Nigella Lawson took a cocktail of drugs so she could stay awake all night writing recipe books, her former aide has told a court.
Francesca Grillo, 35, told the court she saw evidence of celebrity chef Lawson taking cocaine daily - including white powder on her nose and on rolled up bank notes in her handbag.
"Especially when she was writing a new book, or her last book, she said she needed to work through the night because she was so busy and I think she needed help to stay up all night.
"And then she had a runny nose for a long period which appeared to me quite strange because it was even in the summer," Grillo told the jury at Isleworth Crown Court.
The former aide said she presumed Lawson's ex-husband Charles Saatchi had found evidence of her drug-taking when she saw pictures of Saatchi "picking her nose" outside Scott's restaurant in central London
"In the photos she appears to be crying. It shocked me because she said she didn't cry very often in public," she said.
"The one that stuck in my mind was the one of him picking her nose. Maybe he found something relating to drugs."
Lawson admitted snorting cocaine seven times in total.
Grillo also said Lawson would swig from bottles containing prescription sleeping tablets and antidepressants including Xanax.
Grillo is standing trial for credit card fraud alongside her sister - accused of spending £685,000 of Saatchi's credit cards.
She repeatedly insisted to the court all her credit card purchases were authorised.
- Fairfax Media