I am a nice white middle class girl from a private school background. My parents were both doctors, my father is Jewish and mother is Quaker so we were not brought into any faith, never christened but were always taught to respect the beliefs of others, something I have always tried to do not least because being agnostic I might be wrong and I would like to think that I have lived my life well enough to be accepted into anyone’s heaven! I was born in Cambridge, lived in Manchester and Sheffield before my family settled in Bristol on my 10th birthday where they all remain.
I have always had a strong rebellious streak which over the years has sometimes caused me to take a course of action ‘just because’ or as a response to being told not to. This has caused me a lot of pain at times when I have made an ill-considered decision but also opened up doors and huge possibilities. When I was 17 I decided on a whim to hitch hike from my home in Bristol around Europe for 3 month, this led me into a few dangerous situations but taught me that I am strong, resilient and resourceful when I need to be and the bad experiences were totally outweighed by the amazing people I met who showed me nothing but kindness.
Retrospectively I am not sure if I have ever had a really hard life choice to make although in the moment I have often believed I have! Whilst a great believer in the maxim ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ I have to say that I have never really had an overarching life plan but have often jumped and found that the net does indeed appear.
My greatest challenge was dealing with the death of my brother when he was in his late twenties. I have tears in my eyes now as I write this despite the fact it was 30 years ago. Losing a loved one especially if it’s a premature death really shifts your values and perspective on life and makes you realise that tomorrow really is not a given so each day has to be seized with a passion.
There are many times in my life that have made me see things differently in fact I am constantly changing and evolving and trying to be a better version of me.
My children are my greatest pride. They have grown into strong, beautiful and compassionate women. My grand-daughter brings me joy I never could have imagined.
I believe we all have to give back, we cannot just take. It just doesn’t work! That is why I devote a lot of my time to working and raising money for charities. So I am also proud of the fact I climbed and reached the top of Kilimanjaro in 2015, I did this for charity with Eddie Nestor MBE, his wife and our fitness instructor Dave McQueen. We raised £40,000 for charity. We were invited to meet the Prime Minister at number 10 following our charity climb and I wore Gitas Portal to the reception. I wore a shocking pink wrap around dress, everyone else was dressed in greys, blacks and blues. I was so happy to stand out.
I also co-produced 11 shows at Hackney Empire over the years raising over £100,000 for a small impoverished town in Ghana. I am currently a very active trustee of the Rudolph Walker Foundation which aims to improve the lives and aspirations of young people through drama.
I am a loyal and regular customer of Gitas Portal. I first met Gitas Portal at Lambeth Country fair and like a magpie I was attracted by the colours. I tried on a dress and it could have been made for me. People passing the stall were complimenting the look.
It has been amazing watching Gitas Portal grow under the loving guidance of Mariatu and her lovely family. I am so happy to have found a brand that works for me and to be championing an inspirational and talented woman like Mariatu at the same time.
I often believe that the clothes were made for me, when I put them on they fit me perfectly. I have always loved bold bright colours and the way I dress is very important to me. My friend the comedian Slim calls me a ‘dress puss’. The designs are always fresh and modern and the fabric quality is excellent – no cheap Chinese counterfeit prints! I always feel fantastic when I dress in Gitas Portal and now walk with a clutch of Gitas Portal business cards when I do as guaranteed at least one person will approach me to ask where I got my dress/coat/top from.