Daisy Allsup chats to Fearne Cotton about her new book Yoga Babies, vintage fashion, margaritas and finding calm as a working mum.
South West London. We used to live in Ladbroke Grove but moved to be close to my stepkids and make life more straightforward.
What do you love and hate about London?
I love the eclectic mix of vibrant minds, vivacious characters and eccentric heads. It’s my favourite place in the world; it’s always buzzing. But it’s trickier as a parent. There is so much chaos. I yearn for calm, less traffic, less noise. I could never have imagined a life in the country 10 years ago, but maybe that’s in our future.
Favourite place to take the kids?
There’s a direct overground from where we live to Waterloo. Rex says shall we go to London today? For him that means the Southbank, the London Eye, Big Ben and, best of all, the London Aquarium. And I love taking my stepkids to Portobello Market.
We love your style. What are you favourite brands?
I always go back to vintage clothes. America is the best place to nd them or online at beyondretro.com. My husband often works down in Bruton and he discovered a fab vintage shop there, Swan Vintage. For a once-a-year treat I love Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood.
What about for the kids?
My kids live in band T-shirts. And Honey loves Fred & Noah leggings.
How long have you been practising yoga?
About 8 years, all types until I settled into Vinyasa. I did ante/post natal yoga with Rex and it was great, especially for getting my strength back post-birth. I couldn’t do it with Honey. I was sick for the whole nine months, it was horrendous!
Do you do yoga with your kids?
My kids are 4 and 2. Getting them to do anything for more than 10 minutes is a challenge. But I do a lot of yoga at home, little bits here and there, and they copy me. They think it’s hilarious and know all the moves. Does it make them calmer? I think calm at that age is relative!
Your book is written in verse. Did you always have the knack?
Yes I think I did. As a kid and a teenager I was always writing poetry, I loved inventing rhymes. I think it helps children to understand a story, they click in to it.
Did you enjoy writing for kids?
I loved it, especially working with the illustrator, Sheena, sorting out the characters. There’s a Rex and a Honey, but we invented the others. I wanted a redhead because I’ve got a redhead. And a Chinese character as Honey’s godfather is Chinese and teaches her the traditions. One had to have a runny nose, one had to have a cuddly bunny.
What’s your favourite children’s book?
The Faraway Tree. Magic.
What books do you like reading to your kids?
Rex loves the Mister Men. Then ‘Oi Dog’ and ‘Oi Frog’. Tom Fletcher’s new book, ‘There’s a Monster in Your Book’ is brilliant.
You’ve written two cookbooks. Do your kids help in the kitchen?
It’s their favourite thing. Whether it’s playing potions or dough- making or proper baking, they love it.
Have you got any fussy eaters?
Yes! Rex is good on protein, whereas Honey loves veg and won’t touch anything else. However much resistance I get, I continue to put new things in front of them; one day they might try it.
What would be your last meal on earth?
Mexican! Burritos and tacos with lots of guacamole and a large margarita.
Favourite restaurant? Santo, a Mexican in Portobello. And Lisa’s in Notting Hill is low key with great food.
You have nearly 2 million followers on Instagram...
I like to use social media to have fun. It works in many good ways – when I wrote my second cookbook I looked at how people responded to certain things in the first book. You can open conversations with people who like what you do and that’s great. But then there are negatives, and one of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn is not take it personally. It’s not about you, it’s about them. That’s a hard one to crack.
What are you top 5 Instagram feeds?
Zephyr Wildman – my yoga inspiration
Jonathan Yeo – my favourite artist
Brené Brown – an inspirational speaker and author of the brilliant book, ‘Shame’
The Joy Journal – my best friend’s uplifting feed.
Who are your heroes? My Dad, Dave Groll, Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Dawn French.
What music do you like listening to with your kids? We love 70s’ stuff. Bob Marley, The Stones, Faces, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin.
Yoga Babies is out 7 September 2017. Ages 2–4. penguin.co.uk
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