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I'M SUCH A LUCKY GIRL, SAYS SARA; Radio presenter Sara Cox talks about going on the road again as a DJ, coping with three young children and how she's put her ladette lifestyle behind her...


IF YOU were rating excuses for being late, saluting a magpie would surely rank as imaginative, but Sara Cox is unapologetic.

"Ooh, I know it makes me sound as though I've turned into this superstitious old bat," she jokes.

S S "But there's a saying that if you see one magpie it can bring bad luck, but if you salute it that avoids it happening.

"The trouble is I've got one that keeps popping up all the time in the garden and he's got me on the hop saluting him all the time and he turned up just as I was leaving!" It's just a tiny indication that the BBC Radio 1 DJ, affectionately known to millions as 'Coxy,' is revelling in life as a working mother with three children and is keen - in any way she can, even down to magpie homage - to ensure that everything continues on its current even keel.

"It's true," says Cox, 36, as she sits chatting in a cafe near her London home.

"I do feel jammy and rather blessed, and I honestly thank my lucky stars every day."

She's combining work - hosting Radio 1's Lie In show every Sunday and DJing at clubs and universities - with bringing up her six-year-old daughter, Lola, from her marriage to DJ Jon Carter, and three-year-old Isaac and one-year-old Renee with her current partner, advertising executive Ben Cyzer.

"I absolutely love being a mum. Renee's definitely our last baby and I just want to cherish every little stage," she enthuses.

"With the first child you can't wait for them to reach their milestones like crawling, walking and talking but it's the opposite this time around.

"Renee was like a little gift right at the end and I'm drinking in every minute of her. So I'm almost like, 'Oh, no she's on solids' or 'Oh no, she's crawling.' If I could, I'd make her grow up in slow motion."

But she acknowledges that in reality neither her baby nor her own life are ever likely to play at that speed.

Cox stopped work a mere week before Renee was born and returned five months later to stand-in for Fearne Cotton on her mid-morning Radio 1 show.

"Life's all about balancing your commitments and there are times you feel you're stretching yourself in all directions," she admits.

"Of course, I'd wanted to tak a full maternity leave after all the kids, but have I heck? I took six months after Isaac and that didn't feel long enough.

"But as a freelance when you get a break from work you can't help wondering, 'Will I get a job again or will I have to jump out of cakes to earn a living?' So when I got the opportunity to stand in for Fearne for three weeks I jumped at it.

"I worked out that I was missing one feed and one nap, so I'd hurl myself back at the end of five hours and take off my work hat put on my mummy hat."

It's all a far cry from the days when she and her best friend, fellow TV and radio presenter Zoe Ball, were reportedly described as a partyloving 'ladettes'.

Cox reveals these days she's becoming a little exasperated by the constant reprising of such an out-of-date label.

"There's always this thing like I've gone from ladette to yummy mummy - which seems to imply that you're either a party girl or boring!

"I don't think I fit into boxes - life after kids certainly isn't boring and, of course, I partied in my 20s, but doesn't everybody?" she asks.

"I certainly don't think I was any worse than any other normal 20-year-old.

"Anyway I think you need to do all that when you're young and get it out of your system. I can tell you if I saw a 17-year-old pounding away in the gym I'd want to show her the door and say, 'Get out there and have a bit of fun, you've got years left to be sensible'."

Cox, who started out as a model and got her first big break on Channel 4's The Girlie Show in 1996 and went on to become a TV and radio regular on Top Of The Pops, Channel 4's The Big Breakfast and a host on BBC Radio 1's breakfast show for three years until 2003, does acknowledge that her lifestyle has radically altered since she became a parent.

"When I was modelling I'd exist on a bottle of wine, 20 fags and loads of coffee because I worried about putting on weight," she says.

"I'm way more sensible now and have respect for my health. I eat well, only have the odd fag if I go to a festival, and rarely drink.

"When I'm DJing now, instead of turning up with booze and fags as I used to years ago, I rock up with bottles of sparkling water which I stay on all night because I know I'm going to face three boisterous kids a few hours after I get home."

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BALANCING ACT: Sara Cox relaxing, at work and (left) with her big pal Zoe Ball
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 12, 2011
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