Claudia Winkleman: Take It From Me

'Talking about the day's "powder" while dunking stale bread into wet cheese makes me want to boil my own head'
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The Independent Online

For her birthday this year, Heather Mills McCartney decided to celebrate with some tofu burgers and a skiing trip to Slovenia. There are so many things wrong with that, I scarcely know where to begin.

Who actually enjoys skiing? Come on, even Olympic ski masters, even James Bond, think that dressing up in all that fluorescent, insulated kit and having to manoeuvre down a mountain in the freezing cold is no way to spend leisure time.

Have you ever seen a pair of salopettes? Jemima Khan, who usually looks good (although she has, if this is possible, slightly too much hair) fails to light up the slopes in her enormous shades and thick, cropped goose-down jacket. Yes, I like a bar of Lindt but not enough to give a travel agent a couple of grand and fly to a mountain top.

People who opt for Courchevel or Verbier always talk about the joy of the après ski. "God, it's great fun. Bertie makes a rabbit stew and we all play hide-and-seek in the chalet", or "You've never lived until you've sat in a circle and shared fondue with friends after a good day on the piste." Well, I beg to differ.

I am alive and I absolutely hate rabbit, I haven't played hide-and-seek since I was six and the idea of dunking stale bread into a bit of hot, wet emmenthal while talking about the day's "powder" makes me want to boil my own head.

As for the actual exercise, do me a favour? Throwing yourself headfirst down an icy hill and then squeezing your thermals-encased arse on to a freezing chairlift just so you can do it all over again is 100 per cent lunacy. Two words: "hamster" and "wheel".

And now it's time to talk about the snacks at Heather's party. Sure, I know she's had a tough year - her husband has chucked her out of his house and a few more foxes are getting run over - but there's never any excuse for Quorn.

The hotel in Slovenia has admitted that Ms Mills took along her own selection of vegan "delicacies" which she asked the chef to prepare for her and her 40 friends. What would those tasty treats be exactly? A bit of faux chicken, a bit of lookalike cheese and an old bag of unsalted almonds? No wonder the girl looks so thin - the stuff she eats is hideous. I too would pass on seconds if the main attraction was textured vegetable protein spread on toast.

Imagine you're Heather's friend (you've got to stick with her to prove you didn't like her just because she was married to a multimillionaire who wrote "Hey Jude") and have been invited to her birthday party. You go to Accessorize to buy a jaunty pair of earrings and matching clutch bag only to be told that you're actually flying to the Balkans. It's minus 9C and you don't even get a hotdog at the end of it.

"Hello, everyone, and thanks for coming. Please help yourself to the buffet. We've got some pretend meat and an amusingly-shaped tuber ensemble."

I don't understand Heather at all. She doesn't seem my kind of girl when I study reports of her weekend break, but then I read on. It seems Heather has found some solace and comfort in the arms of an ex-boyfriend.

He is called Mollusc (or something similar) and he is a ski instructor. He arrived at the resort on Saturday night and they immediately hugged and caressed, according to one of the nut roast-munching friends.

Now this is a clever move, she suddenly doesn't seem so daft after all.

When you're down and have just split up from your partner everyone says you have to move forward. "Get on with your life", "It's time to meet someone new", and "Don't think about the past"' are phrases you'll hear for at least six months after the horrible event.

Au contraire. If you want to do anything to make it all right again, then my advice is, whatever you do, go backwards. Find any ex-boyfriend who still has his own teeth. Find anyone who once thought you were funny, good in bed or just so-so at making macaroni.

Sure, it didn't work for a reason and I'm not saying this is forever. But you need someone who liked you before, who knows you have a brother and a sister, that you're allergic to Dire Straits, and understands that the Butterkist advert at the cinema always makes you jump out of your seat and buy two bags. This person knows the shorthand and, basically, everything has been tested and it already fits. Mollusc is just what Heather needs right now.

She can do without the Damart rollnecks and the ridiculous sporting activity; she can probably live without another aubergine "burger" but an ex-lover - a man who understands her - is exactly the thing to make her feel better. Well, that or a couple of hundred million quid of Beatles money, but you get my drift.

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