Well, I had a very early exit from Strictly. I am disappointed in myself because I honestly believed I would be better at it. But my overwhelming feeling is one of immense relief.
I have never suffered anxiety like that, to the point where a therapist had to come down on Saturday evening so I could go on stage. Her name is Jacqueline Hurst and she is a genius. Anyway, all done now. Met some amazing people, how good a dancer is Jake and what a top boy? As are Simon Webb, Thom Evans and Steve Backshall. I got on really well with all the lads and I miss the banter and the hugs.
One of the benefits of all that dance practice is the fitness. Dancing 3 to 4 hours a day is an amazing workout. No way would you ever be able to commit to that much exercise daily. In the few weeks I was involved, I actually lost a stone, yet my appetite was enormous. My girlfriend Anna is a great cook; one night after dance practice I ate 3 hamburgers. The night before I had 3 big portions of her chicken curry and I was still losing weight. Not so this week, the dance practice has finished and sadly I have already gained 3 lbs.
I attended a Spectacle Wearer of the Year Award event, all organised by Specsavers. It was fun evening apart from all the journalists constantly quizzing me over Strictly, MasterChef and Anna. Still, goes with the job I suppose. Shame really, because I am sure some of them are nice people but you just don’t dare have a chat with them.
I have been eating out a lot less and I have been cooking at home a lot more. I have decided to work my way through Marcella Hazan’s, The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. It’s been my favourite recipe book for years but I have decided to cook every recipe from it. Best dishes so far have been Minestrone thickened with rice and an outstanding sauce that includes bone marrow. More updates to follow.
I am hosting a function next week at the Mount Street Deli. I am doing it with my mate Tim Hughes who’s the Executive Chef of The Ivy Group. I have known this guy for so long, all the way back to my early greengrocer days before any of the telly started. Should be a great event and he has promised me dinner at Scotts after. Top boy.
Next week also sees me in my ambassadorial role for the Hambo Foundation charity event in the City. Love Hambo, such an inspirational character. Allows me to combine 3 of my favourite things, charity work, rugby chat and beer. See you there.
It’s my birthday next week and my family and I will be dining at my favourite restaurant, arguably one of the best restaurants ever – Michel Roux Jnr’s Le Gavroche. May have to call for an extra sauce boat of cream morel sauce. May even indulge in a pud, oh, and the odd glass.