Last week, the pictures of both Cheryl Cole arriving at a recording studio in Hollywood and Simon Cowell strolling around his manicured Bel Air neighbourhood, made me chuckle. It’s no wonder that people aspire to this kind of lifestyle – it looks so perfect and I suppose on some levels it is.

Before I moved to LA I had a very one-dimensional view of how people lived here, informed mostly by tabloid newspapers, red carpet events and pap shots of celebrities shopping on Rodeo Drive.

Living here as a ‘normal’ person, that is to say one who isn’t a celebrity or rolling in millions of dollars, is of course very different.

Take today for instance. My friend Anne, offered to host a brunch at her apartment in Hollywood and around 20 people arrived laden with food and drinks. One thing you can be sure of, regardless of the stick-thin creatures you see in magazines or at premieres, ‘normal’ people in LA love their food.

And because we’re all ‘normal’ people with ‘normal’ jobs, and it was Sunday morning, everyone lounged around in their jeans and t-shirts, wearing barely a scrap of make-up (that goes for the men too), just grateful to have some time off work.

I took it upon myself to represent my home country in the food stakes and provided a couple of packets of English back bacon which you can only get from Fresh & Easy, a supermarket chain owned by Tescos. I also bought some Heinz baked beans and a handful of PG Tips. Gold medal for Britain in the Food Olympics!

Others contributed cupcakes, muffins, champagne for Mimosas (that’s Bucks Fizz to you and me), sausages (or links as they are called here), bagels, fruit and cheese. Anne baked biscuits, which look and taste a lot like scones, and some scrambled eggs with chopped vegetables.

There was one emergency supermarket run for more champagne but aside from that minor crisis, it was very informal with people eating where they stood or sitting cross-legged on the floor.

People complain there is no centre to LA and it’s absolutely true. So when there is an opportunity to come together, everyone seems to appreciate how special it is. As a freelance writer, I’m just grateful to have an excuse to get dressed, leave the house and make use of my rusty social skills.

However, because this is LA there was a twist. Anne works in the sex industry. No, not in that way. She reviews sex toys and is about to launch the After Dark website for the LA Weekly, and so on the way out she invited us all to look inside her ‘box of goodies’ and take what we wanted.

And thus four hours later, I left Anne’s apartment carrying a delicious chocolate cupcake, some left-over Brie, a couple of onion bagels and a giant rabbit vibrator.

And that ladies and gentlemen, was my Hollywood brunch.