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I find doing ironing very therapeutic; Kirstie Allsopp is a familiar face on our TV screens, thanks to her property and home improvement shows. She chats to KATHERINE LANDERGAN about finding happiness in the little things, and why it's essential for busy mums to find a little time for themselves WELLBEING Fit for fame.


IKirstie Allsopp in a few words, they would be a few of her own words. "I'm someone who pushes to the nth degree. You can't do what I do unless you have a generally optimistic, positive outlook on life."

The London-born TV presenter is best known for the hit property programme on Channel 4, Location, Location, Location, but she is also a regular in other shows like Kirstie's Homemade Home and Kirstie's Handmade Britain, and was most recently on our screens a few weeks ago with Kirstie's Crafty Christmas.

With so many programmes aimed primarily at helping people - be it with finding a house or with making that house look nice - it's not a huge surprise that Kirstie is one of life's givers', and that she is worried by the modern 'me' culture.

"You can only find happiness in other people's happiness," she says emphatically.

"You cannot, as an individual, find your own happiness alone. It is only by making other people happy that you can be happy yourself."

It all sounds very admirable, but Kirstie is the first to cheerfully admit she is not always so good - particularly when it comes to the temptation of food. Because while she says she enjoys healthy food - a dish of fish, spinach, and asparagus would be one "a dream meal" - she also gives in to some weaknesses.

"I will indulge in bread at restaurants or a bowl of ice cream," she laughs.

She is also keenly aware of her alcohol intake, but insists: "I am no puritan, I absolutely love a drink," she says. "But I think that going prolonged periods of time without alcohol is a very good idea too.

"And if you're getting to the point as a working mum where you're looking at your watch and thinking 'can I have a glass of wine yet?', then maybe stop for a week, stop for a month."

Kirstie's fitness routine is similarly sensible. She does short, intense workouts for 20 or 30 minutes, about four times a week.

Finding time for fitness isn't easy, but Kirstie says she will incorporate exercise into her schedule - no matter how busy she gets.

She says: "I have been known to do a couple circles of the block in the middle of the night."

It's this balanced attitude to life that has helped Kirstie's soaring popularity as a female presenter. More than anything, she has proved you don't have to be super-skinny to be a TV success and that radiating health and warmth is much more important.

It's a winning formula that also made her an ideal candidate to front Procter & Gamble's Everyday Effect campaign, which launched last year to show how small things can make a big difference. The campaign looks into the various stages of a person's life, such as becoming a new mum or returning to work after having a baby, and highlights how important the little moments are.

Kirstie, a mother-of-two with two step-children, says that because young mothers have such little time, they should "write down the things that are important to you, and hold onto those".

Despite her own packed schedule, Kirstie says she treasures the little things in her own family life, such as taking her children to school.

"It's not something I manage everyday by any stretch of the imagination. But I try to make sure I do it at least twice a week, because contact with the school as a working mum is very important."

For those who have watched Kirstie's shows it will come as no surprise that she's in touch with her inner 'domestic goddess'.

"I'm not doing the ironing because I have to, but if I get a chance, I find it immensely therapeutic."

"I'm absolutely convinced that those repetitive tasks that one does everyday, organising one's home, and keeping it tidy, are enormously therapeutic.

"I know it is for me, and I have many, many working mum friends who feel the same. That to know that their child is going to school with clean hair, clean teeth, clean uniforms, and their house is clean is what keeps her sane."

Despite all the cleaning - which Kirstie confesses she does have some help with - she also says carving some time out for herself is important too, and she makes sure she gets out of the house and meets up with a friend, even if it's just once a week.

"Being able to have the time to have a coffee with the friend, just having that human contact with another mum is really important."

Kirstie also prioritises spending time with her partner, Ben Andersen. "I think for me it's having the time to discover everything with my partner. That's the thing that maintains my wellbeing most of all," she says simply, adding: "I think I'm incredibly lucky and I hope that nothing is going to go wrong," she says. "With all that I have, to wish for anything beyond this, you'd just think: 'she's mad'."

Kirstie Allsopp supports Procter & Gamble's Everyday Effect campaign. For more information visit /tag/everydayeffect


K? Kirstie's Christmas Cracker was the latest in a series of shows in which she showed off her craft skills

TV presenters Kirstie Allsopp, pictured inset with her Location, Location, Location co-host Phil Spencer
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 13, 2014
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