Domestic goddess Nigella Lawson has a confession to make.
The cook says that when she worked as a chambermaid she was always trying on guests’ dresses and scents.
Lawson, now 61, got a job in Florence as she planned to study languages at Oxford University.
‘I thought I’d like to do German and Italian, so I pretended at the interview that I was going to go to school in Italy, but I didn’t,’ she says.
‘I turned up with a school friend and we had a job share in a pensione.
Chef Nigella Lawson, pictured above posing for a portrait shoot in London, says she was always trying on guests’ dresses and scents when working as a chambermaid in Italy
An aerial view of All Souls College, Oxford University, where the TV chef planned to study languages
A view over the Italian city of Florence, where Ms Lawson worked as a chambermaid
‘All I would say is, if anyone ever stays in a hotel and wonders whether people try on your clothes and put your scent on, yes we do.’
Bankrupt Boris gets his Boom Boom back
Boris Becker shocked the world by winning the first of his three Wimbledon singles trophies as an unseeded 17-year-old in 1985.
And the former tennis star is still springing surprises at the age of 54.
I can reveal that Becker, who was declared bankrupt in 2017, could be about to make the most unlikely comeback of all.
His company, BB Private Office, has finally started making money again to help clear his debts, returning a £461,000 pre-tax profit for the year to March. This compares with a £136,000 loss the previous year.
His funds could be boosted even further thanks to a television show about his colourful life that is in the works, as I revealed in my column earlier this year.
Although Becker was made hugely wealthy after becoming the youngest Wimbledon men’s singles champion, he blew through tens of millions of pounds and has since had his life restricted as he pays off his debts.
Lilian de Carvalho and Boris Becker pictured attending the Golden Vines Awards dinner, benefitting the Gerard Basset Foundation at Annabel’s on October 7, 2021, in London
The German BBC commentator is required to reside at his £5 million Battersea penthouse, and inform the Insolvency Service before travelling abroad.
He was also forced to auction off his prized trophies and memorabilia, which raised a total of £680,000.
However, despite this, he seems to be in high spirits, and was pictured cavorting this week with his glamorous younger girlfriend, Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro, on a beach in Dubai.
Becker’s private company was set up in 2012 and has been controlled by Mark Ford, one of his trustees in bankruptcy, since October 2017.
After rancorous divorces, bankruptcy and a child conceived with a Russian waitress on the stairs of a Mayfair restaurant, it seems that Boris Becker’s personal affairs are finally starting to settle down.
Harry Potter actors, who owe their success to J. K. Rowling, continue to disown the author.
Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley in six of the eight films about the boy wizard, has now weighed in on the row sparked by Rowling’s comments on transgender issues.
‘I do a lot of work with charities that are LGBTQ+ focused,’ the actor says.
‘A lot of my family are members of the community. You can probably guess where my allegiances lie in that respect.’
Rankin adds: ‘When a trans person says they are male or female, that is what they are and that is how we should treat them.
‘It is damaging to them to say otherwise.’
Rowling has stressed the importance of biology, saying: ‘I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.’
‘Scorchy Scacchi’ consoles daughter after split from Penn
White Mischief star Greta Scacchi has played many parts in her career, but this Christmas she concentrated on her real-life role of mother by comforting daughter Leila George, who recently filed for divorce from Oscar winner Sean Penn.
Actress Leila, 29, who grew up in East Sussex and attended £26,000-a-year Brighton College, headed to the beach in Sydney with Greta, 61, who is a dual citizen of Australia and Italy.
Leila’s marriage lasted only 15 months. She met 61-year-old Penn — who had previously been married to House Of Cards actress Robin Wright and pop superstar Madonna — on the set of film The Last Face in 2015.
Sean Penn’s ex wife Leila George and her Australian actor mother Gretta Scacchi pictured enjoying a swim together at Maroubra on Christmas Eve
Leila — whose father is Greta’s ex-boyfriend, the American actor Vincent D’Onofrio — is close to her mother, although she changed her surname after being left ‘upset and angry’ as a teenager by the frequent nude scenes of ‘Scorchy Scacchi’.
Greta, who starred in box-office hit Presumed Innocent, explained: ‘It’s not so much what I did in films, but how the material gets used later.’
Referring to stills available online, she said: ‘That’s the worst thing for me. That’s not how I was agreeing to play those scenes.’
Snooty Italian food writer Valentina Harris regaled Michael Berkeley, on Radio 3’s Private Passions, with a tale of encountering British food in the 1970s.
‘I remember this shocked phone call I made to my mother when a very well-meaning English friend served me toast with some… well, she said it was spaghetti, but [it] had come out of a tin.
‘I was a well-brought-up daughter of a countess and I couldn’t possibly fling it across the room, but what was that?’ Ah, the charms of noblesse oblige.
Dame Joan Collins boasts that she’s in far better shape than her male friends. ‘I’m very strong, very fit and very robust, which most people my age are not — the men particularly. I know quite a few,’ says the 88-year-old Dynasty star.
‘I can carry a suitcase onto a train, I can run upstairs and my doctors say I’m like a woman at least 20 years younger. I’ve always worked out. I’m not that stringent but do enough to keep everything going, such as a bit of fast walking.’ Surely husband Percy Gibson, 56, can carry her suitcases?
Recalling the publishers of music magazine Q’s ‘blue-sky’ brainwaves, former editor Ted Kessler discloses: ‘I had to find out if Morrissey would be interviewed by David Cameron.’
Despite the one-time prime minister’s fondness for The Smiths, the singer refused, lambasting Cameron over his support for fox hunting.
Given Morrissey’s scepticism over immigration, perhaps Priti Patel would have been a more simpatico choice?
It’s a green, organic oasis carved out over four decades by Prince Charles.
Now, he wants an army of ‘garden guides’ for Highgrove, to explain the ‘inspiration and unique organic management’ behind the Gloucestershire gardens.
Applicants ‘do not need to be horticultural experts’, but must have an interest in gardens and the environment.
Don’t get excited about the pay, though, as no salary is mentioned. Perhaps you might be considered for a future honours list?
EastEnders star Michael Greco shocks viewers as he makes a surprise cameo on Holby City
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