If I’m honest, I’m not really sure know where to start with my time at the Cannes Film Festival this year, it was such a wonderful whirlwind of a weekend from start to finish, I almost felt as if I was in a movie myself, a rom com meets cool European film, set in the Cote d’Azur where a group of friends have the time of their lives and appreciate every second. Now there’s a film I should write!
Cannes was a gorgeous, gloriously sunny, hilariously funny, thought-provoking and utterly glamorous girly weekend away which made me feel so incredibly alive, rejuvenated and pretty much 21 all over again, with its infectious energy and buzz, pristine riviera, bright lights, dark theatres and red carpets.
Most of all, being around great friends I’ve known for years, who truly get me that I could party with until the early hours (something rare these days), all wrapped up in this almost magical atmosphere meant I had the time of my life.
There really is nowhere quite like Cannes.
To give you a little background, as well as being a professional blogger, I’m also a multi- award winning filmmaker having made critically acclaimed short films, TV drama, documentaries, music videos and commercials that have screened on British, American, French and Greek TV, and at film festivals all over the world.
This was my 4th time at the most famous of festivals – and probably the most fun yet!
I know the South of France well as I’ve been lucky enough to holiday there since I was a kid so Antibes, Grasse, St Tropez and of course Cannes, feel familiar stomping grounds for me. I know the backstreets, best restaurants and now, thanks to having kids, the greatest toy shops in town too!
Dazzlingly sunny, not far from home (a 2 hour flight), if only I could make the Cote d’Azur home for half the year (a girl can dream right?!).
Seriously though, I love merging my blogging and film worlds and Cannes is the perfect place for that. I had some exciting meetings about some upcoming digital and film projects I’m featuring in as well as meetings about a TV comedy I have in development with well known TV company DLT Entertainment.
I attended the festival with my publicist and great friend, Hayley of Abbot Kinney Ltd and one of my best mates in the whole world, renowned casting director, Nicci Topping of Topps Casting. These girls sure know how to party and we had a wild time together!
We stayed in a fabulously chic apartment (thank to Nicci for arranging) close to the Croisette, which is where all the action takes place, although admittedly we barely had chance to enjoy it as we were too busy running in heels to screenings, eating fine French food (hello fillet steak and beef carpaccio) and hopping from party to party! Flipping hard life huh!
With such a crazy Cannes schedule, we had several ‘pit stops’ at my favourite cafe in Cannes, the ‘Armani Caffe’ for a quick caffeine fix (or in my case a ‘de-caff fix’) most days.
Fortunately, the designer name doesn’t mean designer price tags and you can enjoy a frothy coffee for around the €3 mark. Good huh?!
And sweet treats for my girls only, as I was being good on my sugar-free paleo diet. Champagne doesn’t count does it?!
It was pretty easy to stay healthy there though, with delicious food aplenty, as the bistros, on and off the Croisette, never disappoint.
Here are some French food porn highlights for you all.
I can safely say that this beef carpaccio is one of the tastiest I’ve ever had! So lean and light with a mountain of peppery rocket and parmesan shavings to add some bite.
Hayley opted for a classic starter of Mozzarella, beef tomatoes and rocket in a basil pesto. This bistro, we later found, was rather obsessed with rocket…
My main course was fillet steak (cooked to perfection) with a balsamic reduction, rocket and parmesan (again) with a side of seasonal vegetables. Medium rare, it was tender, the reduction tangy and if I wasn’t wearing such a fitted dress, I would have finished it all!
Despite the fine restaurants in Cannes, I couldn’t resist a lunchtime picnic on the beach on the Sunday so headed to my favourite French supermarket Monoprix to pick up a feast. How lush does the fresh fruit and veg look? Olives, cold meats, seafood salad and various cheeses were enjoyed that day!
As we walked around the streets it seemed I was either confused with someone else or I have a lot of French Honest Mum readers 😉 as I was stopped numerous times and asked for photos while there, starting as soon as we hopped of the plane at Nice Airport. Now I know how Jennifer Aniston must feel 😉
…Funnily enough a random French passerby also rushed towards me on the Croisette shouting, ‘Le sac, le sac’ before motioning she wanted a picture with my Brisbane Nova Harley bag.
Talk about it being a show stopper hey!
Even strolling around the streets is every cinephile’s dream! The atmosphere in Cannes is electrifying. My kids cannot wait for the Peanuts Movie to come out at the end of the year and seeing this installation over there, nor can I!
Argh, picture-perfect blue skies and the hustle and bustle of Cannes as deals are made, stars signed, and films enjoyed.
Cannes by night is equally enchanting…
Even the toilets are glam in Cannes – I j’adore the mosaic wall and flooring here. Fabulous!
…And of course, there’s no shortage of A-listers at the Cannes Film Festival. In fact, LA and London must have been devoid of celebs as everyone heads to the Cotes d’Azur for these 2 weeks in May.
Always the star spotters, we saw the beautiful Sienna Miller aka the queen of ‘boho-chic’ who is one of the judges at this year’s festival, as well as rapper Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def, who was at the Amy Winehouse film screening party, where he was rumoured to have struck a romance with girl of the moment, Zoe Kravtiz.
We witnessed quite a lot of celeb gossip in action but I’ll leave that to bloggers like Perez!
…Thanks Joules for my stunning Cannes-worthy floppy hat and Fever London for the pink day dress.
Cannes is of course first and foremost about the films and we were lucky to attend some incredible film screenings, as well as catching a midnight flick on the beach.
I can highly recommend the new moving documentary on the late Amy Winehouse. It’s one of the most moving films I’ve ever seen on a star lost too soon.
This touching portrait follows the artistic triumph and devastating personal troubles of Amy. Using unseen footage and unreleased tracks, the documentary tells her story through her own words – heartbreaking yet ‘can’t look away’ fascinating. It will make you cry and cry.
We also saw Carol, which was met with great acclaim following its debut at the festival and is a strong contender for the prestigious Palme d’Or award.
Set in New York during the 1950s, it follows Rooney Mara’s character, a department-store clerk, who dreams of a better life and falls for an older, married woman played by Cate Blanchett.
Both women give the performances of their lives, so much so, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were both up for an Oscar nomination in 2016 too. Mesmerising. Go see it when it’s out.
We also attended the market screening of The Rise of the Krays, two of my friends Kevin Leslie and Simon Cotton are the leads in it (so funny that as soon as we arrived in London we opened the Evening Standard to see them in it too) and my friend Nicci cast the film.
Here they are having a laugh with our suitcases on arrival!
…An authentic, gritty film with outstanding performances, this is the first of 2 parts and will be released in cinemas later in the summer.
And here we are at the film’s party overlooking the sweet, deep sea. We were blessed with scorching temperatures so happily got our vitamin sea fix while out there but were slightly horrified to be met with hailstones in Yorkshire on our return!
Below Nicci poses with dashing ‘stars to watch’ Kevin and Simon.
We spent our evenings attending some fabulous parties and enjoying cocktails in the hotels there, The Grand and The Majestik are two of the most popular hang outs at the festival and are the ideal setting to catch up with film friends.
For myself, Cannes is a bit like a school reunion and a chance to hang out with old colleagues and make new acquaintances.
At Cannes soirees it must be said, the glamour stakes are off the Richter scale. Everyone is styled up to the max – hey even the paparazzi wear tux’s – but despite what you might presume, the parties themselves are rarely pretentious.
Everyone is there to let their hair down, enjoy the moment and simply celebrate their films.
…Our favourite party was by the French TV station France Télévisions – which is the equivalent of our beloved BBC.
Overlooking the beach, it was a super cool location for a party with the added bonus of champagne on tap (ooh la la) and the coolest Parisian DJs who played old school 90’s R ‘n’ B all night long. My jaw physically hurt from laughing and we danced until 4am.
For the party I wore this glamorous 1940’s style figure hugging Julia V Neck Pencil Dress (£69.99) that I was kindly gifted by Fever London.
Bright colours were big hit with the A-listers on the red carpet this year so I’m glad my outfit was bang on ‘Cannes’ trend (you can read my round-up of all the Cannes fashion trends over on my style blog, Mummy’s Got Style).
I paired it with my sparkly heels and this gorgeous vintage YSL gold necklace that I picked up years ago from a vintage shop in Paris.
Towards the end of the night, a little bit tipsy (OK a lot) we headed to the gif machine there and had some fun!
…At the more professional scale of photography (!) I had a quick pro-shoot with a French photographer (hey Momo!) for the Jacques Vert‘s summer campaign in a gifted dress that made me feel a million dollars.
And when you’re feeling like a million dollars, where better to head than the Cannes Marina!
If only I actually had a million dollars so I could get my mitts on one of those super yachts!
This embellished lace layered purple dress is such a beauty isn’t it?
Purple is a colour I rarely wear, but I love how striking it is, with the sumptuous embellished detail and layers of lace: perfect for the festival.
…Well and truly partied out, we spent our final morning exploring the enchanting backstreets of Cannes, which are peppered with unique boutiques and exquisite Riviera architecture.
And here we are at brunch
Goat’s cheese omelette time. Tasty.
I even stumbled across this charming wooden toy shop full of hand crafted toys so stopped to pick up personalised presents for Oliver and Alexander.
WOW! What an amazing, fun, carefree, wild weekend away, I was a little sad to leave before the end of the festival, but so excited to be reunited with my gorgeous little family back home.
I savoured every sparkly minute. That place is a hyper reality, it really makes you feel energised. The vibe there is utterly and overwhelmingly contagious, and I returned refreshed, excited about future creative projects locked down over there, and in great need of kisses from my three ‘boys’.
Agh Cannes, I love you. Now hurry up May 2016!