Well – I did it. An entire January’s-worth of alcoholic abstinence.
And yes, it was a VERY long month.
But the surprising discovery for me is not only that I have far greater reserves of willpower than anyone, including myself, suspected, but that I actually like drinking – just because I like the taste.
I like the taste of it and the smell of it and I love the excitement and pleasure I feel when I find myself drinking a particularly lovely pint of ale or a fabulously tasty glass of wine.
My taxi driver was very excited when I said there would be loads of celebrities at the Costa Book Awards.
‘Like who?’ he asked, as he turned off Piccadilly to head towards the event venue, Quaglino’s restaurant.
‘Like, erm, Ian Hislop, and Simon Mayo… and maybe Mariella Frostup?’ I tried to think of some more A-list names who might conceivably be there but I should see his shoulders drop. He was obviously not that impressed.
Of course, it turned out I had slightly undersold the whole thing. The first person I spotted on walking down the stairs to the event was Jerry Hall, looking stunning in a massive halo of blonde hair. Just nearby was actress Natascha McElhone, and Texas singer Sharleen Spiteri, the gorgeous Neil Pearson, and looming over all of them was the tall, brainy one from Pointless (Richard Osman – he is really rather tall). Continue reading Costa Book Awards: celebs, gossip and a worthy winner→
Just a few days in Sin City brought about a miraculous transformation in my mother. For several weeks before our Las Vegas holiday, her main activity had been fretting about what to bring.
“Shall I take an umbrella?” she’d asked. I explained the temperature in May should be a balmy 40 degrees. She wasn’t convinced. “How about a mac then?”
Now, after just 48 hours in Vegas, she seemed an entirely different person. She got up from her sun lounger and said: ‘Right, I’m off to gamble and to have a gin and tonic. Can I borrow a hundred dollars?’
Being escorted off the mountain-side by a French hunk on a snowmobile was not the way I had imagined the end of my first ever day of skiing, but it was certainly exhilarating.
I clung to him for dear life as we plunged and soared across the slopes checking for other waifs and strays as the sky darkened. When he deposited me back to level ground my knees were trembling like a Mills and Boon heroine.
Why had I not realised before that skiing would be so exciting?A combination of cost, inclination and complete ignorance about anything to do with skiing meant that I’d reached my late 30s without ever been bitten by the ski bug.
Visitors to Redemption, tucked away in the unfashionable corner of London between Westbourne Park and Ladbroke Grove, first have to walk past an array of Notting Hill’s pubs and wine bars, packed with Bright Young Things knocking back the very latest in alcohol trends, from finely-crafted cocktails to locally-distilled artisan gin.
Those who ignore such delights and cross the bridge over the railway tracks, find themselves in a different world altogether – low rise seventies-style flats overlooking a row of extremely untrendy shops; a bookmakers, a kebab shop and in the middle, Redemption.