TV presenter and new mum Angellica Bell knows a thing or two about getting out and about in the cold of winter – and now she is encouraging families across the country to ditch cosy for cool so they can discover the winter wonderlands on their doorstep.
Bell, who last year went on an expedition to the Arctic Circle, has teamed up with Disney Fairies and nature experts to launch a new free guide to help parents set fun, fairy-inspired outdoor adventures for their children.
Disney Fairies has worked with nature experts at The Woodland Trust to pack the guide with things to do and watch out for while out and about this winter. It also includes activities for children aged 6-9 to do when they get back with their souvenirs of their outdoor adventure.
Here's what Angelica had to say about the new launch and being a first-time parent.
Hi Angelica! Why did you decide to get involved with Disney Fairies?”
I decided to get involved for various reasons; I’m a mum now and I completely adore the whole ethos of Disney and what it does for families and the magic it creates for young children, I’m hoping Elijah will buy into it so I can go to Disneyland with him. I’m keen on the outdoors and I think that young children should be involved in it, getting out there in the fresh air, especially in winter. I like to keep fit and it’s a really good way to keep fit when you’ve got children because I can’t get to the gym all the time. Christmas is also a really special time for me and my family.
Can you tell me a bit about the Winter Guide?
Disney have partnered with the Woodland Trust to come up with the guide, to encourage children to get out and find out about nature. It tells you about activities you can do, to help families get together, get outdoors and to appreciate a special time of year. I think winter sometimes gets a bit of bad press, people just think its cold, it’s miserable and so they stay indoors. Actually, it’s a really fantastic season; there are animals to find out about, plants to discover and so much to see.
You’re actually in the new film Tinkerbell and the Secret of the Wings aren’t you?
Yes, I’ve got a little part. I’m one of the frost fairies which is very exciting. With The One Show, I’ve done lots of filming of other people doing voices and how sounds work on film, so for me to have a part in a big Disney film is incredible. It’s really mad, because I thought I’m going to do this and Elijah, my son, will one day watch it and he’ll be like’ oh my gosh, my mums in that’ and he’ll probably think that’s really cool and everything else I’ve done is rubbish.
What would you say were your highlights and lowest points on 71 Degrees North?
It’s really weird, because when the call came in about the show I just said a flat ‘no’. I had another call about it and I met them, and I’ll be honest, before I did that show I wasn’t keen on the cold, I wasn’t a confident swimmer, and I thought why would I go somewhere that I wouldn’t pay money to go and see.
But for me the landscape was incredible, the fresh air amazing. We slept in the tents and you’d wake up and all you’d see was white, with the sun and the blue sky… it was incredible. So those were amazing moments, and also, we had no contact with home so you had to delve deep inside you to remember the positives about being home, what you love about your family and really use your own mind. Sometimes I think we get a bit lazy with phones, TVs and stuff like that.
The low points for me were when I’d do something amazing or when I achieved something, I’d have no one close to me I could share it with. I didn’t like water and I’d jump in the water and be crying my eyes out and asking myself “Where’s Michael?”. The people I was with I’d just met and they’re not close friends, they’re acquaintances from the business, and I felt like ‘I can’t share this with anyone’. It made me think how important my family is, and how important your close relatives are, so those were quite low moments.
The high points were the reindeer and seeing how people lived in those conditions - it was just incredible. It was idyllic, beautiful and I loved it. Oh, also, I saw the northern lights twice, it was magical, it was like fairies were there, it was wonderful.
How are you finding motherhood?
I love it, it’s the best thing. When I met Michael I knew I’d have children because he is an amazing man. It’s a bit of a cliché but you meet that person and think ‘he’s going to be the father of my kids’. Elijah for me, has been a joy, I have been blessed. He has been the most spirited, kind natured, happiest son I could ever wish for, and I love it. I just look at him and just think ‘this is what it’s about’.
You have a degree in politics, how did you end up in kids TV?
Can you find the answer for that and tell me, because it’s so bizarre. I never knew what I wanted to do or what I wanted to be. My step-dad had a degree in politics and he came into my life and opened my eyes to it, so I did the degree and politics and I was going to be a lawyer, I planned to do my law conversion.
I started temping at the BBC and I started exploring different things, I had done a lot of acting at school and at Uni and public speaking. I just think I was lucky and just fell into it, I don’t think there is any rhyme or reason why people get into TV. There are some people who really want to be famous, really want to be a TV presenter, I just sort of did it and got on with it. For me, I love my job, but I love my family, so if I had to I would do something else. I’ve got a back up plan; maybe I could be the Prime Minister or something.
The guide - launched by Angelica with a new Woodland Trust created fairy themed walk at Heartwood Forest, St Albans - is available to download online at www.disney.co.uk/fairies.