This is our guinea pig who is a rescue from The Mayhew Animal Home in north London. We have had many guinea pigs from The Mayhew over the years and they are a fabulous charity if you are looking for a rescue pet. Barnaby was found in a park in a shoe box… someone took him to The Mayhew and they called me to see if I would like to give him a new home! He lives in the kitchen as guinea pigs are pack animals and shouldn’t, ideally, live on their own. In our kitchen however he gets lots of company and we always leave the TV on for him when we go out! To find out more about The Mayhew visit them at www.themayhew.org
Just before Christmas I had a wonderful evening at The Mayhew’s ‘Tinsel & Tails’ event (I read out a poem and drank lots of lovely fizz!). My animal loving pal – TV presenter Anneka Svenska – was also enjoying the evening! It was great to catch up with her and we are doing some filming together this winter/spring – promoting animals that need rescuing, and championing the cause for animals that don’t want to be eaten!
My heart just melted the second I set eyes upon this baby spider monkey named Aurora. Anthea and I were in Cancun in Mexico on a shoot for Hello! Magazine and took the opportunity to visit The Jungle Place – a sanctuary for spider monkeys, mainly rescued from the illegal pet trade, poaching and habitat destruction. If you are out there on holiday please visit – the residents will be thrilled to see you, as will Heidi and Joel who run the charity.
To find out more and to make a much needed donation please visit www.thejungleplace.com
I have recently been in the Femail section of The Daily Mail, telling my story about clinical depression and the pills I take to help ease the problem! The online version of the feature is here below. Depression/mental illness is a health issue which needs as much coverage as possible – both to dispel myths and to raise awareness of this much misunderstood subject in general. I am truly grateful to the paper for giving me the opportunity to tell my story and to make other sufferers aware that they are not alone.
My good friend Mark plays in a band called You Little Thief, and very kindly sent me a CD and a t-shirt – both of which are brilliant! I had to master the art of the ‘Selfie’ to take this shot, which I found rather difficult with my large (and heavy, due to a bling cover!) Galaxy Note 4 phone! My arm didn’t seem long enough and my hands didn’t seem big enough. Anyway, after a few goes I snapped something half decent.
To find out more about the band You Little Thief go to:
www.youlittlethief.co.uk (website coming VERY soon)
Mum and Dad came to stay with us recently and we went to visit the Tower of London to see the poppies. It is of special interest to us as thousands of the poppies on display have been made in our home town of Stoke-on-Trent. The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red exhibition marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and if you get the chance the poppies are a spectacle well worth seeing. If you fancy buying one when the exhibition ends (which I do!) go to https://poppies.hrp.org.uk/buy-a-poppy/
When it comes to charitable causes my main focus is always animals – and I am Patron or Ambassador of a lot of animal charities! I do have ONE human charity I work for however and it is Refuge who work tirelessly to help women and children who are the victims of domestic violence. I am a survivor of domestic violence and suffered terribly at the hands of my first husband. I was mentally and physically abused for many years and I know from first-hand experience how domestic violence destroys lives. A much overlooked fact about DV is how many women commit suicide as a direct result of their partner’s abuse – 3 women a week take their own lives and some 30 women a day attempt suicide in a desperate big to escape the dire circumstances they find themselves in. A couple of years ago I presented a documentary to highlight this issue – telling the story of a lady called Gurda and her brother’s fight to get some justice for his beloved sister. You can watch the 30 minute film on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYZK4QBWceM
Find us on Facebook (click here), and please get involved if you would like to help us bring about new legislation which recognises a Liability for Suicide. My lovely friend Jo Brand is in the film… she is a huge supporter of Refuge. We both look rather serious in this picture together. But then again, it’s a rather serious subject!
Julie and I attended VIVA!’s 20th birthday party recently – a great evening of celebration which took place on a river boat on the Thames. I am a Patron of this amazing animal welfare and campaigning charity and Julie and I are pictured here with fellow Patron, Michael Mansfield QC. Here’s to the next 20 years guys! To find out more about VIVA! And the vital work they do check out www.viva.org.uk
I am pictured here with Oliver who I met at the BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection). He is an eleven month old puppy who was released to a BUAV investigator after the organisation carried out a seven month undercover investigation in 2013 at UK laboratory MSD Animal Health. I am delighted to be joining their call for a change in legislation which would allow dogs like Oliver to find a home and have a chance at life. He is a beautiful, healthy and vibrant dog and it is devastating to think that his mother and six other siblings were all killed. To find out more and support the BUAV campaign click on www.ourbestfriends.org
I was recently in my home town of Stoke-on-Trent to present an award at the Our Heroes event – run by the newspaper for the region, The Evening Sentinel. I am on the judging panel for the Awards and it’s always a tough job to pick out the winners from the many nominations.
I’m pictured here with mental health specialist Sarah Wilshaw who was a runner up in the Hero of the NHS category.
This is me with star of stage and screen Jonathan Wilkes. He is a fellow ‘Potter’ and in fact we met some 15 years ago in Brighton in Panto. He was playing the part of Aladdin, Gary was Abanazar and I was the Genie of the Ring. Having said that we were all upstaged by Mr Blobby who was the true star of the show!!