EMOTIONAL TIES: Nicki Chapman on straw boaters, Chanel bags and her Pop Idol steal

TV and radio presenter Nicki Chapman opens up about her most treasured possessions, from designer handbags to family photographs.

Alex Ridley 
Alex Ridley

These hats are from my Catholic state primary school, St Mary’s in Whitstable, Kent. The straw boater was for summer and the bowler for winter. I loved that school and the nuns there; they were strict, but the emphasis was always on being polite and kind. It was a very happy time for me.

Alex Ridley

My music box was given to me by my nana when I was seven. I keep things that were a part of my life circa 1977 in it, such as my school bus pass, rosary beads and Blue Peter badge. I was so close to my nana; we stayed with her on Saturday nights.

Alex Ridley

This watch was my other grandmother’s. I love how delicate and dainty it is, and the effort and craftsmanship that has gone into making it. I don’t know where it came from, but it has an art deco look. We don’t have many family heirlooms; little things like this mean a lot. I cherish it.

Alex Ridley

Pete McKee, an old friend and a super-talented artist, painted this. He embraces subtle humour in his work. It’s meant to be me aged about 15, and I think it really sums me up. Growing up, music was everything to me.

Alex Ridley

Before I turned 50 last year I went to Harrods with my mum. I warned the saleswoman, ‘I’m not going to buy anything.’ But then we saw this beautiful bag and while I was admiring it my mum said, ‘We’ll take it.’ What a gift – spontaneous and so generous!

Alex Ridley

Pop Idol redefined Saturday night television and, more importantly, it changed my life. Without being a judge on the show, I wouldn’t be a presenter now. It opened doors. I nicked this sign when we were doing a photo shoot – it now lives in my dressing room.

Alex Ridley

Shacky [her husband Dave Shackleton] and I got married 19 years ago. We’d been engaged for ages. Our friends and family became bored with us not organising the wedding so they did it for us. Our best man’s mother and aunt made these sugar flowers for the top of the cake.

Alex Ridley

My elder sister Shelley [right] and I are really close. It was just the two of us growing up, but now we are part of a big family with lots of step-siblings. This photograph was taken on the Kent coast near where we lived. My best memories are of getting off the school bus and running to the beach.

Alex Ridley

My dad and stepmum made this ‘N’ photo collage for me for my 50th. There’s me with Shelley, the Spice Girls, my mum, Gary Barlow and my best friend Krista, who I still go on holiday with every year. It encapsulates my life and the people closest to me.

Nicki will present the RHS Chelsea Flower Show every afternoon from tomorrow until Saturday on BBC Two.