Thursday, July 21, 2011

Carol Vorderman: I don't care if people criticise me for wearing the same dress all the time

By Nick Mcgrath

In a fascinating new series, celebrities reveal the things they couldn't live without. Former Countdown hostess and numerical genius Carol Vorderman has two children, Katie and Cameron, from her second marriage, to Patrick King. She lives in Bristol and is currently single.


I’m a strange shape because I go in a lot at the waist and out a lot on the bottom and for at least five years before this dress came out everything was about hipster jeans and crop tops, which didn’t suit my shape.

So when Roland Mouret’s Galaxy dress appeared it was like coming home for me.

Getting her money's worth: Carol has worn her favourite Roland Mouret Galaxy dress on numerous occasions including, from left, on her 50th birthday, at a book launch and for a TV appearance on Loose Women

I bought one in petrol blue and first wore it to a book launch party for Des Lynham, who had just taken over as Countdown host after Richard Whiteley’s death.

That was in 2005 and I still wear it today. And as a ‘pound per wear’ dress it’s unbeatable; I reckon I’ve got it down to about a fiver per wear now.

I still get people going ‘Can’t she wear anything else?’, but I don’t care, as I love it.


I miss Richard Whiteley for many reasons, including his relentless enthusiasm, his positive outlook on life and the sense of mischief we shared. But I also miss our long lunches. And when I say long lunch, we’re talking ten hours minimum.

It was our speciality. Richard was a big white wine drinker and I’m a big red wine drinker, so we’d always be arguing over which bottle to get first.

And the other great thing about long lunches is that, unlike big nights out, you don’t end up going to bed at 4am and mess up your sleep pattern for two days.


My stepfather was Italian and I spent a lot of time there in my teenage years, particularly around the Reggio Nell’Emillia region in the north, and I’ve loved the country ever since.

The lakes are beautiful, but my favourite is Lake Garda. I’ve stayed several times at the absolutely stunning Villa Feltrinelli — it’s right on the water, and you can explore on wonderful put-put boats.

It’s also within easy travelling distance of Verona, where I’ve ticked off another of those must-do-before-you-die experiences; a night at the open-air opera in the ancient auditorium with the most stunning acoustics and dramatic atmosphere. It really is truly sensational.


I spend hours watching Nasa, both on TV and online at I’m astonished at how little coverage the BBC gave the last space shuttle going up.

The last docking of the space station on Sunday afternoon was awesome to watch, but no one talked about it until it had happened. What’s the point of that?

It’s appalling the way it’s ignored and I get very cross about it. I’m on Twitter and whenever I tweet that the International Space Station is going overhead, I get thousands and thousands of my followers nipping outside in their pyjamas to watch the ISS go over. And yet, it’s never been introduced to them by the BBC, which I think is one of the roles of a public service broadcaster.

They should be informing the next generation about rocket scientists and engineers, rather than filling the airwaves with reality TV.

Disappointing coverage: Carol thinks the BBC should show more of the last shuttle mission


I’ve always been obsessed with maths and it’s my main passion in life. I care desperately about maths and the way it’s taught — I’ve always had a connection to numbers and about passing that on to the next generation.

I’m not a professor of mathematics —and I don’t claim to be — but my biggest thrill is when I get emails from children or from their parents who’ve enrolled on my summer maths courses saying that after going through my tutorials, they suddenly ‘get it’.

I love knowing that I’ve opened up a whole world of opportunity for that child — because it’s not just another subject, it’s critically important.


If I ate as much pasta as I wanted to I’d be the size of a double-decker bus. I can’t get enough of the stuff — if there’s decent quality pasta on a restaurant menu I’d have it for starter, main course and dessert. I’m like a woman obsessed.

To avoid my addiction, I try to ignore the fact that it’s even in existence. I’m sure it stems from my youth and my Italian stepfather — whenever we spent time there he’d cook up some wonderful pasta dish or other.

I’m good at pasta when I make the effort, but most of the time I can’t be bothered and, for the past ten years, I’ve gone on strike in the kitchen.

Food and drink choices: Carol loves pasta and red wine


I’ve got shelves of cookery books, but apart from my own detox diet book and some Jamie Oliver ones, the rest are untouched and, to be honest, my best days in the kitchen are behind me.

I used to bake a lot, but life moves on. I’m a single parent, I’m running a business, I’ve got a career and I’m also looking after my 83-year-old mother — trying to do everything isn’t easy. So, thank God for this great shop in Bristol called Cook.

They do fantastic homemade dishes — what’s the point in me slaving over the cooker for an hour when I can just bung one of those in the oven and it will taste a lot nicer than anything I could ever dream of creating?

I am very good at salads, though, which admittedly aren’t that tricky.


Some women can talk all day about perfume, make-up and the latest hair accessories, but I’ve always been more of a boy and I’d rather talk about engines.

I love anything to do with engines. I go to air shows and technical museums — that, and not dresses, makes me go ‘whoop whoop’.

I read engineering at university and I find all those things interesting. I love it.

Fashion and beauty just don’t really hold my interest — as you get older, you realise time is running out so you spend time on the things you really enjoy.


I love to look at water and see light reflecting on it. My favourite place on the planet to experience that is on the west coast of Ireland.

We used to have a house there in West Cork, overlooking a place called Union Hall, right by the harbour, and the views are breathtaking.

We sold the property about five or six years ago, but I used to spend hours just sitting on the steps that led into the water, gazing at the expanse of dark, clear water and looking up at the pitch black skies with no light pollution. It’s such a dramatic place.


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