Downing Street Divas or Brown's Business Babes?

The day started ordinarily enough - nip to supermarket for stuff we'd run out of before usual school run, via cash machine so I have some 'walking around money' that day, remember to take buns into daughter's class for cake stall in aid of Haiti, drop off daughter's bag with change of clothes to friends mum as she's off to her house after school today then back home to check emails and answer business queries whilst toddler son watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. But by the end of the day I was a Downing Street Diva!

I'd been invited by our country's Prime Minister to one of the most well known addresses in the world; 10 Downing Street, to celebrate the success of Britain's small businesses.

Since I found out I was one of the lucky few to make the guest list, my trip has elicited all kinds of response. I've been dared to nick an ashtray (by my dad who doesn't smoke), I've been told to take a loo roll by a business colleague (Don't ask! I think she thought it would be better taking a consumable rather than a piece of hardware!) Someone told me I should punch the PM and call him a rude name (not my style) and my 7 year old girl wanted me to ask Gordon Brown how old he is and tell her. She also wants me to bring back something with Big Ben on it or other London related souvenir!

So the big day arrived and I discovered mid morning that I'd put my knickers on inside out - so that was a good start! Once I'd dropped my son at his Grandma's, I was able to change into my new dress - an orange, pink and black swirly V neck number from Julien Macdonald at Designers at Debenhams, which I wore with my black knee high stiletto boots and this is what I tottered to the train station in. I soon had an epiphany as I realised that I had no chance negotiating the London Underground in sky high heels and that I needed some flats so I also took my leopard print ballet pumps. The plan was to wear these until I got to my first meeting then change into the proper footwear, but the meeting I'd arranged with an advertising business account manager when I got to London had no Reception area to facilitate a speedy, discreet change so I walked into a buzzing, trendy office wearing 2 conflicting patterns looking like a fashion car crash - my former stylish Tutors at the London College of Fashion would turn in their Louboutins at the thought!

After a cappucino at Carluccio's (try saying that after 2 glasses of wine!) I had to hot foot it across London to get to Westminster where I was expected. I've never got off at Westminster tube before so I was hoping to find a tourist nick-nack stall so I could get the kids a London souvenir but there was nothing so I took a picture of Big Ben instead!



The next part is good - I was pointed in the Direction of Downing Street and so I walked until I saw a queue of people waiting outside - like a nightclub! Yes, you have to queue outside the street to get in and then you have to go through a bag scan and airport style security with armed guards to get near. But I did make it to the 'famous door' - here is a picture of me and Claire Young (Businesswoman and finalist in TV's The Apprentice) shivering outside!



Once inside it was full on hob-nobbing! Sir Alan Sugar was the person I was most excited about seeing and when he decided to move from one end of the room to the other, I saw my chance to grab his hand a pump it enthusiastically whilst saying "Sir Alan, I am so pleased to meet you!" but he looked so unimpressed that I had to stop pumping and let him go!

I also got talking to the businessman brother of Simon Cowell, and he was awesome! Plus I met the guy who organised the Beckham's wedding which I thought was cool. Forget SATC's Mr Big - we had a 'Mr Cheese' there (guy who runs a high end Fromagerie in London W1 who was really nice) and I also knocked back a few Chardonnay's with some fierce business babes. (Claire & Lyndsey - you know who you are!) All in all, business cards got swopped, photographers got us papped, rooms got explored, wine got drunk and ideas flowed. I got back on my train buzzing with ideas and inspiration, writing pages of notes of things to do and follow up on. And as for the Prime Minister? He invited me to his lair then stood me up! He had some crisis to deal with so we got Peter Mandelson instead!



A day that started with my knickers on inside out was bound to be unusual!

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4 comments:

  1. Where do I start? With my envy of such a wonderful evening?
    No, allow me to be cool :)
    Well done you for being so 'goddamn with it' and relaying the info to little ol' me.
    Mari

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  2. Hey Mari
    Thank you! I'm so pleased to hear you think I'm 'with it'! I didn't feel so funky when I had my knickers on wrong! hehe

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  3. Hi Nadine,

    Cracking write up of our Downing Street night! Was really nice to meet you the other day.

    Hope to meet you again soon,

    Robin (Cakes by Robin) x

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  4. well done Nade!
    Fab & inspirational story.
    lots of love Lisa in Lanc's xxx

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