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Five Things I can't Live Without


1        SUN VISOR

I was propelled to fame in the Eighties when I became the fitness expert for BBC’s Breakfast Time.

My trademark green leotard earned me the nickname the Green Goddess and I became synonymous with good health. Yet despite being very fit, at the age of 47 I discovered I had breast cancer which I overcame.

Then 14 years ago I was diagnosed with skin cancer and although I beat the illness it did make me think about how careless I had been. As a younger woman I was an ardent sun-worshipper and used to think nothing of lying in the sun with my entire body covered in olive oil.

Now, although I still love being outdoors, I always wear sun cream and over the years I have developed a collection of sun visors in almost every colour. If I can’t find one in a shade I like then I will get on the sewing machine and make one myself.

What I love about visors is that they are strangely stylish but also protect your eyes as well as your skin. A couple of years ago I completed a charity trek across China and I was very proud to be wearing my bright Breast Cancer Care visor.

2        SKETCHPAD

One of my greatest pleasures is painting and it is a passion that I indulge whenever I can. As a child it was my dream to become an artist and I was offered a place at the West of England College of Art. However my father thought painting was a rather precarious profession so I didn’t pursue it.

It was the right decision as, although I am talented, I think you have to be truly exceptional to really make it in the art world.

The fact that I have always painted as an amateur means it has never lost its appeal and it is still my favourite way to relax. I paint in oils and my strengths are still life and landscapes.

I go on a lot of charity trips abroad and work as a motivational speaker on cruise ships so I am fortunate to travel quite a lot. Wherever I go I make sure I take a sketchpad and some paint with me and recently I have painted both the Amazon and the Norwegian fjords. What I love best is painting for family and friends. I gave my teenage granddaughter Lucy a picture of her horse Ella which she loves and knowing how much it means to her has given me a great deal of pleasure.

3        FRUIT

I am one of those fortunate people who genuinely love to eat fruit and most days I will get through a giant bowl of blackberries, kiwis and bananas.

We all know fruit works wonders for the skin and the digestive system but I also believe it is the reason I have so much energy.


4        PHOTOS

I am an avid photographer and no matter where I am I am clicking away. Most of my treasured pictures are now backed up on my computer but I also have a chronological collection of older photos in the garage. Luckily I am an organised person so if one of the grandchildren suddenly asks to see a baby photo I can dig it out within minutes.


I still have the same Husqvarna sewing machine I was given as a present on my 21st birthday and it has never let me down.

When my children were little I used to make all their clothes which I enjoyed immensely. Now I still use it to make dazzling dresses for my alter-ego the Green Goddess, who has a wardrobe all of her own.


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