DO YOU consider yourself to have a healthy lifestyle? Fairly healthy. I try to balance my sweet tooth with plenty of fruit, veg and wholegrains (all of which I also, fortunately, love) and I also attempt to counteract my fondness for wine and Guinness with exercise....
Do you exercise regularly?
I tend to do it in bouts. I'll go full tilt at something for a few weeks or even a few months, and then something happens – a change in routine, a change in the weather – and I'll get out of the habit for a while. Pilates, yoga and walking would be my exercises of choice, with sporadic running when I'm feeling particularly energetic (or have been particularly bold).
Do you do it willingly or begrudgingly?
I always start off willingly enough; the spirit is definitely willing, but the flesh can be weak. At the beginning of this year I signed up to run a half-marathon, but my training was hopelessly sporadic and eventually died a death, and I ended up not taking part. I was mad at myself for being so lazy and I'm vowing to give it another go next year, and to stick to it this time.
What time do you go to bed?
Usually between 11 and midnight – but I always read for about an hour, so it could be close to one when I'm turning out the light. Too late, I know, but particularly in winter when the fire is blazing in the sitting room I get too cosy to think about moving from the couch.
What time do you get up in the morning?
I'm a hopeless sleeper, so several times a week I'll be wide awake before five, and up soon after that, as I can't bear to lie in bed once I'm awake. This lack of sleep used to be a real headache when I was teaching, but now that I work from home it doesn't bother me much.
What do you have for breakfast?
I vary it. Typically I'd have one or two of the following: brown toast, porridge, yogurt and honey, eggs, berries. My neighbour keeps hens and whenever he passes one or two eggs over the wall I poach them for breakfast – sublime on a slice of wholegrain toast. I have a bread machine and make my own brown. I also have a juicer and used to use it a lot, particularly at breakfast, but my dentist told me to go easy on the fruit juices, so I'm more cautious with it now, and tend to juice vegetables instead for lunch.
Again, it varies – crackers and cheese with some fruit maybe, or a bowl of chopped-up mixed stuff, like cheese, tomatoes, apple and veg, or a glass of mixed veg juice and some yogurt.
A glass of wine before dinner – would you call that a snack? It's my pick-me-up after the writing finishes. I can't pass the fruit bowl without helping myself to something. And a day hardly goes by without some form of sweet stuff – a bar of chocolate (I'm particularly partial to Mint Aeros) or a bag of Maltesers or the like.
I also adore crisps, especially salt and vinegar, but I rarely buy them – I figure I'm doing enough damage without them.
Health & Living