So what's this new Persil Small and Mighty campaign all about?
It's a very fun campaign, it's very clever of Persil to do this it focuses on mums and the mini-miracles that mums do every day. Not in a huge way, but those small things that make their children's lives better and their partner's lives better. Anything from making a birthday cake, to doing a book-reading at the local school. Anything that's important and life enhancing. And what I've done is about using the washing machine to help find time to spend with your kids. That thing when you're rushing around all day, you're trying to do a thousand and one things, it's weird because when you're a mum you don't necessarily have a business dairy as you would when you’re a working mum and actually putting time in, when you say that you're going to 100 per cent focus on the kids is really hard.
So, Persil are saying the time it takes to do a 30 minute wash or a 40 minute wash, say 'I'm all yours, what do you want to do?' And even if that's just kicking a ball around, doing a bit of painting or getting the children to do some tidying up with you it's just engaging with them and doing something with them that's important.
So, it's a really nice campaign and when Persil came to me and said will you do it, I usually with those things say 'no', there's so many. I'm sure you speak to people who are doing corporates and being paid by the company to sell something and you just think their heart's not in this. And actually a campaign that celebrates mums and is sets up a website to chat and exchange ideas and everything and it makes me think 'yep, that's the kind of website that I want to be involved in'.
I think a lot of people in my generation are trying to keep something going that they had in their youth and they slightly resent the loss of that and I think probably that’s a mistake
You have your new arts and crafts programme coming up soon, do you want to tell us a bit about that?
It's crazy, totally insane. I spent yesterday at the Newhampshire and County Forest show and I entered a competition with a group of ladies from a WI. And basically what I'm doing is going round County shows and agricultural shows all around the country in Wales, Harrogate, Hampshire, Devon Cornwall, and learning new crafts in the way that I have in the previous shows but, now really putting my money where my mouth is. Now I’m really saying it fine to learn a craft on TV and go ‘ta-da’ here it is, Blue Peter style, but to actually do it 100 per cent yourself to test yourself and put it into a competition with others, who are more talented and whatever, is a totally different ball game. It has been tough, there’s a lot of homework, and its been difficult to find the time because of these 17 different new things that I’ve had to learn, 17 new things that I’ve had to exhibit you know and display and stuff. But I’ve really enjoyed it, I’ve not finished yet, and I’ve lost as many as I’ve won and to be honest I think I’ve lost more than I won.
And there’s a new series of Location, Location, Location coming out in August, which is really nice because we had a very interesting time filming that because conditions all over the country are very different , so what is selling in Middlesbrough is not what’s selling in Torbay. So people always ask me ‘what’s happening with the property market’ and I always say ‘it’s so regional’.
Well, you’re talking about all these different projects you do. How do you manage to balance home life and work life? Because you obviously have two children as well.
Well, I don’t work in the school holidays and the kids have broken up now and I’m basically winding down now. I’m doing a couple more interviews for Persil and I have a filming day on the 16th and 18th August and then I won’t do anything again till the 18th September. So that’s the first thing and that is an extraordinary position and privilege as most people just don’t have that. I don’t ever, ever have to work at the weekends and a lot of my work during the week; it may be three intense days and two days where I’ve only got a couple of meetings. So I can drop the kids at school and pick the kids from school have tea with them, have lunch with them, that sort of thing.
I’ve got my two sons, my son is five tomorrow and my little one is going to be three in August and then my step-sons are nine and 12. So, it’s very busy and everyone has their thing that they’re into and my step-son is really getting really good at the piano and the other one is very into ju-jitsu and there are different things that they’re good at. And, I think the thing for me. My job isn’t like other people’s job, I’m able to use my flexibility, it’s not like what average mums do working 9-to-5, 48 weeks of the year and I have top-notch help, I have a wonderful nanny who is absolutely brilliant and I feel very strongly that if you are.
The other day I done a cover shoot for a magazine and it was really good fun, really fun but I looked really glamorous only after two and a half hours of hair and make-up. And I think that’s really important, it’ a really important thing for me to say. No mum should read the magazines and think ‘oh, how come I don’t manage to juggle a top-notch job and four kids, how come I don’t manage to look like that’ and the reason is because most people don’t have that level of help that I have and don’t go into hair and make-up for two and a half hours at the beginning of everyday. And that’s a really important message, because I’m a great reader of magazines and I love seeing Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie and reading all the stories and getting filled in on all the gossip but luckily I know what it takes to make people look like that. And I know how it works. And there are days when I haven’t managed, I mean yesterday I thought I was going to be able to put my son to bed and the car had a flat tyre on the way home from Hampshire where I was filming and I didn’t get home till half-past nine, of course he was in bed long before I got back.
So, obviously they have the next six weeks off, so what sort of things will you be doing?
Oh boy things, really, really boy things. Anything that involves chainsaw or a bomb fire. And then surfing, where we live in Devon is quite near the sea and so surfing and more surfing. My other half is a great one for antiques shops. The children love coming along, one of them collects paper weights and we also have lots of friends with kids the same age so most of our stuff is having friends to stay. And doing stuff with other families and other kids.
I mean people always ask me ‘what’s the best way of keeping your kids entertained over summer’ and I always say, ‘other kids’. Other people’s toys are new to you, other people’s stuff is more exciting, and that’s how it is with children. So, if you make a plan for your kid to go to someone's house, you get the day off, or the day running errands and then you have their kids and they have a day, running errands and doing stuff, but I’m quite left behind sometimes in my family. I mean, I have to really get it together and do quite macho stuff if I want to spend time with the kids.
I think the most important thing to think is that your children are growing up really, really fast and your friends will always be there to a greater or lesser extent, and you can re-kindle friendships. And you will have the time, more than enough time to do the things that you want to do. I feel that I have a job and a family and a social life, I mean I see the friends who have kids who my children get on with, and it’s dominated by that because there just aren’t enough hours in the day otherwise and I think that, that is the big thing. I think it’s very hard, it’s very, very hard, but I think sometimes shrinking ones horizons and saying right ok for now it’s about the kids and about what goes on at home and my social life will revolve around other mums and dads and in a way if you do that sometimes it’s much easier.
I think a lot of people in my generation are trying to keep something going that they had in their youth and they slightly resent the loss of that and I think probably that’s a mistake. You have to move forward and focus on the enjoyment you get from the kids. I mean it’s really hard, it’s easy for me to say that because of the fact that I have help, if I want to escape I can but the thing is I don’t want to escape because I have my work. If you’re feeling bored and trapped, and a lot of people do sometimes I think having those conversations with other mums makes a huge difference.
What’s it like being tipped as a domestic goddess?
(Laughs) Well, my mum said the other day behind every successful TV presenter is an amazed mother and I think behind every successful TV presenter is an amazed TV presenter. I think that I’m not a domestic goddess, and this morning I was standing there doing poached eggs and they didn’t work out, and I was standing there going ‘how can you do poached eggs, when I do them they just don’t work out’ I can do them nine times in a row and then the tenth time they just don’t work. It doesn’t work lots of the time and then it just does work. A you just have to always try and I just don’t see myself as a domestic goddess and I never, never will.
New Persil small & mighty, which achieves unbeatable cleaning results in 30 minutes, has teamed up with Kirstie Allsopp to encourage mums to get creative when it comes to entertaining the kids. For unbeatable tips and to share your ideas, log on to www.persil.co.uk/minimiracles
Femalefirst Taryn Davies