HOW WE ES­CAPE

From box set binges to mind­ful mo­ments, three fa­mous faces tell Nathalie Whit­tle how they switch off from stress…

Woman & Home - - CONTENT -

FA­MOUS FACES ON HOW THEY SWITCH OFF FROM STRESS

Loose Women PRE­SEN­TER ANDREA MCLEAN, 47, LIVES WITH HER PART­NER, NICK FEENEY, IN SUR­REY. SHE HAS TWO CHIL­DREN, FIN­LAY, 15, AND AMY, 10.

I USED TO TRY TO HIDE THE FACT THAT I SUF­FER FROM SO­CIAL ANX­I­ETY – BUT NOW I RE­ALISE I’M NOT ALONE. I MAN­AGE IT BY PRAC­TIS­ING MIND­FUL­NESS US­ING THE HEADSPACE APP ON MY PHONE; IT’S MADE SUCH A DIF­FER­ENCE TO MY MEN­TAL WELL­BE­ING. THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES WHEN I’VE BEEN ON THE TRAIN AND FELT MY­SELF GET­TING STRESSED OUT, THEN I’VE LIS­TENED TO A MEDITATION AND LIT­ER­ALLY FELT THE TEN­SION EAS­ING OUT OF MY BODY. IT’S HELPED ME TO THINK MUCH MORE CLEARLY.

ALL PAR­ENTS HAVE GOT TO THAT POINT WHERE IF THEY DON’T GET OUT OF THE HOUSE THEY’RE GO­ING TO SAY SOME­THING THEY RE­GRET, HAVEN’T THEY? WELL, I HAVE! THAT’S WHEN I’LL GRAB THE DOG – A LABRADOODLE CALLED JACK­SON – AND GO FOR A WALK AROUND THE BLOCK TO CALM DOWN AND GATHER MY THOUGHTS. I’LL EVEN JUST SIT ON A BENCH WHILE HE’S LOOK­ING AT ME AS IF TO SAY, “THIS IS THE MOST RUB­BISH WALK IN THE WORLD.” SE­RI­OUSLY THOUGH, YOU SHOULD TRY IT – EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO BOR­ROW SOME­ONE ELSE’S DOG!

WHEN I MET NICK THREE YEARS AGO, I WASN’T LOOK­ING FOR LOVE. I’D RE­SIGNED MY­SELF TO THE IDEA THAT I WOULDN’T GET AN­OTHER CHANCE AT LOVE [ANDREA HAS BEEN DI­VORCED TWICE] AND I WAS OK WITH THAT. THEN ONE OF THE MAKE-UP ARTISTS AT WORK SET ME UP ON A BLIND DATE WITH NICK, A BUSI­NESS­MAN, AND THAT CHANGED EV­ERY­THING. THEY DO SAY YOU FIND LOVE WHEN YOU LEAST EX­PECT

IT! NOW I BE­LIEVE IN SEC­OND, THIRD AND FOURTH CHANCES AT LIFE, NOT JUST AT LOVE.

NICK HAS TWO KIDS WHO ARE SIM­I­LAR AGES TO MINE AND WE RE­CENTLY WENT ON OUR FIRST HOL­I­DAY AS A “BLENDED”

“PRAC­TIS­ING MIND­FUL­NESS HAS MADE SUCH A DIF­FER­ENCE TO MY MEN­TAL WELL­BE­ING”

FAM­ILY, WHICH WAS LOVELY. WE DIDN’T TELL THE KIDS WHERE WE WERE GO­ING UN­TIL THE WOMAN AT CHECK-IN SAID, “SO, WHERE ARE YOU FLY­ING TO TO­DAY?” AND THERE WERE SHOUTS OF “TENER­IFE! BARCELONA!” – IT WAS AC­TU­ALLY BAR­BA­DOS! WE FOUND THIS LOVELY HO­TEL WHERE THE KIDS COULD DO WATER­SPORTS ALL DAY – AND THEY SERVED MO­JI­TOS FROM 11AM, SO I WAS HAPPY! MY MANTRA HAS AL­WAYS BEEN TO TREAT ALL THE KIDS THE SAME – I TELL THEM, “IF I WILL LOVE YOU THE SAME, I WILL TELL YOU OFF THE SAME,” SO ONCE WE’RE ALL TO­GETHER THERE’S NO TIPTOEING ABOUT, AND IT SEEMS TO WORK.

I FEEL RE­ALLY SORRY FOR NICK BE­CAUSE HE HAS TO LIVE WITH THE “BE­FORE” VER­SION OF ME – WHILE THE REST OF THE WORLD GETS TO SEE THE “AF­TER” VER­SION!

THE MINUTE I’M HOME, IT’S A PONY­TAIL, GLASSES, LEG­GINGS, BAGGY JUMPER…

ALL THE THINGS THAT SHOULD BE IN THE SIDE­BAR OF SHAME! I’M AMAZED WHEN PEO­PLE RECOG­NISE ME IN THE STREET BE­CAUSE I LOOK TO­TALLY DIF­FER­ENT.

I HAVE TO AD­MIT, WHEN THE KIDS GO TO THEIR DAD’S, I’M VERY GOOD AT TURN­ING “MUM” OFF. I’LL SLEEP UN­TIL 10AM, BARELY GET DRESSED AND CATCH UP ON ALL THE TV DRA­MAS I’VE MISSED WITH A FEW GLASSES OF RED WINE. AND ONE OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO IS TO SIT ON MY RAT­TAN

COUCH ON THE PORCH IN THE BACK GAR­DEN – EVEN IF IT’S RAIN­ING. WHEN I’M SAT

THERE WITH MY FEET UP, I FEEL LIKE THE WHOLE WORLD IS A THOU­SAND MILES AWAY.

I CAN’T QUITE BE­LIEVE IT’S MY TENTH YEAR ON Loose Women – I’M LIT­ER­ALLY CLING­ING ON SO I MUST HAVE THE STRONG­EST FINGERNAILS IN SHOW­BUSI­NESS! THE NICEST PART IS THAT THE “LOOSE LADIES” ARE NOW SOME OF MY CLOS­EST FRIENDS – THEY KNOW MORE ABOUT ME THAN ANY­ONE BE­CAUSE WE’RE SO HON­EST WITH EACH OTHER ABOUT WHAT’S GO­ING ON IN OUR LIVES. WE OF­TEN DIS­AGREE ON THINGS – NA­DIA [SAWALHA] AND KAYE [ADAMS] HAVE KIDS THE SAME AGE AS MINE AND WE HAVE DIF­FER­ENT IDEAS ABOUT WHAT SORT OF PAR­ENT­ING WE THINK WORKS –

BUT WE SHARE OUR WOR­RIES, SUC­CESS

AND FAIL­URE STO­RIES, AND THAT HELPS. I WOULDN’T WANT TO BE WITH­OUT THEM NOW.

LOOSE WOMEN airs week­days at 12.30pm on ITV JODIE WHIT­TAKER, 35, IS BEST-KNOWN FOR HER ROLE IN ITV’S Broad­church, AND HAS STARRED IN SCI-FI FILM At­tack the Block, AND COM­EDY Adult Life Skills. SHE PLAYS THE LEAD IN NEW BBC ONE THRILLER Trust Me. SHE LIVES IN LON­DON WITH HER HUS­BAND, AC­TOR CHRIS­TIAN CON­TR­ERAS, AND THEIR TWO-YEAR-OLD DAUGH­TER.

IF I COULD BE ANY­WHERE IN THE WORLD,

I’D PLONK MY­SELF BY THE SEA. THE SOUND OF THE WATER IS THE MOST PER­FECT AN­TI­DOTE TO ANY KIND OF STRESS. I’M NOT VERY GOOD AT ES­CAP­ING, BUT MY FAVOURITE SPOT IS FILEY ON THE NORTH YORK­SHIRE COAST. LEAVE ME ON THE BEACH WITH A CONE OF CHIPS AND I’M VERY HAPPY!

ONE OF MY FAVOURITE SUM­MER TRA­DI­TIONS IS GO­ING TO AN OUT­DOOR FILM SCREEN­ING AT SOM­ER­SET HOUSE – I LOVE THAT TIME. A FEW YEARS AGO, THEY WERE SHOW­ING A DOU­BLE BILL OF Die Hard AND At­tack the Block – AND AS I SAT THERE WITH ALL MY MATES HAV­ING A PIC­NIC, I COULDN’T QUITE BE­LIEVE I WAS WATCH­ING ONE FILM THAT’S AN AB­SO­LUTE CLAS­SIC – AND ONE THAT I WAS AC­TU­ALLY IN!

IT WASN’T UN­TIL I DID Broad­church THAT I STARTED GET­TING RECOG­NISED A LOT MORE. MY CHAR­AC­TER BETH’S HAIR WAS BROWN AND I’VE GOT A PER­OX­IDE BLONDE BOB IN REAL LIFE, SO I USU­ALLY GET PEO­PLE STAR­ING AT ME FOR A LONG TIME BE­FORE THEY HAVE THAT A-HA MO­MENT! FOR­TU­NATELY, THAT KIND OF RECOG­NI­TION HAS COME AT A TIME WHERE I’M OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT IT DOESN’T EQUAL ANY­THING – BUT I ALSO NOW KNOW THAT I DON’T NEED TO FEAR IT EI­THER.

I WAS OB­SESSED WITH PLAY­ING MAKE­BE­LIEVE WHEN I WAS A KID AND I GUESS THAT NEVER WORE OFF. I WASN’T ACA­DEMIC AT SCHOOL – I FAILED MY MATHS GCSE TWICE AND I ONLY GOT FIVE GCSES ABOVE A D, BUT MY CA­REERS AD­VIS­ERS TOLD ME IT WAS CHILD­ISH TO THINK I WAS GO­ING TO GO TO DRAMA SCHOOL AND BE­COME AN AC­TOR. THANK GOD I DIDN’T LIS­TEN! I OWE A LOT TO MY PAR­ENTS – MY MUM, A NURSE-TURNEDMAGISTRATE, AND BUSI­NESS­MAN DAD >>

“THE SOUND OF THE SEA IS THE PER­FECT AN­TI­DOTE TO ANY KIND OF STRESS”

– FOR NOT TAKING THE SAME VIEW. IT’S SO IM­POR­TANT THAT ACHIEVE­MENTS AREN’T JUST SEEN IN TERMS OF ACA­DEMIC SUC­CESS.

THERE ISN’T A SE­CRET TO FIND­ING A BAL­ANCE – IF SOME­ONE HAD NAILED IT, I THINK THEY’D HAVE SOLD A MIL­LION BOOKS BY NOW! IT’S A MINE­FIELD FOR US ALL, ISN’T IT? I CAN’T SPEAK FOR ANY­ONE ELSE, BUT BE­COM­ING A MUM RE­ALLY CHANGED ME. I HAVE A RE­SPON­SI­BIL­ITY NOW, AND I WANT TO PRO­VIDE AN EN­VI­RON­MENT WHERE MY DAUGH­TER FEELS COM­FORT­ABLE BE­ING WHO SHE WANTS TO BE BE­CAUSE THAT’S HOW I WAS BROUGHT UP. IT’S MADE ME RE­ALISE HOW BRIL­LIANT MY MUM AND DAD WERE – I DON’T THINK I EVER RE­ALLY AP­PRE­CI­ATED IT UN­TIL NOW.

I DON’T THINK ANY­ONE WITH A FAM­ILY CAN SIT AND HAVE QUIET TIME, CAN THEY? MY “ME” TIME IS WHEN I’M LIS­TEN­ING TO A GOOD POD­CAST – USU­ALLY ON THE TUBE OR ON A BUS! I RE­CENTLY FIN­ISHED S-Town, A TRUECRIME POD­CAST BY THE PEO­PLE WHO MADE Se­rial AND This Amer­i­can Life – IT BLEW MY MIND! IT’S FAS­CI­NAT­ING, MOV­ING, FUNNY, SAD... HON­ESTLY, HAVE A LIS­TEN.

I TREA­SURE MY FE­MALE FRIENDS MORE THAN ANY­THING BE­CAUSE THERE’S A SIS­TER­HOOD WITH WOMEN THAT CAN’T BE EX­PLAINED. I CALL THEM MY “LIFERS”! THEY’RE SCAT­TERED ALL OVER THE WORLD AND I MISS THEM A LOT – BUT THE WAY I SEE IT IS THAT IT MEANS WE HAVE HOMES IN LOTS OF DIF­FER­ENT PLACES FOR EACH OTHER. ONE OF THEM, TOR, IS

THE MOST AMAZ­ING HOST AND WHEN SHE THROWS A GET-TO­GETHER, WE’LL ALL BE THERE!

THERE’S SOME­THING ABOUT A GOOD PSY­CHO­LOG­I­CAL THRILLER THAT LETS YOU ES­CAPE, ISN’T THERE? IN MY NEW TV SE­RIES, Trust Me, I PLAY CATH, A SIS­TER ON A HOS­PI­TAL WARD WHO GETS SUS­PENDED FOR WHIS­TLE-BLOW­ING ABOUT CARE STAN­DARDS. SHE’S A SIN­GLE PAR­ENT LEFT IN A DES­PER­ATE SIT­U­A­TION WHERE SHE HAS NO JOB AND NO MONEY, AND IT CO­IN­CIDES WITH HER BEST FRIEND, AN A&E DOC­TOR, EM­I­GRAT­ING TO NEW ZEALAND. SHE HAS A MO­MENT OF MAD­NESS WHERE SHE DE­CIDES TO STEAL THE IDEN­TITY OF HER FRIEND AND START A NEW LIFE. SHE’S NOT A “BAD­DIE”, SHE’S A FLAWED CHAR­AC­TER AS WE ALL ARE, AND SHE HAS TO DEAL WITH THE CON­SE­QUENCES OF LIV­ING A LIE, AS YOU’LL SEE.

TRUST ME is on BBC One this sum­mer EX- EastEn­ders STAR TRACY-ANN OBER­MAN, 49, LIVES IN LON­DON WITH HER HUS­BAND, MU­SIC PRO­DUCER ROB COWAN, AND THEIR DAUGH­TER, ANOUSHKA, 10.

WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, I WAS NER­VOUS OF BE­ING OUT OF WORK – NOW I RE­ALISE IT’S ALL ABOUT FIND­ING A WORK-LIFE BAL­ANCE. OF COURSE, GET­TING HOME AT MID­NIGHT AND TRY­ING TO LEARN LINES WHILE MAK­ING MY DAUGH­TER’S PACKED LUNCH IS HARDLY IT – BUT THESE DAYS IF WORK DOESN’T FIT IN WITH SPEND­ING TIME WITH THE PEO­PLE I LOVE, THEN I WON’T DO IT.

I DIDN’T THINK I’D EVER HAVE KIDS. I WAS IN MY MID-THIR­TIES BY THE TIME WE STARTED TRY­ING AND AF­TER A MIS­CAR­RIAGE, I WAS TOLD I PROB­A­BLY WOULDN’T HAVE A CHILD AT ALL, WHICH WAS DIF­FI­CULT. THEN I WENT ON HOL­I­DAY TO IN­DIA IN-BE­TWEEN FILM­ING Doc­tor Who AND I HAD LOADS OF AYURVEDIC TREAT­MENTS WITH A THER­A­PIST WHO SAID, “YOU’RE GO­ING TO GO HOME WITH A BABY.” I THOUGHT, “I DOUBT IT!” BUT WITHIN THREE DAYS OF BE­ING HOME, I FELT LIKE I WAS GO­ING TO VOMIT EV­ERY TWO MIN­UTES… AND YES, I WAS PREG­NANT!

GO­ING THROUGH TOUGH TIMES – MY DAD DYING OF A HEART AT­TACK IN MY TWEN­TIES AND BE­ING CAUGHT UP IN THE THAI­LAND TSUNAMI ON HON­EY­MOON – HAS MADE ME AP­PRE­CI­ATE THAT EV­ERY­THING PASSES, BOTH GOOD AND BAD. I USED TO GET TRAPPED IN AN EMO­TION AND FEEL AS IF I WAS NEVER GO­ING TO GET OUT, BUT I’VE LEARNED TO AC­KNOWL­EDGE AN EMO­TION – THEN MOVE FOR­WARD FROM IT.

KNOW­ING THERE’S SOME­ONE IN YOUR LIFE WHO YOU CAN TALK TO ABOUT ANY­THING IS SO IM­POR­TANT. I’VE KNOWN THREE OF MY BEST FRIENDS SINCE I WAS 12 AND I CHER­ISH THE TIME WHEN WE MEET UP. I’VE ALSO MADE A WON­DER­FUL NEW

FRIEND RE­CENTLY –

AMANDA HOLDEN, WHO I STARRED WITH IN THE PLAY Step­ping Out – I JUST ADORE HER. SHE’S A REAL WOMAN’S WOMAN, A WON­DER­FUL MOTHER AND, LET ME TELL YOU, SHE’S VERY FUNNY!

I LOVE GET­TING LOST IN A GOOD BOX SET – IT’S WHAT BRINGS ROB AND I TO­GETHER WHEN ANOUSHKA’S ASLEEP. WE AL­WAYS SEEM TO FIND OUR­SELVES SAT THERE ON THE SOFA SAY­ING, “JUST ONE MORE EPISODE!”

MY NEW PLAY, Fid­dler on the Roof, FEELS A BIT LIKE A DOC­U­MEN­TARY OF MY FAM­ILY HISTORY. MY GREAT-GRAND­MOTHER GREW UP IN THE PALE OF SET­TLE­MENT, A JEWISH GHETTO NEAR KIEV, AND THERE WERE THESE TER­RI­BLE POGROMS AND BE­HEAD­INGS THERE. HER PAR­ENTS SENT HER TO LON­DON WHERE SHE GOT A FAC­TORY JOB IN THE EAST END. SHE USED TO TALK A LOT ABOUT HER TIME IN THAT VIL­LAGE AND EV­ERY TIME WE’D WATCH THE FILM, SHE’D SAY, “OH, IT WAS JUST LIKE THAT!”

FID­DLER ON THE ROOF runs at Chich­ester Fes­ti­val The­atre from 10 July-2 Sept. Visit cft.org.uk W&H

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