50 Shades of L.A!

suzanne jackson LA

Hello from L.A, and happy Satruday!

I’m currently doing the LA thing, blogging while sitting at my laptop with a cup of tea in hand! #VeryAmerican

I have an hour or so to spare at the moment so I thought I would sit down and tell you guys all about our trip to Los Angeles.

About two weeks ago, I received an email with the subject bar: “Fifty Shades Darker premiere / LA Trip”! The second I saw the subject, straight away my eyes widened and my heart started to beat really fast! I quickly clicked to open the email and I almost had to read it twice to make sure I wasn’t seeing things!

Universal Ireland had got in contact with me to see if I would be interested in flying to L.A. with them to attend the official Fifty Shades Darker premiere with the stars in attendance. Like WHAT! ME??

I. Nearly. Died.

It had always been a dream of mine to visit L.A. and Beverly Hills but I just never had a reason to book a trip there so I couldn’t believe it when the opportunity arrived in my inbox! Within a week, I had all the details firmed up and I was getting more and more excited! I had no idea what the event was going to be like but I knew it was going to be the most amazing experience!

For those who don’t know, I’m a big Fifty Shades fan. I’ve read some of the books and I really enjoyed the first movie, so when I watched the trailer for the second release, I was so looking forward to seeing it, but when I was told I would be watching it in L.A with the stars themselves – the excitement multiplied!


To be the only Irish blogger to be flown out with Universal to attend a celebrity bash and to report back my thoughts on the film, was such an honour too. I won’t lie, I was a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing! I have been to big events in the past with brands, but never an LA movie premiere!

SO about the tip in detail, although our stay was short and sweet, it was definitely a trip worth taking. We did have the option of extending our stay if we wished, but we have our biggest workshop to date in Carlingford this Sunday and I can’t wait to meet everyone.

Some people might think I’m mad for flying all this way for a short time but it was such an amazing opportunity, I couldn’t in a million years turn it down, and hello being in the same room as Jamie Dornan – I would have flow to Timbuktu and back 🙂


We arrived on Wednesday at about 3-ish L.A. time and we had this big plan to have a quick power nap before heading out to explore L.A. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go to plan. We were so exhausted from the long haul flight that we fell into a deep sleep and didn’t wake until 2am in the morning – we were raging but what can you do!?

The good thing was, our body clocks had us wide awake at 5am so we got up, showered, dressed went for a lovely brekkie in the hotel and then headed out to explore L.A, soak up the atmosphere and see some of the iconic locations.

We decided to book an Uber at our hotel, the funny thing is over here no one hails taxis, I was so surprised, everyone uses Uber and its actually really reasonably priced too which is a bonus. For those wondering, we were staying at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA, which was a really contemporary quirky hotel. For those of you who may be familiar with the Dean in Dublin, it is very similar in style to that. Pretty retro, and very quirky. An Instagrammer’s dream really!

To make things even more convenient, the premiere itself was taking place next door, so it was practically on our doorstep, but more about the event deets later on… 🙂

Whn our Uber arrived, we headed straight to Sunset Blvd and we got out there. We actually wanted to walk down towards Beverly Hills Hotel and have a look at everything. Truth be told, we also wanted to have a sneaky nose at some of the mansions there! Oh my God, they were out of this world. They all had security camera manning their homes 24/7 and you could smell the wealth – it was pretty insane…. the thing is, these weren’t even the celebrity houses so that will give you an idea of what they were like! It was just madness!

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As we walked down Sunset Bvld, the sun was on our backs, the skies were blue, and the palm trees were lining the streets … I’ve had a few pinch-me moments and this was definitely one of them! I grew up watching programmes like Beverly Hills 90210, or movies like Beverly Hills Cop, and they all portrayed an image of what L.A. was like. To see that place in person didn’t disappoint either! It really is every bit as amazing as you expect.

As we walked around the corner of Sunset Bvld., the Beverly Hills Hotel was right in front of us! It was all kinds of wow! No other way to describe it! Everything about this hotel had the look of success. We planned to have lunch there later that afternoon but I couldn’t pass the place without seeing what it was like inside! It was so pristine, there was a red carpet right up to the door and the bell boys were immaculately dressed. The cars parked outside were all super-cars, the kind you would only see in movies. It was all just so surreal.


After hanging out there for a short while, we got an Uber to Rodeo Drive to check out the most iconic street in Beverly Hills. There was every single designer shop you could think of on this strip and it was such a cool area. At this point, myself and Dylan decided to get a few cringEy pics, as you do! (When in L.A. after all!)

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As we were strolling, I spotted YS across the street. For months and months, I have been after the YSL Jane sandals but they have constantly been sold out in Brown Thomas and online. It was impossible to get them so when I saw YSL on Rodeo, I headed in to have a quick nosey. To my surprise, the sandals were not only in stock, they were there in every colour AND they were even cheaper – result! No way was I passing up the opportunity to try them on! I knew straight away that if they were in my size, I would buy them and wear them to the official premiere that night!

They were the perfect shoe to go with my dress!




Of course when I tried them on, they fit like a glove.. I just couldn’t leave them – they had to come home with me! 🙂

While the YSL assistant was bagging my shoes up and chatting away to us, we asked her if she could recommend any well known, or iconic places where we could get some nice food around Beverly Hills.

She told us that while the Beverly Hills Hotel was nice for food, the hot hang out spot was an Italian restaurant called Il Pastaio, if you actually google it you’ll see incredible stars pictured there. We took her advice of course, cancelled lunch at Beverly Hills and headed straight to Il Pastaio. Italian food is always a top choice of mine ad Dylan’s so we were REALLY looking forward to dining here.

When we arrived, it was just before lunch so were lucky we were there when we were as half an hour later, the place was buzzing. There was even a line of cars queued for valet parking. It was definitely the hottest place to be. We got a lovely little two seater table outside the restaurant with really cool views of Beverly Hills – it was the ultimate place for people watching! I am such a people watcher.


While we were eating lunch, Gigi Hadid’s father, Mohamed Hadid, arrived in and sat down just two tables away from us! You could tell there were a few other celebrities there too because of the way the staff were fussing over them! I couldn’t get a proper look at them though so I’m not sure who was in attendance, but it was such a buzz there! I loved it.

The food there was gorgeous! It was a really healthy Italian menu. Just divine! We also enjoyed a bottle of wine and just sat back and soaked up the whole experience.

It was mind blowing to sit there and watch people going by. Every single person we saw was dressed in designer clothes, wore expensive jewellery, drove the most amazing cars … it was pretty incredible to see how the other half lived. It was like a whole other world. My mind just went into over drive.. I was creating their lives in my head, guessing what they worked at, what car they drove, if they were in love or not.. just crazy shit. But I do have an over active mind, so it was going 90 miles an hour! Anyone else do that?


After lunch, it was time to head back to our hotel to get ready for THE big night ahead.

The really exciting thing was that everyone was talking about the Fifty Shades Darker premiere. Our Uber drivers, the waiters, everyone knew it was on and it was creating such a buzz around LA! To be invited to a premiere that everyone was so excited about and talking about, made it even more exciting for us!

When we got back to hotel, Universal Ireland had so kindly left a goodie bag in my hotel room consisting of our schedule for the night, a cute jumper and the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack. The soundtrack to the film is insanely good, and after having watched the movie itself, all I want to do is listen to every single song on repeat!

Next, it was straight into the shower and time to begin the all-important beauty prep! For the event, I had the most amazing designer dress thanks to Frock n’ Fabulous in Dublin.


The dress was by Irene Lust and I was so excited to wear it because it’s not often I get to wear those type of gowns. It fit me like a glove and felt amazing to wear. It felt really luxurious too.

For my makeup, I decided to go with a smoky eye, some good SOSU contour, a pop of SOSU highlight and my fluffy lashes. Lots of you snapchatted me about my lashes. They were Paris – a new lash style from my new glam collection which will be launching soon (more details on this in coming weeks, I promise!) For now check out my other lash styles here. 

Because my eye makeup was so dramatic, I went for a nude lip. I wore my new fave nude lipstick from MAC. It’s called Driftwood and it’s from the Lip Intensity Collection. It’s a lovely shade of nude.

My hair had been set by Robbie in Red Velvet before I left for L.A. Can you believe the curl held so well until the event even though I had unpinned it much earlier? It’s a testament to how good their blow dries actually are! Big thumbs up to Robbie for that!



I wanted my dress to do the talking so I decided to keep jewellery to a minimum. No earrings, just my engagement ring, a bracelet and a watch. Stellar Magazine, RSVP and Goss.ie were among the sites that wrote about my dress, so I was thrilled that it was a hit!

It was by far one of my favourite dresses to date! I loved wearing it, and I can’t wait to wear more of Irene’s pieces.


For shoes, of course I wore my new YSL Jane sandals. Not gonna lie, they were not the most comfortable to wear, but I expected that. I’m hoping they’ll be fine once I break them in.

So now for the big event itself!

Myself and Dylan had been invited to the masquerade ball that was taking place before the movie premiere. I didn’t know what to expect because to be honest, a lot of pre-premiere events aren’t that great. This one however was out of this world! There was a lot of celebrities and industry people in attendance as well, and it was so exciting!!


Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as well as other actors from the movie were all there, as was the 50 Shades writer herself, E.L. James. If you’re wondering why I didn’t get any pictures, it was next to impossible as the security around them was so tight. 

The whole venue was an exact replica of the masquerade ball that takes place in the Fifty Shades Darker movie. The organisers got it down to a T; even the masks that everyone was given to wear were the same as those in the movie.

The music was amazing, the drinks were flowing, and everyone was so glam … I was in my element! Myself and Dylan were standing at one of the pod tables at one point when a young woman and a guy joined us and started chatting. Turns out she was a publicist in LA and she was representing the guy beside her, who was an actor called Luke Bains.

Being a nosey Irish girl, I Googled him the second I had wifi haha, and it turns out he’s actually quite a big actor! That’ll give you some idea as to what the party was like! There were just so many industry people there, it was surreal.

Luke and his publicist were absolutely lovely and great to chat to. Luke even offered to put myself and Dylan on a guest list for some of the exclusive clubs in L.A. but because we were still a little jet lagged, we knew we would be wrecked after the premiere so we decided not take him up on his very kind offer. We’ll definitely do so though if we go back to L.A., no doubt about it!


Following drinks and nibbles, I spotted a Tarot Card reader, so of course I had to sit down and ask her some questions. I know some people don’t like that kind of thing, or don’t believe in it, but it really interests me so I was happy to do it. It was such a fun thing to have at the kind of event that it was. I have to say, I was really impressed with her feedback too!

Following the ball, we were taken straight to premiere. Guys, it was amazing. The official red carpet was amazing to see. The set, which had been built earlier that day, was insane! It looked exactly like what you see in the showbiz magazines.

There wasn’t just a sea of photographers there, there was an ocean of them! I have been to fashion weeks where the grounds were flooded with photographers, but even they didn’t come close to the amount that were shooting the red carpet at the premiere. I have never seen anything like it! The lights were flashing and the celebrities were walking the red carpet, including the lead actors, Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. Singer Rita Ora was there too.

We were led into the theatre and to our seats for the actual premiere. Bang on 8pm, out walks E.L. James on the stage followed by the director/producer and then Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. The place erupted! It was really bizarre to see Dakota and Jamie in person, like these two insanely popular actors just standing there – all kinds of crazy! If you’re wondering what they’re like in the flesh, Dakota is absolutely stunning in person, and Jamie is every bit as ridiculously handsome as you’d expect, even with his new shaved head 🙂

fifty shades darker premiere

I’m not going to give away too much about the film before you see it, but what I will say is that if you’re a Fifty Shades fan, you’re in for a huge treat!

I was so engrossed in the film right from the very beginning. The story really holds your attention to the end, and I thought Jamie and Dakota seemed much more comfortable together in this movie too, which made it even better. There’s also way more naughty scenes in this film which some of you will be very happy to hear! 😉

The acting was so so good, and all in all, it was just a great movie.

It’s released in Ireland on Feb 10th (trailer below) and if I were you, I would round up the girls, go for a bite to eat, enjoy a couple of glasses of vino, and then head in to see the movie. You’ll have the time of your lives!

To end this blog post, massive thank you to Universal Ireland for sending us to L.A. to attend such a wonderful event. It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one I will never forget!


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