Monday, 3 August 2009

First Time

I did it! I finally got my first ever invite to dine at The Ivy!

On my quest to gather material for the book version of this blog, I landed myself the busiest Saturday in living memory. And I'm going to name drop shamelessly over the next few paragraphs, so brace yourselves and gird your loins...

Borough Market in the morning. Which was a challenge because I'm still on my detox diet. (It should be over by now, but it got interrupted by 5 days in the West Country with delicious pub food, irresistible puddings, and the odd Twister.) Determined to keep the weight off I've gone back to the beginning. This is week 2...) So the market consisted of me wondering around trying not to inhale the various cheeses, cookies, organic flap jacks and almond croissants on display. I also narrowly avoided killing the poor fellow manning the juicing stand: it was 9:45 and it said he wouldn't be ready for another 15 minutes...

Still, we managed to keep it all civilised. I resisted the German hot dog and the Turkish falafel and the chicken wraps (the chicken wasn't cooked yet) and slurped on my grass green kiwi/spirulina juice. I even managed to convince myself that it was nice and filling and contained all the energy I would need for my hour and half long dynamic yoga class...

Having survived yoga class, I went home for a quick lunch of green salad and a banana.

The plan was to then take an hour long nap before my casting workshop with BBC casting director Ben Cogan. But it took me ages to print out copies of my Spotlight CV (something to do with trying to cram 2 pages into 1) and so I ended up with a 20 minute cat nap which didn't really do the job.

Anyway, off I went to the workshop: starving and pretty tired. We had to do some scenes in pairs. We were first up and I felt really rusty and rather incompetent... I hadn't felt that way since drama school... Still, ego aside, I learnt a lot and Ben Cogan is a delightfully engaging man. (Please please cast me in one of the BBC series...)

After the workshop I headed home, narrowly avoiding purchasing a Classic Cornetto from the convenience store near Old Street tube. (And I do mean narrowly, I had my hand on the lid of the freezer...)

Once I got home, we had to get ready for an evening at the Theatre followed by said dinner at The Ivy.

"I'm thinking about wearing my mini-kilt from Edinburgh." (It's purple and pink and my trophy purchase at the end of my stay in Edinburgh last year.)

"I thought you'd be wearing your Thai trousers with the pin stripe."

Me - a tad defensive. "You don't think the kilt looks good?"

"It looks great, but the Thai trousers are more dressy."

So we headed off (me in my Thai trousers with the pin stripe, Repetto grey top and faux
purple snake skin Rock Chick jacket) in the pouring rain to the Soho Theatre to see "Dreams of Violence." It was fantastic! And all the more enjoyable because we sat in the second row, real close to the stage.

Then afterwards I got to meet Paula Wilcox, the star of the show as it happens that her husband was the one who'd invited us along to The Ivy for dinner.

Then we made our way The Ivy (the rain had stopped) and I got to meet the rest of the party.

The funny thing about The Ivy is that because it's a notorious hangout for celebrities, anytime someone walks in, all heads turn, scanning for a famous face. So we walked over to our table under the scrutinity of the other dinners. Very odd. I'm sure they recognised Paula.

Apparently, Sienna Miller was sitting across from us. Well, I completely blanked her because I wasn't wearing my specs and everything beyond our table was a blur. I hope she wasn't put off. (When I went to the loo, I think she might have been standing by the basins, but as I said, it was all a bit of a blur.)

We finished dinner around quarter past midnight. Before I forget, I had yellow tail sashimi and salmon fishcakes. I got to chat to our host, Paula's husband who is a very engaging American business man, as well as to a British captain of industry and his glamourous blonde American wife, and a romantic British lawyer and his partner, a quietly posh and very charming young artist who was wearing a fabulous dress; understated Boho chick, but classy. (I can't tell you what Sienna was wearing. Sorry about that.)

I don't know how else to describe it except it was a bit like being in a scene scripted by Julian Fellowes. I savoured every minute of it. It was a real treat. And I was aware of it being a treat as it was happening, rather than appreciating it only in hindsight (if you follow me).

Then we all said our goodbyes and headed home.

And that, as they say, was that. My first night at The Ivy.

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