I adore animals. Anything really, except really creepy things – I mean, cockroaches are hardly animals, are they? And there is a spider in Mozambique that would make you faint. I’m glad I didn’t know that when I visited there! No, when I say animals, I mean dogs, cats, hamsters (I was once godmother to a hamster called Herman), horses, cows. We have three beautiful Jack Russell dogs.

I read endlessly: thrillers, non-fiction. All genres, really, except horror. I had to turn The Exorcist face down in my room when I read it in case it ‘got’ me – I was only about fifteen. 

I love making things – or really, starting to make things. In craft parlance, this is known as UFOs – UnFinished Objects. I like crochet and enjoy crocheting round things – one day I might even join them all up. The dogs like to sit on me when I do this – it’s adorable but does not always help. One of my sons says I just like buying pretty coloured wool. He could have a point there . . .

I cannot resist medical dramas and was convinced I could perform a tracheotomy – I mean, I have spent years watching this stuff – but then I saw Sandra Bullock try to do it in The Heat. I’m not so sure I could do it now . . . Especially since I read Atul Gawande’s Complications, which is a brilliant non-fiction book written by a surgeon. Turns out it’s not so easy after all . . .

We watch all sorts of documentaries in our house – I love anything with David Attenborough’s voice in it. You learn so much from those shows. My beloved sons, my husband and I sit and watch with our darling dogs snuggled up, too. It’s heaven. 

Modern Family is my new Frasier. Frasier was my go-to cheer-myself-up show but now it’s Modern Family. I am not sure who I love most – maybe Gloria or Cam. The writing for both shows is genius. 

I cannot function without my morning coffee. As I like to say: ‘I drink coffee for your safety, folks.’

I pet bees. Honestly. I love them and we keep talking about getting hives.  In old books, you read about how bees were creatures of great wisdom and if something happened in the house, you had to tell the bees. Now, when I am wandering in our garden in Co Wicklow in Ireland, I see the bees clustering around the lavender and the catmint, and sometimes I softly – incredibly softly – stroke a soft fluffy one. I pick them up when they are grounded too or upside down on the path. They know I am helping. I have never been stung. 

I have a messy desk. I know this is bad because all of the books on decluttering tell me so. I don’t actually know where anything is. I touch a piece of paper about 400 times, instead of the three times you are supposed to according to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, some of which I have actually read.

I am a UNICEF Ireland Ambassador – this is hugely important to me. It means I travel to places and report back on what I see, like the fact that one in five children in Sub-Saharan Africa won’t live to see their fifth birthday. That’s true horror.