Blue Pe­ter leg­end Va­lerie Sin­gle­ton talks pho­tog­ra­phy, her sweet tooth and not wor­ry­ing about her age

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Contents -

Veteran TV pre­sen­ter Va­lerie Sin­gle­ton, 80, lives in Dorset with her two tor­toise­shell cats.

How tidy is your house?

I like things to be tidy. If the house is un­tidy, then I like the un­tidi­ness to be or­gan­ised. I think if you’re tired and it’s un­tidy, then it makes you feel aw­ful.

When did you last clean your bath­room?

About a fort­night ago.

What is your sig­na­ture dish?

I don’t cook very much, I just buy a lot of quick meals and add fresh veg­eta­bles. I find eat­ing very bor­ing. If we could have nice tablets that tasted of things, I would be very happy.

What food could you not live with­out?

I grew up with plain cook­ing, so I love a nice roast, and I’m a pas­try junkie. I don’t like sticky cakes but I do go for a lovely Dan­ish pas­try. And dough­nuts are a bit of a weak­ness I’m afraid. I love In­dian food, and I love mack­erel.

Who is your dream din­ner-party guest?

Em­press Joséphine would be in­ter­est­ing. I think she was amaz­ing. She was brought up in the Caribbean, ended up in prison dur­ing the French Rev­o­lu­tion and then mar­ried Napoleon. It would be lovely to ask her what he was like!

Where in the world is your happy place?

I love Greece. I once stayed there in a ho­tel that was quite high up a hill, and within a week my bot­tom was a com­pletely dif­fer­ent shape be­cause it was such a steep hill. I can’t tell you how my fig­ure im­proved within that week. It was ab­so­lutely amaz­ing. I might go back just for the ex­er­cise regime.

What did you learn from your par­ents?

Not to have any prej­u­dice, as peo­ple are just peo­ple. If peo­ple are nice, kind and good to oth­ers, then I don’t care where they come from or what their back­ground is – or their age. I turned 80 last year, which I can’t be­lieve, and I’ve got great friends around me who are in their 40s and 50s. My boyfriends have al­ways been younger than me, but equally there are peo­ple I like who are in their early 80s who are fun and good com­pany.

What ad­vice will you hand down?

Take the path that you don’t know rather than the path you do. Take the one that may be a bit of a sur­prise.

Hoarder or clut­ter-free?

I col­lect mugs and mag­nets when I travel, which cover my fridge. They make for a lovely re­minder. And my garage is an over­flow dress shop, shoe shop, book shop and of­fice.

What one thing will al­ways lift you out of a bad mood?

Go­ing off and ex­plor­ing, and find­ing some­where new. It takes your mind off other things. I also en­joy pho­tog­ra­phy, so I like to hover in a cor­ner and take pic­tures. I’ve had some printed and sold as post­cards in Lon­don and in my lo­cal post of­fice in Dorset.

What is the se­cret of a happy house?

I’ve got a cou­ple of pussy­cats, which make the house very happy. An an­i­mal in a home makes a huge amount of dif­fer­ence. And light. I couldn’t live in a dark house.

◆ Blue Pe­ter cel­e­brates its 5,000th episode and 60th birth­day in 2018 and is on CBBC ev­ery Thurs­day

My boyfriends have al­ways been younger than me

‘My ad­vice is al­ways take the path you don’t know,’ says Va­lerie

Va­lerie pre­sented Blue Pe­ter from 1962 to 1972

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