The Oscar-nominated star has portrayed a huge range of characters on stage and in such films as Dance with a Stranger, The Hours, Damage, Tom & Viv, and The Young Victoria as well as doing a brilliant comic turn as Queenie in the television series Blackadder. She lives in London with two dogs, two cats and a lot of fish.
I've been fascinated by the natural world since I was five years old, when I went to a talk given by Peter Scott, who of course was the founder of WWF. He was a huge inspiration to me so I'm delighted that I'm now and ambassador for WWF. I though even if it just makes a few people sit up and wonder why I'm interested in it, that's something.
I also find David Attenborough, who I've been with at WWF ambassador meetings, totally inspiring. His tireless input is invaluable, he's always working, always promoting.
Whenever I have a close encounter with anything to do with the natural world, I care more. I think it's something basic to most human beings, but now the state of the planet means we're facing devastating consequences for people and nature. Addressing climate change is central for WWF's aims to protect biodiversity and reduce our ecological footprint, so as an ambassador I try to spread hte message as much as I can.
I'm also involved with the Galapagos Conservation Trust and finally got the chance to go to the islands this year on the Darwin 200th Anniversary cruise. I'm not comfortable taking long flights but trips like this are really special, once in a lifetime experiences. I also have to fly for work reasons, but if travelling is my choice, such as for holidays, I'll often stay in the UK.
WWF, Panda House, Weyside Park, Godalming, Surrey GU 7 1XR, 01483 426444, www.wwf.org.uk
Galapagos Conservation Trust, 5 Derby Street, London W1J 7AB, 0207 629 5049, www.gct.org
THE PURE H2O GO
This company installs RODI (reverse osmosis with de-ionisation) systems which purify your domestic water so you can avoid buying plastic bottles of water to drink. They also provide you with a stubstantial supply of containers, which you can just keep refilling.
Pure H2O Co, Unit 5 Egham Business Village, Crabtree Road, Egham TW20 8RB, 01784 221188, www.pureh2o.co.uk
I really miss the big vegetable garden I had at my house in the country. In the seven years I was there I never used pesticides or chemicals and the vegetables were fine. You can grow veg even in a small London garden like the one I have now. I have things growing in pots everywhere, it's mad really, quite potty in fact, but it's so great to grow things from scratch. The biodiversity you get, even in my postage-stamp garden, can be remarkable if you don't use chemicals. This year I've been growing things like runner beans, tomatoes and squash.
In a small space you want your veg plants to look decorative - like my little hanging tomatoes I grow in a pot on the wall mixed with flowers. You can find organic vegetable seeds in your local garden centre and on sites such as Garden Organic, the national charity for growing organic. It' so worth trying to grow food yourself; you feel good about what you put into the ground and into yourself.
Garden Organic, Coventry, Warwickshire CV8 3LG, 02476 303517, www.gardenorganic.org.uk
One of my favourite shops, B-Neutral sells energy saving, sustainable and recycled things, from eco-kettles to energy meters. Everything is designed to slot easily into your life - replacing old items with more efficient alternatives. I loathe the inbuilt obsolescence of household appliances; I keep mine going as long as possible. B-Neutral also sells cornstarch dog poo bags, which almost make picking up a pleasure - and you can open them even in a gale!
B-Neutral Eco-Store, Unit 2, The Sidings, Melton, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 1TB, 01394 388900, www.b-neutral.co.uk
I do my best to shop locally and seasonally and buy organic as much as possible. I don't have my food delivered. I go to Planet Organic near where I live and sometimes Daylesford Organic shops. Buying organic can be fiendishly expensive but sometimes it's better to eat less but high quality. I do hate all that supermarket plastic packaging, it's so unnecessary but you can make a stand. I have taken the packaging off things in supermarkets at the checkout and handed it back.
Planet Organic, 42 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5SH, 0207 727 2227. There are five other London stores you can shop online at www.planetorganic.com
GREEN TOMATO CARS
For years I've been using a low-emission mini cab service, Green Tomato, which runs Toyota Prius hybrids that switch between petrol and electricity. They're reliable, efficient and incredibly reasonable - I wish more people and organisations would use them. I always ask for green transport when making a movie. I object hugely to the wasteful and unnecessary turning over of an engine, which is what normally happens when a car is sent to pick up an actor.
Living in London I try to walk everywhere as much as possible, but I do drive a hybrid. I am always moving people, animals, furniture and shopping - my car is a real workhorse.
www.greentomatocars.com, 0208 568 0022
HEN & HAMMOCK
I buy black trugs and planters made from recycled tyres which are tough, and brilliant for keeping track of the tools you need when you're roaming about the garden. They are very green because used tyres are one of the most difficult waste-disposal problems we have. You can buy them from garden company Hen & Hammock.
Hen & Hammock, Chestnut Farm, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 2HU, 01844 217060, www.henandhammock.co.uk
When I'm being made up for filming I always ask about the products they're using, to make sure they haven't been tested on animals. I use Decléor skin care myself, which uses natural ingrediences, and minimal chemicals and preservatives. The hair salon I go to, Richard Ward, assures me they source as many organic products as they can.
As far as clothes are concerned, I don't buy very much at all - some of my things I've had for an embarrasingly long time, but I absolutely love them and I don't care. You don't need to keep buying things you've already got.
Richard Ward, 82 Duke of York Square, Sloan Square, London SW3 4LY, 0207 730 1222, www.richardward.co.uk