One night, we were kindly treated to dinner by a couple of friends in the movie business at the Soho House restaurant. It has a commanding position in West Hollywood, and as it's 14 storeys high, there are 180 degree views of the skyline around Los Angeles… Fab!
It also has a small, plush private cinema room, perfect for Tinsel Town movie screenings – I couldn't help but make myself at home! Sadly there were no films on show at the time, but I more than made up for that elsewhere – see 'WATCH' below!
Plotting and planning
Now the main purpose of many of my little getaways in recent years has been to get some writing done. And fortunately on this trip, mainly due to the company I was in, and the great location, I did actually DO some. Quite a lot as it happens!
Not only revising my original first novel, 'Hawaiian Billionaire', but also creating an outline plot for my very first movie script, 'Six Degrees of Separation'. Still using Julie Cohen's 'patented' Post-It notes method of working out a storyline might I add! Lol! This is the corner of the hotel room once I'd done my planning!
I'm now working my way through all the scenes listed on the Post-Its, and beginning to create a proper script on some professional software for screenwriters called 'Final Draft'. God it's all so new! But am having fun, and that's what counts!
When it's a bit further down the line, I'll tell you some more about it. But I'm pretty pleased so far. And it makes a change from working on the Hawaiian affair! Then we rewarded ourselves with a nice walk – in T-shirts I might add! – along Ventura Boulevard, for a bite to eat, and I took this pic just as the sun was setting. Pretty!
And three or four times, we ended up going to my favorite (!) American eating place – Mel's Diner! There are a few of them in and around LA. It's a typical old fashioned 1950s-style diner with bench seats, neon signs, and even a jukebox on display! Fab food, simple American fayre – including great salads of course!
And go here for a little snippet of what it's like inside – all done up ready for Hallowe'en! Lots of other wonderful venues were on our list as well, including The Cheesecake Factory – they do the BEST tossed Tostada Salad (I think that's what it was called!). Have you ever eaten there? Or at Mel's? Let me know what you thought – or what your other faves are in LA.
One final vision of 'Hollywoodness' for you – one that I'm sure you'll never catch on Antthony's trendsetters list – but just had to share it with you. This sight for sore eyes – a Pink Lady, just casually standing waiting for a bus. Dressed head to toe in pink. Including cowboy hat and boots! As you do! Only in LaLa Land eh?! Lol.
All in all, another wonderful way of spending six nights of my holiday allocation this year! And am sure it won't be the last.
WATCH – film fest alert!
Well, hot from Tinsel Town, just had to share with you a veritable festival of films that I've seen this last week or so on the plane or at cinema!
'Seeking a Friend for the End of the World' – the latest Steve Carell film. The man's a genius, what can I say. Loved this movie, about finding out what's important in the final weeks on earth – yes, it's not metaphorical, it's literal, that title! Definitely worth catching, full of pathos and Kiera Knightley's even bearable in it! Lol. 8.5 out of ten.
Another amaaazing film really worth seeing is 'Argo' – the true story of how a CIA agent created a fake Hollywood film shoot, in order to smuggle six US Embassy staff out of Iran under cover as crew, during the American hostages crisis in the 70s. Ben Affleck was great, but the supporting performances made it a total gem, including from John Goodman. 8.5/10. See it at the cinema if you can!
And a few others worth seeing on DVD:
'People Like Us' – am a big Michelle Pfeiffer fan, and she doesn't disappoint in this film, also starring Chris Pine, about a wayward 20-something who suddenly discovers his late music producer father had a secret daughter and grandson. 8.25 out of ten.
'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' – oh god, a period piece really jars with hi-tech blood and gore effects – only for diehards. 6/10
Woody Allen's latest – 'To Rome With Love' – it's always so glaring that these films are mostly improvised dialogue, that it really puts me off them. Countless cringy clichés but some super scenery from one of my favourite cities, so 6.5/10.
And a couple in the new category of 'Two Hours Of My Life I Will Never Get Back!':
'Rock of Ages' – wanted to like Tom Cruise as an ageing rocker with bare chest and furry gilet (!) but had to stop watching after an hour – probably better left as the stage show. Gets 4/10.
'The Master' – I LOVE Philip Seymour Hoffman, and don't mind Joaquin Pheonix, so we paid to go see this at the cinema – sadly the plot is pants. Performances great though, and will probably win awards. But the screenplay's a real turkey! - 5.5/10.
Let me know if you've seen any of them and what YOU thought!
Next week – am reviewing 'Skyfall'! The new Bond movie! Daniel Craig bare chest alert…!
Before I go – NEWSFLASH!
At last, as promised! Marlene Watson-Tara is definitely doing a macrobiotic, weightloss and health weekend talk and workshop in December. It's in Dorking, Surrey on 7/8/9th December, for those of you who wondered about my weight loss (eg. the top pic this week!) and more healthy look this year, and wanted to do the same!
I went macrobiotic in April, if you didn't know, which means eating really healthy stuff but with lots of extra important things included, that lead to much, much better health. Act fast – she's offering first bookings to you guys! There are only twelve places for the workshop, and they are going fast – four already gone.
Fellow presenter Craig and I are both attending, as is my sis Linda (the Red Carpet Manicure guest, back November 3rd, btw). There's a Friday night talk, for £30, and/or the workshop which is less than £200 (Sat/Sun 10am-4pm). Email Marlene now for more info and to find out where to send the 50% deposit – email@example.com. And catch her blog at http://marlenewatsontara.com/MWTBlog/category/weight-loss-tips-detox-remedies/.
QVC - this weekend I'm back on air with the really exciting joint UK launch of Windows 8, on a new Acer laptop, with Lee Hohbein – join me Friday at midnight, and Saturday evening; plus it's my turn to host the Saturday Night Gifts show at 8pm – not sure if it'll be as much mayhem unless John Barrowman's there – perhaps he'll drop by once more! Lol!
Have a fab week – and don't forget to leave me a comment below about your fave LA places! Marie Francoise, our lovely Kipling guest, is going there soon and she'd love to know where the movers and the shakers hang out! Any ideas, let me know!
P.S. Anna Cookson did an amazing charity climb recently – go here to sponsor her!