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SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Catching Covid means Boris now knows the truth about hospital food, says Prue

While Boris Johnson might not have fond memories of his near-death experience with Covid last year, Prue Leith thinks it was instructive.

The Great British Bake Off judge says while he was in intensive care the PM would have had a taste of the ‘bad’ food patients are being served in the NHS.

‘One of the great things, frankly, about the Prime Minister getting Covid and ending up in hospital is that he realised that food matters and what you eat matters,’ says Leith. 

While Boris Johnson might not have fond memories of his near-death experience with Covid last year, Prue Leith thinks it was instructive

And while she would prefer a more nutritional offering for patients, she says they deserve comfort foods as well. 

Speaking about what is currently served on wards, she explains: ‘It is pretty bad. Tea and toast is what you want.’

The PM last year backed her review into hospital food, which made recommendations on how NHS trusts can prioritise food safety and provide more nutritious meals to staff and patients.

The PM last year backed her review into hospital food, which made recommendations on how NHS trusts can prioritise food safety and provide more nutritious meals to staff and patients

The PM last year backed her review into hospital food, which made recommendations on how NHS trusts can prioritise food safety and provide more nutritious meals to staff and patients

Leith says: ‘We came up with eight recommendations which cover nurses’ food, tea and toast. The Government has accepted all of them and put the money behind getting it done. Within three or four years we will have all those recommendations done and there are ten new hospitals coming on line and they will be built with food in mind and not as an add on.’

Leith is also hoping we will all adopt healthier eating patterns. 

‘An enormous part of the population now just live on takeaways and the parents are in no position to teach their children as they never learned to cook. It is a huge back-up of things we need to do.’

Perhaps they should follow the PM’s lead. His battle with the virus was made more severe due to him being overweight. 

Since then he says: ‘I’ve been eating less carbs, avoiding chocolate, no more late-night cheese… and getting up early to go for runs.’

TV chef is comfy in her own skin at last

Model-turned-TV chef Lorraine Pascale, who was the first black British woman to be on the cover of American Elle magazine, admits she’s only just learned to feel beautiful, at the age of 48.

‘I used to hide behind so many things. Like dressing down with my clothes, not wearing bright colours. I did not ever want to stand out,’ says the mother of one. 

Model-turned-TV chef Lorraine Pascale, who was the first black British woman to be on the cover of American Elle magazine, admits she's only just learned to feel beautiful, at the age of 48

Model-turned-TV chef Lorraine Pascale, who was the first black British woman to be on the cover of American Elle magazine, admits she’s only just learned to feel beautiful, at the age of 48

‘Even though I used to be a model, the clothes I wore were for my job.

‘It’s taken me all this time to be comfortable in my own skin. Now I love wearing bright colours. I love wearing my hair as big as possible. I love getting dressed up. Getting comfortable within yourself is the most important thing to work on.’ 

Flamboyant Scottish TV nutritionist Gillian McKeith is tired of people criticising her outlandish outfits. 

She tells me at the DAFTAS Short Comedy Awards at the Soho Sanctum Hotel: ‘I like to be creative with the clothes I wear. You get to a point where you just don’t care what people say. I just want to be me and true to myself.’ 

The former You Are What You Eat presenter, who judged Best Costume Design at the awards, adds: ‘If someone doesn’t like the way I dress, tough. I don’t read comments on social media. You can’t worry about what other people think of you.’

Thumbs up for Pike’s garden den

As the nation remains mostly working from home, Rosamund Pike is the latest star to jump on the garden office bandwagon, following in the footsteps of Cate Blanchett and Jodie Kidd.

The former Bond girl, 42, has been granted planning permission to build an outdoor shed, complete with a letterbox window to light up a writing desk, at her £2.3million Georgian townhouse in Islington, North London.

She lives there with her businessman partner Robie Uniacke and their two children.

As the nation remains mostly working from home, Rosamund Pike is the latest star to jump on the garden office bandwagon, following in the footsteps of Cate Blanchett and Jodie Kidd

As the nation remains mostly working from home, Rosamund Pike is the latest star to jump on the garden office bandwagon, following in the footsteps of Cate Blanchett and Jodie Kidd

Pike applied to her local council earlier this year for the proposed structure, which on average costs around £18,000 to build, ‘to be used ancillary to the main residential building’. 

According to the application, the Gone Girl star required ‘more amenable, useable and flexible space in the back garden.

She needed consent for the charred timber-clad building, because her historic home, which dates back to the 1820s, is Grade II-listed and lies in a designated conservation area.

Building work on the new office space is due to start next month. With Pike having spent most of the year in the Czech Republic, filming fantasy TV series The Wheel Of Time, a friend tells me the star is delighted to have a project closer to home. 

‘Rosamund is very big on having an inspiring working space, so for her to have the go-ahead on this has made her really happy.’

In a separate planning application, Pike has also requested permission to carry out alterations to the rear of her home, and build a new conservatory.

The actress refurbished the house in 2017, taking care to restore it inside and out with techniques and decor that was ‘reflective of the house’s age’.

Pike declined to comment on the plans. 

Dame Esther Rantzen says she’s proud to be a ‘natural nudist’ who regularly skinny dips. 

‘I celebrated my 80th birthday by removing my clothing and running around the garden,’ she explains. ‘I skinny dip whenever possible. Swimming naked is just wonderful. My daughter tells a story of how I persuaded her to skinny dip with me — but I had forgotten a meeting with some important local parish people who arrived.’

Happily, Esther says she managed to hide her modesty and climbed out the pool ‘quickly, backwards’.

Marjorie has a (masked) ball getting hitched!

While Boris and Carrie were saying 'I do' at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, broadcaster and charity campaigner Marjorie Wallace was exchanging vows with TV shopping tycoon John Mills in a Venetian-style ceremony up the road

While Boris and Carrie were saying ‘I do’ at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, broadcaster and charity campaigner Marjorie Wallace was exchanging vows with TV shopping tycoon John Mills in a Venetian-style ceremony up the road 

'The bridesmaids and I wore hand-painted masks that were flown in from Venice. We took our vows and sang True Love from High Society to each other,' enthused the bride of her new husband

‘The bridesmaids and I wore hand-painted masks that were flown in from Venice. We took our vows and sang True Love from High Society to each other,’ enthused the bride of her new husband 

While Boris and Carrie were saying ‘I do’ at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, broadcaster and charity campaigner Marjorie Wallace was exchanging vows with TV shopping tycoon John Mills in a Venetian-style ceremony up the road.

‘We wanted to come out of Covid and into a carnival,’ Marjorie, 78, declared after their wedding at Pond Square Chapel in Highgate. 

‘The bridesmaids and I wore hand-painted masks that were flown in from Venice. We took our vows and sang True Love from High Society to each other,’ enthused the bride of her new husband. 

John, 83, said: ‘Marjorie is an incurable romantic and I’m a calm and steadying influence, I hope.’

Marjorie, a former confidante of the late Earl of Snowdon, was given away by her son Sacha Skarbek, who co-wrote James Blunt’s hit You’re Beautiful, while Jesus Of Nazareth star Robert Powell read a Shakespearean love sonnet.

Robert Powell, who read at the wedding at Pond Square Chapel in Highgate

Robert Powell, who read at the wedding at Pond Square Chapel in Highgate

The Queen is advertising for a Collections Project Manager, signalling a summer of major building works at Buckingham Palace. BP, as Royal Family members call Her Majesty’s official London residence, is undergoing ten years of work to update electrical cabling, plumbing and heating for the first time since the 1950s. 

The successful applicant, who will earn £41,500 to £45,000 a year, will oversee the makeover and ensure the building is fit for purpose for the next 50 years. 

They will also be responsible for ensuring the Queen’s priceless art collections are protected. Not too much of an ask.

Funky Helena rings the changes…

The Crown star Helena Bonham Carter might share a love of jewellery with Princess Margaret, her alter ego in the Netflix royal drama, but would the Queen's late sister approve of the actress's new accessories?

The Crown star Helena Bonham Carter might share a love of jewellery with Princess Margaret, her alter ego in the Netflix royal drama, but would the Queen’s late sister approve of the actress’s new accessories?

The Crown star Helena Bonham Carter might share a love of jewellery with Princess Margaret, her alter ego in the Netflix royal drama, but would the Queen’s late sister approve of the actress’s new accessories?

The 55-year-old, who is known for her eclectic style, posed while sporting six new rings — at £195 each — called ‘hotlips’, designed by top British jeweller Solange Azagury-Partridge.

‘For me, the style essential is having a sense of fun,’ says Helena, ‘and feeling that you can transform the inside depending on what you put on the outside.’


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