Photograph of my maternal grandparents: My grandmother lived with us since we came over here from Iran in 1979 and she’s almost like my mum. My mum was always here but she was more like my cool older sister. I was really very very close to my grandmother. She was tiny, beautiful and fiery – not fiery in a temperamental way but she was a very strong character. Everybody loved her. She was very outspoken but also the most generous person I’ve ever known in my life. She was a real provocateur – just cheeky and naughty and hilarious. Unfortunately my grandfather passed away in 1979 so I didn’t really get to know him but he’s very very special to me still.
Medals belonging to my maternal grandfather: He was very privileged to travel for much of his career and worked with governments around the world to improve labour conditions. In his career he was awarded lots of medals including a Nobel Peace Prize, the Legion of Honour, and an order from the King of Belgium. I was always fascinated with his medals as a child and I’ve always thought that if I ever up sticks and move, they’re going with me. They’re my connection to family, really.
My grandmother’s elephant purse: My grandmother was a very glamorous lady and she didn’t like touching coins, she was more of a notes person. So she always had a hideous little coin purse, she had lots of them, but this is the only one left in the house. And I love it. At times she would say, ‘Here you are, take it. Go out and buy yourself something,” and it would just be rammed with pound coins. Now I use it to put my credit cards in when I’m going out in the evening with a clutch bag. I could never throw it away!
My mum’s 1970s Gucci purse: This is from pre-1979 when things were very different in Iran. It’s vintage, it’s my mum’s, it’s about her youth and I held on to it in my youth. I just love it.
1980s Game Boy: It’s something that has forever been in my dresser drawer and I could never throw it away because it’s my childhood: it’s my childhood and how blessed we were, how lucky I was. I remember exactly when I got it. My cousins had one too and we just thought it was amazing. When I was a kid it was the 1980s and we didn’t have all the stuff kids have today like ipads and iphones. So this is just a nice thing that reminds me of my childhood.
Ray-Ban sunglasses: I can’t leave the house without sunglasses. I’m the only person on the Saturday Kitchen challenge board with sunglasses on my head! It’s not that I have them on my face – I’m not one of those idiots who wear sunglasses on the tube! I have them on my head and they keep my hair out of my face. I have two pairs and they’re just good old Ray-Bans; they’re timeless.