12 Things You Really Don’t Want to Hear at a Dinner Party

1. “I could have sworn I had 10 fingers this morning. ‘Sausage Surprise’ anyone?” 

Oh drat. I’m all full-up from the Bloody Mary soup.

2. “You need to bite off the wichetty grub’s head first. Then you just suck out its insides”.

When you say “need” – is participation mandatory? 

3. “I might have mistaken washing powder for sugar. You may wish to give the trifle a miss”.

I think I’ll brave it. I’ve been looking for brilliant cleaning and long-lasting freshness for some time.

4. “Of course it’s vegetarian. Chicken is vegetarian, right?”

Don’t be an idiot. Fish however is fine.

5. “I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I appear to have misplaced my pet caterpillar Dilbert. Who’s for side-salad?”

That’s terrible. What kind of name is Dilbert? 

6. “You’ll be fine, so long as you eat around the highly poisonous parts of your long-spine porcupinefish”. I’m experiencing shooting pains down both sides and have just gone blind in one eye. Is that a bad sign?

7. “Is this how they cook food where you’re from?”

I spat in your starter.

8. “I’m a fruitarian. I only eat what naturally falls from the tree. Steak and marshmallows grow on trees, right? ”

Do me a favour – pass me your steak and let me beat you with it.

9. “I hope you don’t mind, but I couldn’t find a babysitter – so I brought along Candice, Chardonnay, Tia-Maria, Rocky and Tyson”.

Curious names. Are you familiar with the term ‘child abuse’?

10. “Is this triple chocolate caramel fudge cheesecake non-dairy and non-fat?”

Oh absolutely. Haven’t you heard? All food eaten on a Thursday is fat and dairy-free.

11. “Party games? I know LOTS of party games! Let’s start by throwing our keys into a bowl…”

Let’s start by showing you the door.

12. “Just updating Facebook. Does nauseating have one ‘S’ or two?”

Allow me to demonstrate by a show of fingers.

Salt Lowers Blood Sugar and Other Utterly Preposterous Things to Say

I have a confession. I secretly love it when other people say really dumb things. Does that make me a bad person?  Quite possibly, but I can live with that.

Here are a few of my favourites. All genuine:

“I don’t believe in God. I’m an amethyst”.

“You’re going on holiday? Anywhere nice?” No, self catering in Afghanistan. In a cave. Alone. Or I might circumnavigate the Falkland Islands in a submarine.

“It’s raining. That horrible rain that gets you really wet”.  As opposed to…?

“What’s the number for 999?” We’re in an emergency situation. I don’t have time for your stupidity.

“I really fancy the black guy from JLS”. You’re going to have to narrow it down a bit more.

“You are driving erotically. Pull over!” I shall take that as a compliment.

[To a diabetic friend whose blood glucose was a little high] “Do you want me to get you some Ready Salted crisps? Salt lowers blood sugar”. They’re not acid and alkaline – salt doesn’t cancel out sugar. Who taught you Chemistry?

“Can you see out of your glass eye?” Who said that?

“The exception proves the rule”. Does it? Does it?

“How many sides does a triangle have?” I no longer wish to be associated with you.

“I could care less”. You could? Excellent.

[Having purchased one item at the supermarket, the checkout assistant asks] “Would you like help with your packing?” No, I think I can just about manage a loaf of bread singlehandedly, thank you.

“I recognise your voice from your email”.

“Tell me everything. Be pacific”. I’m not great at this role-play thing, so you’re going to have to help me. How exactly do I become an ocean? 

“My eyesight has been playing up, and I keep getting headaches, so I’m having a rectal scan tomorrow”. You need to change your doctor.

[Upon hearing Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ for the first time] “Has someone covered Hearsay?” 

“Well, me, myself, personally…” How many of you are there?

“Absolutely. 110%”. So Maths – not your strong point? 

[In the boardroom] “We don’t have to boil the ocean”. Always reassuring to know. Now back to work…

“I may not know a lot about politics, but I do know that James Cameron is not the right Prime Minister to lead us out of recession”. Very true. Despite a strong Directing career, his political credentials are somewhat lacking. Shall we see how David Cameron fares instead?

“Silence when you’re talking to me”.

Sometimes there are no words.

Dearest Spammer, What Can I Say?

Dearest Spammer,

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the mass-produced unsolicited marketing material you so thoughtfully sent to me and half a million others today.

And yesterday.

And every day for the last six and half years.

So good of you to think of me for your latest herbal supplement weight-loss campaign. You shouldn’t have. I feel that I owe you something in return; so please consider this letter my gift to you. No need to thank me…

There were several reasons I needed to decline your generous offer to test drive a Honda:

  1. I heard about the recent product recall over dodgy airbags and did not wish to risk breaking my face.
  2. As a jobless hobo I am currently unable to afford a paper aeroplane, let alone a shiny new car.
  3. They don’t make them in purple.
  4. I cannot drive.

How considerate of you to address the emotive topic of death whilst trying to sell me life insurance via email. Most people just can’t find the right words, but you nailed it.

Thank you so much for drawing my attention on 5th April to the imminent festive season. Season’s Greetings to you too!

I have decided to spend every penny of my one thousand pounds on Christmas decorations to adorn the roof of my home. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, after all.

Moving on – thank you so much for the MBNA reminder. I would have happily provided all of my personal banking information, including sort code, account number and Pin, if it wasn’t for the fact I don’t have an MBNA account.

So I input my husband’s details instead.

Despite having no need whatsoever for Viagra tablets, your ‘professional packaging’ intrigues me. I’ll take seven batches.

While we’re on the topic, I also have no requirement for a cure to male pattern baldness, nor do I need to enhance my ‘member’.

Feel free to send me free chocolate though, to accompany the herbal weight-loss supplements.

Yours,

Jessseeker

Face to Faux with Simon Cowell

When meeting The Queen of England, one must abide by certain royal etiquette:

  1. Approach her face-on.
  2. Do not speak, unless spoken to.
  3. No touching.
  4. Try to mask the giant bolognaise stain you have on your blouse.
  5. Do not ask her to sign your cleavage; she doesn’t have a pen.

I was unsure of the correct etiquette for approaching television royalty Simon Cowell recently, when I faux-interviewed him. But I felt that a curtsy was in order:

Jessseeker: Your highness. I’m Jessseeker. It is great to meet you at last.

SC: Seriously though – what’s your real name?

Jessseeker: Jessseeker.

SC: No, really – what’s your real name?

Jessseeker: Jessseeker is my real name.

SC: Well, I’m not going to call you Jessseeker, because I think that’s a stupid name. I’m going to call you Paula Abdul instead.

Jessseeker: Moving on – you were recently confronted by a female intruder armed with a brick, in your London mansion. That must have been terrifying?

SC: It was. I told her “Take anything you want, just don’t hit the face”.

Jessseeker: So with hindsight, do you regret not hiring Kevin Costner as your Bodyguard?

SC: Along with high waisted trousers and dating Sinitta, that is one of my biggest regrets.

Jessseeker: Good to know you are so grounded in spite of your fame and fortune. I can see you look after yourself. You’re obviously in great shape.

SC: Tell me something I don’t know.

Jessseeker: Is it true you do two hundred press-ups a day?

SC: Five hundred. Sack your researcher.

Jessseeker: You’ve been accused of being rude, arrogant and insensitive to contestants. Do you think it is fair to be so critical of others when you’re not exactly perfect yourself?

SC: One million percent yes.

Jessseeker:  Final question. You said in the past that every show you have produced is something you would want to watch yourself. Can you explain Jedward to me please?

SC: Well Paula, let’s face it; they weren’t the act we were looking for. But the truth is – I don’t take myself too seriously and I don’t consider myself a star. Now where is that water I ordered? I wanted Evian, not Vittel. I said ‘tepid’; this is ‘lukewarm’ and I’m still waiting for my peeled grapes!

Incidentally – he offered to sign my cleavage, but I graciously declined. 

I Just Found a Chicken Bone in My Cheesecake… Is that Bad?

Having founded his own internet solutions company, run the New York marathon and purchased his first sports car, my brother Oliver decided recently that 2012 would be the year he finally learnt to boil an egg. Cooking has never been a priority to him, with culinary talents at the age of thirty-something on par with my neighbour’s cat.

So to address this glaring oversight, Oli set himself a challenge to cook a different meal every day for thirty days, in the hope he would magically metamorphose into a slim, follicly-challenged Jamie Oliver. Once a week, he held a ‘Come Dine with Me’ style dinner party where each guest rated his cooking and general hosting skills.

I was fortunate enough to be invited along with my mother and youngest brother Mike for Sunday lunch at the end of this process, once Oli had mastered the basics.

Oli's attempt at a pancake didn't exactly fill me with confidence

There was still a moderate risk of food poisoning, but having taken advantage our mother’s cooking for over thirty years, we were all in agreement that it was about time Oli returned the favour. I should have noticed the warning signs though:

1. The roast chicken was the size of an albatross and had only been cooking for an hour and twenty-five minutes.

2. The carrots made a bid for freedom by jumping off the kitchen worktop.

3. Oli referred to his colander as coriander.

But the food was surprisingly yummy. Had it not been for the fact the chef needed to nuke the undercooked albatross in the microwave three times after it first came out of the oven, we may have eaten within an hour and a half of schedule.

Dessert was also delightful – a fabulous boozy cheesecake, laced with glacé cherries. The biscuity base was quite crumbly though, due to Oli neglecting to purchase butter at the supermarket. Praying alone was insufficient to bind the biscuit crumbs together. Mike however loved it. I think… 

Oli took the liberty of documenting the event for prosperity. See if you can notice the subliminal jessseeker plug. It’s really quite subtle:

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that the camera adds ten pounds – and there were at least six cameras on me at the time.

And The Bride Wore Monkey

I finally learnt all of the words to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1993. This would have been the highlight of my year – had it not been for a crazy girl named Carrie asking me to be her friend. We hit it off immediately and during our years together at secondary school, developed a mutual understanding:

1. The back of the class was always the best place to hide.

2. Boys liked girls in short skirts, but thick black tights were imperative. (We were classy young ladies after all).

3. Carrie would pick me for her team in PE every week, so long as I pretended not to notice when she fell backwards off her chair in Maths class (for the third time that day).

Nineteen years on and now a fully fledged teacher – Carrie spends far more time at the front of the class than the back. She continues to fall backwards off chairs on an almost daily basis, but in line with the school dress code, her skirts are much longer than they used to be.

It was only ever a matter of time before a man fell head over heels in love with her. Having spent years fashioning faux veils out of toilet tissue, next month Carrie finally gets to wear the real thing, when she marries the love of her life James.

To mark her forthcoming nuptials, this weekend, I joined nineteen of Carrie’s closest friends for a nice quiet, tasteful and sophisticated hen do celebration, complete with willy straws, a large inflatable banana and a phallic shaped cake.

As a bit of a getting to know each other exercise, the party was split into two teams, each given ten minutes to make a demure wedding gown fit for a Queen. I know ten minutes doesn’t sound like very long, but there was no need to panic as we had all the materials we could possibly need: Half a dozen rolls of toilet paper, some white bin liners, masking tape and fifteen metres of tin foil. Having made a valiant contribution to this task, by crafting a crown and several long stemmed roses from foil, I am now considering a new career in costume design. I’m sure you’ll agree, they both look ravishing:

The only information the bride-to-be knew in advance of the hen do, was when it was taking place. Everything else was clouded in mystery. As a result, understandably it took several weeks for Carrie to organise suitable attire for the occasion. With hindsight, she need not have bothered – as an outfit had already been picked out on her behalf. One that she would wear throughout, whether she liked it or not. Yes, that’s right, the bride wore Monkey: 

Having downed several Strawberry Daiquiris and French Martinis, we played a game of Mr and Mrs, where Carrie tried (and failed) to convince us she dated James for two whole months before they first kissed and then went on to justify why she once put her hands down the pants of a complete stranger. 

At around two o’clock in the morning on the first night, Carrie leapt into her bed, without realising it was two twins shoved together – rather than a double. It takes style to wedge yourself between two beds. Style, poise, elegance and several strong cocktails. 

The weekend was surprisingly educational. We all learnt how to screw in light bulbs and throw chicken feed the following morning during Bollywood dancing lessons. 

I think we all aspired to choreograph a visual spectacle comparable to Slumdog Millionaire’s Jai Ho fame, but sadly, I let the team down. This photo sums it up pretty well. Yes, that’s right; I’m the one in the middle, getting it all wrong. 

Had it not been for the fact that I am unable to follow simple instructions, have no rhythm and can’t tell left from right, then I’m pretty sure we’d have had it in the bag.

We went for a group photo shoot in the evening – during which, Carrie was allowed a brief hiatus from the monkey suit. We’re kind like that. Then, adorned with tiaras, hen party badges and glow bracelets, we went into town for drinks. Whilst there, we bumped into some gents who looked strangely familiar – the entire cast of Super Mario: 

No, we have absolutely no idea what Batman was doing with them either. He obviously didn’t get the memo.

We went on to a brilliant comedy club, where one comedian performed an impromptu Haka and another made some very naughty jokes about willies and nookie. Loved every minute.

The club laid on a DJ in the evening and we all busted some moves to classic tunes with funky beats until the early hours of the morning, courtesy of Aerosmith, The Killers, 5ive, Steps, S-Club 7 and (believe it or not) the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. My funky chicken was of particular note.

We also bumped into our new friends Mario and Luigi et al. They nicked Carrie’s inflatable banana, so we took their mushroom. I don’t think anyone noticed; we were very discreet.

Several hours later, once most of the group had lost all feeling in their toes – we called it a night.  Everyone woke on Sunday morning feeling like they’d licked a cat. A thoroughly encouraging sign methinks that good fun was had by all.

To This Day, I Have No idea What We Were Thinking

I first committed fraud at the tender age of eleven, obtaining property by deception. The item in question: one child’s lucky bag.

Just to clarify – I did not steal the lucky bag; I merely purchased it under false pretences. That doesn’t however make this story any less embarrassing. Allow me to explain:

Lucky bags generally contain a mixture of vile tasting sweets, a miniature colouring book, one defective toy (usually a whistle or yoyo) and an extensive palette of three (yes, three) crayons.

At four years old, this would have kept me occupied for at least three days. I’d use the crayons for the Wassily Kandinsky homage on my bedroom wall, and then eat them for lunch. If there were any remnants left over – I usually stored them in my left nostril for later use. Beyond the age of eight however – lucky bags lost their appeal and suddenly seemed extremely lame.

At eleven years old, my best friend and I decided to be VERY cool and rebellious by purchasing candy cigarettes and pretending to smoke them in the park. The trouble was, we both also had a hankering for lucky bags that day – which quite frankly, at eleven, was social suicide. 

We took our chosen items to the counter and to avoid embarrassment, made a point of telling the cashier very loudly that the lucky bags were for our younger sisters and most definitely not for us, because we were like waaay too old for them. (I don”t even have a sister). Much to our surprise and delight – she didn’t bat an eye lid. It dawns on me now that this was because:

  1. We both looked seven years old.
  2. She did not care.

We paid for our items, and swiftly fled the scene of our crime. To this day, I have no idea what we were thinking. I certainly had no need for a broken whistle.

I’m sorry to say that was only the start of my life of crime. At sixteen years old, I managed to acquire a fake ID. I was utterly convinced that I could pass myself off as a thirty-two year old beautiful Latino woman called Carmelita Chiquita Estevez.

Apparently not.

I am a Genius (Einstein Said So)

After several failed attempts, involving one giant paper aeroplane, thirty-six helium balloons, a home-made tea towel cape and a regrettable leap of faith from my best friend’s swing set, it became apparent to me at a young age that I was not meant to fly.

Over the last twenty-nine years, I have also realised:

1. My tree climbing talents are pretty much on par with that of a goldfish, and as such I am unlikely to ever become an Olympic Gymnast.

2. Despite my love of snow, snowballs, snow angels and snowmen, I once got so cold and wet playing in the white stuff that I cried for three hours and wished my fingers would fall off. The Polar Expedition I had planned with my brothers, Rainbow Brite and Kermit the Frog was swiftly called off.

3. Someone put salt in the sea and it doesn’t taste very nice. As such, there is simply no way I will be able to swim the Atlantic, solo, coated in goose fat – as hoped. Devastated.

4. I was conned. My invisibility dust turned out to be run-of-the-mill glitter. I not only failed to steal the cookie jar unnoticed, but left a sparkly path in my wake. Cat burglar I am not.

5. Despite fine-tuning a professional pout; my total inability to give up chicken wings is probably to blame for the downfall of my modelling career. (When I say “the downfall of”, I mean “my totally nonexistent”). Nando’s have a lot to answer for.

After so many setbacks, failures, fractures and disappointments in my life – I’d probably be justified in thinking that I belong on the scrapheap, along with cassette tapes, floppy disks, Charlie Sheen and Justin Bieber. But, no. Occasionally (and I mean very occasionally) I have a moment of brilliance, which compensates for the fact I cannot fly:

After four fabulous and thoroughly loved-up years together, in the summer of 2009, Tony finally did the decent thing and got down on one knee at a local beauty spot and asked me to marry him. I squealed a little, cried a lot, leapt on him with delight, eventually remembered to say “yes” and then proceeded to fall down a rabbit hole. Needless to say – I was overjoyed. Within a week of our engagement I began to think of ideas for a suitably outstanding wedding gift for him. I mean EPIC. (Cufflinks were not an option).

Aside from me and rib-eye steak, one of the greatest loves of Tony’s life is Premiership football team Manchester United. So over the next two years I secretly sent 165 letters to 142 Manchester United players (past and present) in over half a dozen countries and many of them wrote back. I managed to collate over sixty-five autographs and best wishes on personalised Wedding Day greetings cards from some epic legends – including Ryan Giggs, Peter Schmeichel, Bobby Charlton, Denis Law, Bill Foulkes, Nobby Stiles, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. I compiled them in an album for him to open on the morning of our wedding day. He says he didn’t cry when he saw it, but I like to think he did. 

Post Honeymoon, Tony took said album into the office with him. I received this email from a senior work colleague that afternoon. It made me smile: 

I’m with Einstein on this; everybody is a genius. You just have to unlock the potential from within – and realise that thirty-six helium balloons will be insufficient to power your flight to the moon. Several hundred on the other hand…

10 Things Children Know (and Grown Ups have Forgotten)

Childhood can be so stressful. Mine was no exception:

I got a splinter the size of a llama in my left pinky.

My brother Chris drew freckles on my hobby horse in indelible ink.

I once forgot to wear cycling shorts under my summer dress at school, so when practising handstands – inadvertently flashed my knickers at all the boys.

My Tracy Island looked nothing like the one they made earlier on Blue Peter.

A giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man romped through New York City and I thought we were all going to die (so hid behind the sofa).

My parents banned me from:

  1. Riding a motorcycle.
  2. Having a pet tiger.
  3. Getting a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tattoo.
  4. Helping myself to any more of the grown-ups’ fruit punch.
  5. Microwaving any of my brothers’ toy soldiers (again). Especially the metal ones.

Okay, with hindsight – not having Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello permanently imprinted on my back may have been a good move – but I still want a pet tiger.

Children are a lot more intelligent than we give them credit for. I decided at 7 years old that I never wanted to be self-employed like my father, as he worked roughly 87 hours a week and we rarely got any quality time with him. I stand by this decision. Here are my top 10 equally insightful things that children know and adults have forgotten:

1. ANYTHING TASTES BETTER WHEN COATED WITH BREADCRUMBS AND SHAPED LIKE A DINOSAUR.

2. NOTHING HEALS A GRAZED KNEE FASTER THAN A REALLY AWESOME PLASTER…EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T ACTUALLY NEED ONE.

3. FOR A HANDY SNACK ON THE MOVE – INSPECT THE CONTENTS OF YOUR NOSE.

4. MONSTERS LIVE IN CUPBOARDS, UNDER BEDS AND BENEATH THE STAIRS.

5. ALL BODILY FUNCTIONS, WITHOUT EXCEPTION ARE HILARIOUS.

6. SANTA IS OMNISCIENT AND OMNIPOTENT. BE AFRAID.

7. SNOW IS ALWAYS A GOOD THING.

8. PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES ROCK.

9. YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO BUY WITH THE 37 PENCE AND 2 CHOCOLATE BUTTONS IN YOUR PIGGY BANK: A PONY.

10. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. JUST BELIEVE. (PLEASE SEE POINT 9). 

Oh to be ickle again…

THE WORLD IS YOUR LOBSTER

  • Jumping in muddy puddles will keep you entertained for precisely 4 hours and 27 minutes. Half the time it takes to get you clean again.
  • If you ask your mother “Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?…Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?…Why? Why?…Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?…Why?” constantly for 8 hours, her head will actually explode.
  • It may look like a drum stick to all the boring grown-up people, but to you it is a magical wand and you are not afraid to use it.
  • Fatigue is not an issue. You can always have a power nap in the dog basket.

YOU HAVE AN EXPLANATION FOR EVERYTHING­­­

  • “Daddy told me it was okay”.

IF IT DOESN’T HAVE A CHILD SAFETY LOCK ON IT, THEN IT’S YOURS

  • Left unattended for 2 minutes, any infant can eat half a pot of Sudocrem.
  • You can lovingly varnish your grandfather’s antique cabinet. Just don’t expect a ‘thank you’.
  • You look particularly fetching with your mother’s make-up all over your face. Very Eddie Izzard.
  • Toast really doesn’t fit in the DVD player. You’ve tested this theory, several times.

GROWN-UPS REMIND YOU HOW WONDERFUL YOU ARE AT LEAST 32 TIMES A DAY

  • Rapturous applause awaits you every time you count to 10 / clear your plate / pee in a toilet and not the waste paper basket.
  • Parents know nothing, but don’t worry – you can teach them the lyrics: “Twinkle twinkle chocolate bar, my best friend’s a racing car…”

NOTHING SCARES YOU

  • You get to dance with all the hotties.
  • You can drive without due care and attention and still not face a lawsuit when you hit a tree / cow / Lollypop Lady.
  • If you want to wear sunglasses with teddies on them, to match your teddy bear t-shirt, then you can and you will. You trend setter you.

YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW FUNNY YOU REALLY ARE

  • When asked if you have ants in your pants – you need to consult the contents of your underwear to verify.

Having given the matter much thought, I have concluded that I would be willing to be a kid again.

Now who stole my Magna Doodle? I want it back.