Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Day 134 - Apologies

A Moovie

Over the past couple of days, I have received emails from people complaining that I have become a) tired b) grumpy. Well, I have been both.

I am better today and am experimenting with video on this site. It's of the Moo when we went to Denbies (vineyard outside London) and she "asked" to chase rabbits. Please don't worry, she is almost blind so the chance of her catching anything are slim to miraculous!

So editing is going well. I am pleased.

I have now watched 9 hours of The Simpsons - since coming home from LA - on the new Tivo/Sky box that has been installed. Officially, it's to record the show when it starts airing in January ... but until then, Bart Rules (man, ok!).

We are preparing for next week when we film outside London at The Grove (which has a superb golf course) and The Four Seasons, Hampshire (which is just ... superb!). Then it's Miami ... yeah!

Romero Britto. Now a few years back when I filmed in Miami, we did a little feature with this Brazilian artist. I bought signed gifts for friends who mocked me (mocked me, I tell you) for buying art from an unknown artist ... well, ya-boo to them ... this year Britto did all the artwork for Superbowl and this week unveiled pyramids of his work in Hyde Park, London. He is "the new cool ...".

I rest on my laurels.

Off for a spot of grooming!

Song of the Day: I've Got the World on a String (Frank Sinatra)

Weather: Ripe for a round of golf

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Day 133 - Darker ... darker ...

Grumpy & Tired

Song of the Day: Somebody Told Me (The Killers)

Weather: still dark

Monday, 29 October 2007

Day 132 - Dark .. dark ..

Tired & Grumpy.

Song of The Day: Help - Beatles

Weather: Dark

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Day 131 - Don't Stop The Dance ...

he's a bit KINKy
it's johnny!
i want to be there ... now ... please

SO - the weekend has come to a close with a rather entertaining evening courtesy of ray davies - he of the kinks. he meandered through his musical life with great skill - dedicated follower of fashion, waterloo sunset & my favourite "come dancing" ... he even dragged johnny borrell from razorlight fame on stage too ...

I thoroughly enjoyed it - although it was not a "rage in the cage" evening ... (that's an LA term for well ... something or the other).

What a weekend ... ! BUT quite bizarrely i have agreed to go to a Sex Pistols concert in 2 weeks ... if i live through that, then it's Miami ...

We are in an edit all week ... which i am excited by.

It was such a dull, dreary and dark day on Sunday, i really wished i was back in Laguna ... on the beach ... watching the world ... oh those days ....

OK - enough - the clocks have gone back, which means its dark almost 24/7 until Spring 2008 (great!).

Song of The Day: Come Dancing (Kinks)

Weather: Bloody Awful

Friday, 26 October 2007

Day 130 - I should Koko


Many, many, many years ago, when I had just graduated to long from short trousers, I came across a band called Supergrass. For the next few years, this band made me shuffle my feet (dance, apparently) and sing loudly in open places (badly). Supergrass still play but time has moved on ... and just as I was dusting my musical coffin down (it's Halloween, so please let me roll with it!), Ghosts came along.

The World Outside is a nice little album ... but only gives them 75 minutes maximum of on-stage time (plus the odd cover).

The concert was held at the Koko in Camden - the Camden Palace for those who remember the war years. Apparently, Charlie Chaplin was a feature here in 1900 ... it's a stunning old building with original features inside ... and they accept credit cards behind the bar!

The band came on ... played for 80 minutes (inc. cover of Pussycat Dolls -Don'tcha) and left ... I shuffled, the crowd shuffled and we all left happy & slightly merry!

Great crowd of mainly 30-somethings ... ladies on a night out and funny looking men chasing the ladies ...

So far - out of the concert list, Ghosts was the best! One left though - tonight!

Rest of Friday - in edit with Seb. He has had a shave and haircut and looks presentable!

Song of Day: World Outside (Ghosts)

Weather: Dull

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Day 129 - When I'm 164

camden cool
lisa & graham
he's alive!
another fave photo (from Montage at Laguna Beach)

SO - day 2 of BBC Electric Proms ... McCartney.

First you had to queue up to get these red anti-ticket-tout wristbands, then you had to queue to get in, THEN you had to fight to get a place to see the stage ... THEN I realised that I actually don't like the Beatles or McCartney - except maybe the Frog Chorus ... and Mary Had a Little Lamb (I was 3 years old!). So the evening became farcical. McCartney, I believe, is (1)64 years old ... but he surrounds himself with young dudes who make him look (1)63 ...

Same old, same old ... tra-la-la, Hey Jude, Fool on the Hill, Long & Winding Road ... etc etc ... and yes, I did leave early.

He did sing a tribute to Lennon which was quite good ... strange as well, Sean Lennon played the same stage the day before.

The highlight of the evening was meeting Lisa & Graham from Brisbane ... they rocked up to a fully booked concert and got 2 tickets by just being polite to the right person! Classic stuff ... especially as the touts were STILL plying their trade outside for £500 a ticket!

Tonight - Concert 3 - and this one I can't wait for!!

Today - it's Day 1 of the edit ... should be fun!

Song of the Day: Frog Chorus - Paul McCartney

Weather: Chilly

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Day 128 - The Beat Goes On

well, that's my next few days sorted ...
ronson & friend
there's a rat near mi'kitchen ...

I am alive & awake.

First, last night. Mark Ronson. It would be fair to say that I am no longer a groovy pup, but for 2.5 hours last night, I felt so. You will possibly know Mr Ronson as the DJ who had that song "Stop Me" with Daniel Merriweather. Anyway, what started off as a tribute band effort, ascended into a top evening with him performing with the likes of Terry Hall & Candi Payne. Ronson absolutely MURDERED a Coldplay song ... in the way that every Coldplay song should be ... yes ... there was blood on the dancefloor and I was rubbing it in ...

The Roundhouse - for those who don't know - is in North London and is a very trendy venue ... loads of left-wing, Guardian reading, pinko-types swanning around in the latest Converse boots ... you know the type (Upper East siders for my American friends) ... rich but daring not to show it ... it's also a great venue for concerts ... and I have two left there this week...

SO - I have slept. Slept like a baby for 2 days. I feel refreshed and back on track.

The past 2 weeks have been awesome ... I keep on thinking of highlights ... there are so many ...

1) being kissed by a sea-lion
2) driving a Porsche at 180 mph
3) The Montage at Laguna Beach
4) waking up in Warren Beatty's love shack (well, suite at the Beverly Wilshire)
5) The Club (doggie heaven)
6) Fish n' Chips in Beverly Hills

these are just a few mind you, there are many more ...

Now, it's just the task of turning raw footage into something that resembles a tv show ... which - with what we've got - should be easy & great fun!

Song of the Say: Stop Me - Mark Ronson feat. Daniel Merriweather

Weather: Dark & Cold

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Day 127 - Snoooooooze

the greeting party was led by ... Maisy

I have been home just a few hours. So - left LA on Monday at 6 p.m. ... it's now 10 a.m. on Wednesday in London and I have only been awake for 6 hours in total ... while that may seem a lot of sleep ... I am still tired ... tomorrow I WILL make sense ...

The flight was long - apparently - i just about remember taking off and landing.

LAX Duty Free was rubbish.

for now ...

Song of the Day: Sweet Dreams Baby - Roy Orbison

Weather: Cold & Dark

Monday, 22 October 2007

Day 126 - It's All Over ... for 2 weeks anyway

miller who has INCREDIBLY bad breath
says it all really!

It's Tim's Birthday and we are celebrating his 40th in the lounge at LAX airport. We are on our way home after 2 weeks of fun & filming in LA.

We left the lovely Montage & Kacey quite early and drove up to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. I cuddled a sea-lion called Miller.

I am exhausted. The past 14 days have all been excellent ... but i need to go home now. The edit starts on Friday then we are off again to Miami in November.

The plane should take off soon!

Song of The Day: Ordinary World - Duran Duran

Weather: perfect

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Day 126 - Kacey Kacey Kacey Kacey Kacey

the end ... nearly

OK - let me explain. I write many of my diary entries at 0400 - 0430 in the morning and occasionally i gut fings wong (sic) ... and yesterday i said "stacey" and of course it was the LOVELY KACEY! Sorry ...

So - we left the Montage at Laguna Beach at 0815 this morning and headed through the city to John Barber - glass blower - with KACEY ... at his workshop. he created us a bowl ... its such an amazing process, i was astounded ... glass has been around since 1500 BC and glass blowing has used the same technique for hundreds of years too ... absolutely amazing ... its hard to explain the process but when you watch the show, you will be as enthralled as i was ... a morning not to forget.

the lovely KACEY then drove us to Talega - a fabulous golf course just 20 minutes away ... where with David Foster, i played one of the signature holes -- the first -- for the cameras ... before tim & alex went off and i played a whole half round (with new putter) with my new buddy charlie and 2 lady friends from LA. we had A blast!

Home to the hotel for one last night ... the MOST amazing omlette in history ... and sunset that i just breathtaking ...

I am totally so going to miss this place...

Home tomorrow ... but the memory of The Montage will live for a VERY long time..

and once again KACEY SPIES ... just wonderful!

Song of the Day: Slave to Love - Bryan Ferry

Weather: Strange --- a fire is raging in Malibu ...

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Day 125 - The O.C.

tai chi on the beach (VERY EARLY)
kayaking off the beacch (EARLY)
yoga on the beach (LATE)

Phew! What a day!
0430 - up to write diary (!)
0530 - meet up with stacey & helen (the most lovely PR minders a tv crew could ever ask for) in the Spa
0600 - julie (spa director) ensures that on-camera massage from rachel looks good. spa is amazing ... his n' her areas with whirlpools, saunas & steam-rooms etc and they are all "BIG". It's very Japanese in the sense that spa is important and so the hotel provides the best.
thankfully not hot stone massage - just a regular - up and down my taut back!
0800 - head to the beach at the back of the hotel for a tai-chi lesson with david dorian (wellness manager). the sun is up, it's a simply stunning day ... and i am getting an alternative early morning excersize!
0900 - hit the pacific in a kayak. not something i have done before ... but it is fun ... and of course i fell in the sea ... just once though. billy fried who owns la vida laguna kayaking is a very funny fellow ... and makes the experience entertaining
1100 -film hotel - its in Orange County - by the way - NOT L.A....
i am staying in the Catalina Suite - number 305 ... its the largest on property - 2200 sq ft. it has a kitchen, dining area, seating area, a double sided "real" fireplace ... 3 bathrooms (for just one bedroom!!!), and an outside balcony - approx 50 foot long - which has 180 degree views over the Pacific. Superb? No ... simply unique and magnificent ... YES!
the resort was opened in 2003 has 250 rooms inc 60 suites ... everyone with ocean views.
i am IN heaven!
1400 - cooking feature with award winning James Boyce on the patio of the signature studio restaurant. the weather is SO lovely, we prepare a healthy, tasty and colourful salad outside ... and use only local ingredients.
1630 - back on the beach with Master Yoga Instructor Beth Engren for a "sun salutation" ... just as the sun starts saying goodbye ...
1800 - as the sun DOES start setting, i sit by a fire pit, sipping fine cognac and smoking a terrific cigar ...
1930 - dinner at The Studio ... perfect. Alex had a perfect veggie tasting menu, Tim nearly cried as he enjoyed faultless lobster and lamb .... and I just lapped it all up ... (including my current favourite wine, Moscato)
a perfect end to a perfect day ...
stacey and helen have been just brilliant with us - though i am sure that at times, they must think we are slightly mad. as a little team, we have been travelling for 5 months now ... we have our "ways". its been 50 hotels + the doggie hotel so far ... all luxury ... and all with unique offerings.
i am truly enamoured with the Montage ... i will be back ... this time on holiday when i can relax and enjoy the place the way it should be.
off to blow glass now.
Song of the Day: (It's got to be) Perfect - Fairground Attraction
Weather: It's the OC ... the sun always shines here!

Friday, 19 October 2007

Day 124 - Say Goodbye to Hollywood

say goodbye to hollywood
The Montage pool by night - from my balcony

I am a little late with the diary today/tonight/yesterday/tomorrow/this afternoon/this evening (choose depending on time-zone) ... just tiring rapidly as we come to the end of the LA show.

Yesterday was a rush ... first up a visit to the Karen Lynne Gallery on Canon Drive. Some beautiful pieces here ... I even, erm, bought one ...

Then two GM interviews, the delightful Medhi Eftekari of the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills and then Jack Naderkhani of the Raffles L'Ermitage -- who it has to be said was highly instrumental in making this trip "work"!

We checked out of the Pen by around 2 pm .... with the lovely Trish waving us off, hanky in had ... and we drove the 2 hours (56 miles) south to Laguna.

Ask anyone in California, where is the beast beach resort in the state and they will all say ... The Montage, Laguna ... and that's where I am!

Laguna is in Orange County (The OC - according to Alex) ... and is one of the most affleunt parts of the State. It's a haven for artists - I will find more about this tomorrow - restaurants and shopping. The resort itself ... well, I am discovering that today.

Before we went to sleep last night, we interviewed James Bermingham (GM) ... an Irishman who doesn't play golf BUT smokes cigars and Carol Leenerts - (Concierge) ... more on them later too...

It's 5.30 a.m. ... I am off to start filming!

Song of the Day: Say Goodbye to Hollywood (Billy Joel)

Weather: perfect!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Day 123 - Belongs to Alison Zuber ...

at last - a pic of me & ms wonka
the bedroom
the house beautiful suite

just back from a delightful poolside massage from alison zuber who has dumped 10 days of stress out of my body and has filled me full of energy!

its been the Peninsula - Beverly Hills day today. Trish (PR) has been yummy mummy ... and has ensured that we get it all done.

it was opened at 08:08 hrs on the 8/8/91 - 8 being the most auspicious number in Chinese culture ... it has 196 rooms inc. 36 suites and 16 villas.

first up - an i/v with hotel GM - Paul Tchen ... lovely fellow. Then the concierge - one of THE best in LA - James Little. I am off to dinner tonight to one of his recommendations - Pizza Mosa ...

i am staying in the "house beautiful" (a magazine here in the US) designed-suite - number 356. its a 1-bedroom with a huge balcony, 4 poster, a Quatrefoil armoire in the bedroom, walk-in shower & bath, HUGE HUGE English-styled living room ... and loads of flowers! its lovely! the previous resident of this suite lived here for 13 years ... she checked out (literally) and it was transformed ...

afternoon tea - a Peninsula legend ... yum

wine tasting with David Jones - sommelier - who pandered to my love of pinot noir and dessert wine - both Californian .. both dreamy. Did have a peek in the hotel cigar collection ... decidedly dodgy with Maker's Mark & Kalhua branded cigars. Erm... yik!

finally sunset massage ... i am ALIVE & KICKING!!!!

tomorrow we are off to Laguna.

Song of the Day: Alive & Kicking (Simple Minds)

Weather: Scorchio ...

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Day 122 - Puppy Love

out on the town
dog lick! yum!
wee pupster

No chocolate photo from yesterday sadly - I think I am going techno-mad.

Up early and enjoyed a lovely breakfast at The Peninsula restaurant - Belvedere. Routinely, The Pen group makes the best toast ... and LA is no exception.

Tim & I hopped into the hotel's Rolls and with Max the Driver, headed into LA to do some tourist stuff. First up, Hollywood - The Mann Theatre (movie premieres), Kodak Theatre (Oscars) and then the sign ... which read HOLLYWOODLAND from 1923 to 1949 when it became just HOLLYWOOD.

We then headed back through the Beverly Hills streets that are iconic here in LA. It was certainly a luxury guided tour!

After lunch, we headed off to The Club! It's the 5-Star deluxe doggie hotel equivalent to the best human hotels in LA. Its run by Marjorie with her daughter and family all there too.

It's $62 a day ... there are "cottages" and "villas" and the pups are spoiled rotten! I fell in love with a couple of dachsies! The Club has a spa, jacuzzi, masseur, nutritionist and doggies psychologist!

It's been open since November 06 and is a HIT! The poochies looked very happy and by the time I left, I was too! I had ear licks galore!!


Song of The Day: Puppy Love - Donny Osmond

Weather: Ruff

p.s. did i mention that there was a wee earthquake yesterday .. 4.2 on richter scale!

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Day 121 - "Elvis has left the building..."

bruno the french chef
russell crowe has spoken
swan lake

I have been having brain and tech issues ... brain in that I left my camera in my room for a shoot that lends to photos and tech - well - I have now resolved those.

Departed from The Bev Wil ... and drove the 10 minutes to the Hotel Bel-Air ... on Canyon Drive. It's an oasis in the city. Set on 12 acres of gardens, its just 52 rooms and 39 suites - EVERYONE different in design & feel! A housekeeper's nightmare! It was opened in 1946 and is of Spanish hacienda design.

First up, a cooking feature with the highly entertaining and fun Bruno Lopez - the chef of The Restaurant ... we cooked a summer risotto ... drank Pinot ... and talked cigars. Ideal really!

We were placed in the Herb Garden Suite - number 264 - which is delightful ... even though it's one of the most famous hotels in the world - it's strangely understated ... I can see why the stars stay here ... I did see a couple of the "A-list" in the hotel - old school types ...

Oscar night here MUST be a blast ... Russell Crowe stayed in the suite when he won his for "A Beautiful Mind" ... the place is now affectionately known as "Crowe's Nest". Interviewed Carlos Lopes - the GM - who has been here on & off for many years. He comes from Lisbon and love soccer ... Google his name, he has lived many lives - literally.

Checked into The Peninsula but immediately ran out to film at Madame Chocolat on Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. The chocolatier Hasty Khoei MUST be one of the nicest people on Earth ... a mix between Willy Wonka and Mary Poppins (THAT sweet!). The business has been around nearly a year and she makes - well - chocolate. Not just any chocolate - the most dreamy chocolate in the world. The kind that you want to swim in, munch on and and and ...!
We had fun making (& eating) chocolate dogs ... or doooogs as Alex calls them ... speaking of Alex, she ate most of the shop's stock ... I have seen nothing like it ... EVER!! Hasty is a trained chef who specialises in the sweet stuff and the whole business is run by the family. It was a VERY entertaining little feature ... and I will post a photo tomorrow!

The Elvis thing? Well, I was just putting my laundry in and on the list was "jumpsuit" ... I was wondering if Elvis (1970's) was here with his collection!

Song of The Day: Good Thing - Roland Gift & The Fine Young Cannibals

Weather: Looking perkier

Monday, 15 October 2007

Day 120 - Thunderbirds Are Go!

al celebrates at ...
Thelma, Louise, me and THE Thunderbird!

Be careful what you wish for ... it may come true! Due to a mix-up in dates, I am back at The Beverly Wilshire and in suite 1001! Am I smiling? No, I am laughing like a hyena who has just been offered lamb chops (with mint sauce) by Wolfgang Puck!

Last night, we celebrated Alex's birthday by taking her to Ketchup in West Hollywood. It was fun and although the cuisine was not fabulous, the atmosphere, occasion and company made it a night to remember!

Today we started at the "other" Four Seasons ... the one on South Doheny Drive. We were met by the lovely Sarah Cairns, who was once in Hong Kong (Mandarin Oriental) and has been a fixture here for 5 years. She is one of the Top 10 most eligible ladies in Beverly Hills and a damn great PR!

The hotel has 285 rooms & suites spread over 16 floors ... with Acqua di Parma in the suites! Excellent stuff ...

We interviewed 3 people - Murph (Ron Murphy) - the Security Manager - who has been with Four Seasons for nearly 30 years, Charles Hawkins - Concierge and Ashley James - Executive Chef who has introduced fish n' chips to LA!

The weather has been dismal today - it will hopefully pick up by Friday when we return for more filming!

In the afternoon, we headed down to Venice to Spin. Basically this chap Dale has set up a hire-car company but instead of normal cars has a collection of the most wonderful vehicles from a 1962 Alfa Giulietta Spider to a 1958 Jag Mk VIII Saloon and a 1979 Ferrari 308 "Magnum PI" 308 GTS! There are currently a dozen cars you can hire out ... they are all in pristine condition and are just a cut above from the normal rent-a-cars!

I opted for the 1964 Ford Thunderbird ... it's like driving a waterbed! The ideal cruising car - all 7 litres of it! Thelma & Louise headed off a cliff (or didn't) in one!

Back to the Bev Wil ... heaven!

Song of The Day: Life's what you make it - Talk Talk

Weather: Dismal

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Day 119 - Alex's Birthday

my bedroom - i will miss it
my verandah - i will miss it
the swedish chef ... cooks a great $100 omlette
my friend jen on my verandah - i will miss her
my bathrobe - i will miss it

It's Alex's birthday today ... sadly she has been working all day ... but we are taking her out to dinner ... and she's had a manicure ...

Yesterday was a hoot as I was taught how to make a $100 omlette by the hotel's executive chef Conny Andersson ... he's from Sweden and we had a fabulous outtake Muppet Show thing going on! The omlette has 3 eggs, caviare, truffles and champagne (on the side!) ... oishi!

We finished up filming on my verandah ... lovely.

Jen & I ate at CUT ... it was a good meal.

Today's been quite quiet - I made a trip to a HUGE golf-store to purchase a Heavy Putter ... will it improve my game? no .... ! haha! We have finished filming the hotel finally ... and we're now preparing for a full day tomorrow AND Alex's "big night out".

We check-out tomorrow and head to The Peninsula. Out of all the suites I have stayed in this year for the show, the Veranda Suite at the Beverly Wilshire is my favourite ... everything has been so perfect here and Jennifer and Radha have "made it" ... I can't wait to come back ... to this hotel ... and this Suite .... heaven.

Song of the Day: Just Like Heaven (The Cure)

Weather: Bowfinger

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Day 118 - Brad & Me

lea journo
pretty jennifer

OK - OK - will explain the Brad thing first. Well, basically we have spent the whole day filming the hotel. It has the Lea Journo Hair Salon on the 2nd floor and three of her regular clients are Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Kate Bosworth. She has totally redesigned my hair! It was actually quite an experience ... she snipped and snipped & I worried but Alex & Tim reckon I have lost a couple of years! Whoo-hoo! Lea's average cut is from $180 upwards ... scarey prices!

Anyway, remember Pretty Woman? Well, it was filmed here (exteriors only) -- so Jenn and I couldn't help ourselves!!

The hotel has 2 wings - and there is a small road in the middle of them - El Camino Real - which is, I suppose, like the one at The Savoy in London ... a hotel road ... for the hotel only!

The hotel has 2 main restaurants - BLVD (where I now have burger named after me!) and CUT - Wolfgang Puck's steak restaurant. He is more famous in the US than any other chef ... we will hopefully cook with him this week. To get a table at CUT you have to kill someone ... or at least hurt them ... I am eating there tonight ... I don't actually eat steak BUT I am sure he will do me a small green salad! haha!

The hotel has lovely B&W photos of its past and the guests who have stayed or visited. From Kings to Queens, royalty to true A-listers, the Beverly Wilshire has seen it all.

We have more to do today ... and the weather is looking dicey. Eeek.

Song of the Day: Get Jiggy Wit' It - Will Smith

Weather: can't you read?!


Friday, 12 October 2007

Day 117 - Heaven Can Wait

Rock Lobster
The Babies
Grant & Beatty

The past few days have been fairly hectic so we took a breather this morning – opting for a lounging breakfast and pack-down in preparation for leaving L’Ermitage. It’s been fun staying here – huge rooms, very helpful & friendly staff and a level of comfort that certainly makes it a 5-Star deluxe hotel.

Farewell Raffles L'Ermitage ...

After travelling through Japan last month (where there’s no tipping) – the whole “tipping” culture is back – with vengeance. At breakfast at a local diner in Beverly Hills, our breakfast came to $37.00. I gave the guy a 50 and he was visibly upset when I “only” left a tip of $8! The service was ok and the food was miserable yet I still left just over 20% … but he seemed to think that 33% was more in order! This maybe a LA thing BUT I felt rather disappointed by that attitude. Tipping is NOT a definite –it MUST be earned … surely?

Anyway, after bidding farewell to the L’Ermitage, we headed back to Santa Monica for our final feature there – cooking lobster with Allyson Thurber – chef at The Lobster. Its been around since the 1920's but only the in past 5 years or so has it become of LA's top seafood eateries. There are 2 types of lobster: Maine/American - with the claws (one to catch, one to snip) and the Rock Lobster (HUGE and with NO claws) ... we cooked the rock - an enormous rock ... almost 10lbs ... grilled with butter & garlic ... it took 10 minutes to prepare and was totally delicious ... totally!! It was washed down with a fine Pinot. The funny thing is that although Allyson is probably the top lobster chef in the US, she is actually allergic to the stuff and so can't eat it!

Farewell Santa Monica ...

Back to Beverly Hills and to the Beverly Wilshire and the Four Seasons. Waiting for us was the lovely, wonderful and stunning Jennifer Cooke - PR and buddy from her days in Chicago. She set Tim & Alex up and then took me to my suite. The hotel has been here since 1927 ... the oldest in BH and opposite Rodeo Drive.

It has two wings - The Wilshire (1927) and The Beverly (1971) - and a total of 395 rooms inc 137 suites. I am staying in a suite on the top floor of the Wilshire. It's the only suite up here and is a 1-bedroom with a 2000 square foot verandah with panoramic views of LA. The bathroom has Asprey of London amenities (never seen those before) and there's a bottle of Pinot waiting for me to glug!

It was home to Warren Beatty for 10 years in the 60's & 70's ... he must have had some awesome parties here!!!

Beside my bed were photos of my babies - Mittens, Maisy & Gemima - waiting for me in a frame and Billy Joel on the CD player! Dear Jen!

We first interviewed hotel GM - Radha Arora. He is full of stories - like when Elvis stayed here during the filming of Jailhouse Rock, he would get 100's of balloons sent up to him with girl's phone numbers on them! How cool is that??!!! The hotel was built on an old speedway track ... and is a magnet for all the world's A-list celebrities. I am a lucky boy!

We ended up for dinner at BLVD -- where the chef Brian prepared me a special chicken burger ... VERY special indeed!!!

Staying at this hotel is just perfect. It really is like being at home ... and that makes me miss home more!!

Song of The Day: Just the Way You Are - Billy Joel

Weather: Turning

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Day 116 - Surf Dude? Not!

extreme boot camp (hell)

extreme milk-shakes (heaven)

surf dudes? (well, maybe the one on the left)

A very busy & tiring day ...

0600 - arrive in Santa Monica at Pacific Palisades Park for an early morning work-out with some ex-Marine chaps from Extreme Boot Camp. For an hour, Edgar & Mike were at best brutal, at worst maniacal. My bones & muscles were burning as we (thankfully there were a couple of others there) crunched, sprinted, struggled and wheezed ... people actually do this everyday ... crazy. It's all very LA ...

0900 - arrive at The Oceana on 849 Ocean Avenue. This small luxury hotel was built in 1957 as an apartment block, was transformed into a hotel in 1970 and has now been modernised ... after a multi-million dollar refurbishment. It has just 70 rooms & suites. Its all very swish ... It was once home to Stan Laurel ... of Laurel & Hardy fame. I like this hotel ...

We had some fabulous milk-shakes, pizza and all-in-all, it was a fabulous shoot!

1500 - meet up with Nick Meehan - a surf dude from Blue Surf Riders. Ok - it's the wrong season and wrong time of day BUT there were a few waves. I was not very good. I fell in the sea a lot and didn't manage to pop-up ... very often/at all ... it was great fun though!

Was tired and exhausted when we got back to the hotel ... zzzzzzzz.. thankfully a quick massage at Le Merigot helped me to relax.

Song of the Day: Surfin' USA - Beach Boys

Weather: Very LA

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Day 115 - Speed Limits Are For Wimps!

Ooh! That one looks nice...
Actually - this one will do ...

Early up & head off to Santa Monica - just 20 minutes away. I think the people of LA are very lucky as the beach is so close and also there are lovely, leafy places like Santa Monica.

Filmed at Le Merigot which overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The GM - Paul Hortobagyi - was born near Budapest and once worked in a circus as an acrobatic! What a fantastic life he has led ... and now he runs this lovely 175 room property by the beach.

In the afternoon, we drove 60 miles to San Bernadino - to the California Speedway - home of NASCAR. Today, the track was playing host to Supercar Life. Basically, the company has currently 12 (soon to be 18) of the most fantastic production road cars in the world and they let people run wild with them! There are lessons on braking, under & over steer and then you go crazy in Ferraris, Lambourghinis, Aston Martins, Mercedes and Porsches ... My tutor Dag Grala, took me round the course a few times at great speed (upto 180 mph) in a 911 before letting me loose. I went crazy too ... high-speed ... much adrenalin & hormones were spent! Erm - it was awesome!!!!!!!! It was a crazy-good afternoon.

Back in the hotel to munch on a totally brilliant chicken Caesar ... I will sleep well tonight!

Song of the Day: Born to be Wild - Steppenwolf

Weather: Porsche
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