A Celebrity Dinner Party


This entry is prompt #13 of The Book of Me, Written by You project.

This week’s prompt is – Special People / Iconic People

If you had to hold a dinner party and could invite a maximum of 12 special people who would you invite?
You can NOT include family in this – the special people could be famous or historical people. What made you select the people that you chose? What questions would you like to ask them?
What meals would you serve and why?
Perhaps include the recipe or a photo if you decided to actually cook the items!

2008-08-03 13.36.43A star-studded, celebrity dinner party with me as the host. I’m not the biggest follower of “slebs” but there are a few people I’d like to meet, so here goes.

The first guest would have to be James Dean. When I was a teenager I became a massive James Dean fan – my bedroom was plastered with posters and I read every biography I could get my hands on. I’ve always felt there was a lot more to James Dean than many people thought at the time, and I think he would be a fascinating dinner party guest – so long as you could enourage him to come out of his shell a little bit.

Next would be Stephen Fry. Predictable, yes – but he genuinely does seem to be a good egg, and someone with whom you could have both an intelligent converation and a jolly good laugh!

Following on the theme of humour would be John Cleese. I hope he’d be able to do some silly walks (though age might be against him now!) and I reckon he and Mr Fry would get on marvellously.

Another joker in the pack would be The Special One – Jose Mourinho. English football is most definitely brightened up when Jose is around and I’m sure he would charm, frustrate and entertain the dinner party guests. He’d also be a bit of eye candy!

Four men so far, so let’s bring the first woman to the table – Jo Brand. I met her once, briefly, at an awards ceremony I was shortlisted for. We chatted for a few minutes about magic knickers and I’d very much like to continue the conversation.

On the topic of magic knickers, I think Gok Wan would have to be at the party. His is one of the few celebrity biographies I’ve read (ok listened to – it was an audio book) and despite his celebrity status and the fact that he seems to be everywhere sometimes, he seems very genuine, very down to earth and quite humble. I’d also ask him to take a look over my wardrobe and give me some fashion advice while he was there, as I definitely need it!

So that’s the first six …. who next? Number 7 would be Agatha Christie – my favourite crime writer. In fact, I think I’d try to speak to her in avance and see if she could arrange a good old murder mystery party.

I’d also invite Lynne Reid Banks, author of The L Shaped Room, which is my favourite book of all time. I heard her interviewed on the radio a while ago and I have so many questions I’d like to ask her. I think I’d quite like her to stay behind at the end so I had her all to myself for a while!

Neil Armstrong would be an interesting chap to invite to a dinner party. After all, not many people have seenearth from the moon …. I’d love to hear about his experiences of space and find out what he thinks about the moon landing conspiracy theories.

Number 10 would be a chap you probably won’t have heard of – Jerry Mills. Jerry is an educator, speaker and singer songwriter from America. I met him at the ADDISS conference and found him incredibly inspiring, and I was sad that I didn’t get the chance to speak to him in person. I’d love to just chat to him about life, the universe and how he has conquered his ADHD and hopefully he’d bring his guitar and give us a few songs too.

Victoria Wood would be a fantastic guest. She’d be able to tell some jokes, sing some songs (perhaps with Jerry!), get everyone laughing and then help with the clearing up afterwards over a G&T.

My final guest would be David Tennant. Yum. That’s all I need to say!

2008-02-04 15.43.36Food ….. definitely curry. And beer. Reckon everyone likes a good curry …. but if they dont, then they don’t deserve to be invited! It wouldn’t be a very elegant affair. I see us sitting round the table, making the meal last for hours, chatting and laughing and picking at a huge number of different dishes. And pulling crackers and wearing silly hats and letting off party poppers. And I wouldn’t do any of the cooking … I’d get in a massive takeaway from the local Indian restaurant!


The end of my first 101 things in 1001 days challenge


Today is my birthday and I've had some very grown up presents, including champagne, a teapot, perfume, a knitting kit, a basket of daffodils and … A radio controlled helicopter! Not so grown up after all :)

I've spent the afternoon completing number 39 on my list – make my own pasta. I found a simple recipe on the BBC website but it was perhaps too simple – it used only flour and egg and the dough was very stiff and dry and difficult to knead into a ball. Then it had to sit in the fridge for an hour.

I planned on making ravioli so tried caramelising some onions to mix with goats cheese for the filling … But I got distracted and burnt the first batch and had to start that again. So while that was sweating I started working on the pasta. I had to roll it down to about 1/4 inch before putting it through the machine.

It started off okay but as it got thinner it started running through the machine crookedly and tearing. After several attempts at making a band of pasta that would be wide enough to cut out circles for ravioli I gave up and made tagliatelle instead!

I boiled it for a few minutes and then mixed it with some pesto and the onions. There was enough for a very small bowl for each of us and it tasted really good! Not sure if I'll bother again though …. It was a lot of work. But at least I can say I have made my own pasta!

So that was the last thing I've managed to cross off my 101 things in 1001 days list, leaving the total at 51 things completed – more than half, woohoo! I've had great fun working through this list, with the highlights including driving a Formula Renault round the track at Thruxton, dong a firewalk, getting a tattoo and a very silly night on the absinthe. The next list is written and will go live tomorrow … When the whole challenge starts all over again!


First Christmas dinner of the year – Masterchef style


So today I had my first Christmas dinner of the year with Networking Women, a networking group I go to now and then. It was at a restaurant near Cirencester and the meal was very good and extremely filling – to the extent that its now gone 10pm and I'm still full! Anyway, I was amused to see that the restaurant has obviously been watching Masterchef for presentation tips. The dessert had lots of cranberry coulis decorating the plate and the starter – game terrine with toast and a chutney – had a distinctly Masterchef-esque “smear”. The plate looked very pretty and the terrine tasted lovely but it took me a while to work out what the smear was – chocolate spread!


First Oxfordshire Tweetup


I went to my first ever “tweetup” last night, at Fallowfields Hotel near Abingdon. And it was fun, even if I did end up spending most of my time talking to people I already knew!

There were around 40 Twitter people from all over the county and we were a fairly random mix of folk. Obviously there were the IT people, often (but not always) the first to take up a new internet craze, but there were also several photographers, a dentist, a (rather fabulous!) eco mum, some marketing guys, a gardener, my 15 year old daughter and lots of other people I didn’t get to meet.

We started the evening with some open networking. We’d all been given name stickers but the handwriting was rather small and difficult to read without a lot of peering at people’s chests, so I chatted with some people I know through 4Networking, looked out for people I knew through Twitter and wanted to meet, but didn’t do a very good job of circulating! Many of us then had dinner, it’s Pie Night at Fallowfieds on Monday so we sat down and waited (quite a while, unfortunately) for pies …. but they were well worth the weight, individual pies (pork, beef or vegetable) from Fallowfields’ own farm, with delicious creamy mash and veg.

I left at about 9pm having met some lovely people and developed friendships with people I already know. After all, that’s what Twitter is all about, isn’t it, relationships.

I hope there will be another Tweetup locally and perhaps I’ll be brave enough to make some new friends next time!

More from Sainsbury's Basics range


I did another shop at Sainsbury’s yesterday and bought a few more Basics items – and also remembered a few that I’ve used that I forgot to add yesterday:

Food and drink:

Cooking bacon – this comes in either huge chunks or misshapen slices but is excellent for using in cooking; I often put it in pasta sauces and it’s very tasty and not too fatty either.

Digestive biscuits – I really can’t taste any difference between these and more expensive types, they’re slightly smaller, but that means you can fit them in your coffee mug easier! I’ve also just used these as the base for a cheesecake, I used a couple more than the recipe to compensate for the size but they worked fine.

Mince – I’ve read a lot of negative comments about the Basics mince. it is a little fatty but so long as you drain the fat off once you’ve browned it, that’s not a problem, I’ve always found the meat itself to be tasty. My only criticism would be the size of packet – I prefer buying a full pound of mince rather than 400g and will buy the more expensive options if they’re on special offer or in the reduced section.


Mouthwash – I just bought some Basics mouthwash yesterday. it’s 50p for 500ml and tastes absolutely fine, slightly medicinal but fresh and clean, does the job properly and looks far less artificial as it is clear rather than bright blue or green!