"I like to clean. I get great joy when the house is clean and tidy, it helps my mind. Tidy house, tidy mind," laughs glamorous 30-something Erin McGregor, who's just moved into her pristine new home in west Dublin.
It's a philosophy that may seem slightly at odds with her upcoming pantomime role as one of Cinderella's ugly sisters - after all, the beauty-challenged siblings wouldn't be seen dead with a brush or dustpan in the hand.
However, Erin's other talents as a performer make her eminently suitable for one of Dublin's top pantos - ever since she wowed TV audiences last year on Dancing with the Stars, Erin has been honing her performing skills. This is her second panto at the Olympia, and she feels, she's getting better and better on stage.
"I love performing, I love dancing and singing. When I'm practising, I have Mariah Carey blaring, and after a while, I think I am her," she laughs."The panto at the Olympia is like being part of a special family. The building is iconic, it's magic to be a part of that. I loved the other performers, and last year working on Aladdin, I made a forever friend of Rory Cowan. I love Rory. The Olympia is extra special to me because the panto people there were the first people who allowed me to be myself and encouraged me. I come from a hairdressing background and never dreamed I'd perform on stage."
Erin is the eldest of three kids - she has one sister, Aoife, a make-up artist and, of course, her brother is 'The Notorious' Conor McGregor, the MMA fighter.
Originally from Crumlin, the family - particularly her mother, Mags, who went to the Gaeltacht in Cape Clear when she was a teenager - were big into the Irish language, and the kids went to the local gaelscoil, and later Colaiste Ide. Then, when she was 16, Erin started an apprenticeship as a hairdresser. "I was nearly born a hairdresser. I used to cut my dolls' hair, my Barbies' hair, I was always doing everyone's hair," she explains.
However, two years into the apprenticeship she became pregnant with her daughter, Taylor, who is now 19. It looked for a while as if she mightn't finish her course, but Erin says her parents were brilliant and enabled her to go back and finish it when Taylor was a baby.
"They looked after Taylor and insisted I finish it," she enthuses. "They instilled a brilliant work ethic in all of us. Their attitude is, 'If you want something, work hard at it'. Hard work and determination, that's what's really important."
"Having Taylor gave me a huge sense of purpose," Erin adds. "It gave me the drive to finish off the apprenticeship. I didn't want her to miss out because I was so young having her."
Once she qualified, Erin, who was a single parent, worked consistently as a hairdresser, and even had her own salon for a time, though she gave up hairdressing completely when she had toddler Harry, who is now three-and-a-half. "I wanted to take time out and spend it with my new baby," she says.
Harry's dad is Erin's partner, Terry, whom she met five years ago. He is Irish, but they met in Las Vegas - she was over there for one of Conor's fights, while Terry actually works at the fights; he emcees the fight nights.
"I was at a smoothie bar; Terry was nearby in the company of someone I knew and he called me over. Afterwards, he asked me out, but I was playing hard to get, as you do," the bubbly Dubliner laughs. "But both my mam and my best friend encouraged me to go on a date, and here we are, five years later," she says happily. So far they haven't got around to marrying, though Erin says they've talked about it and plan to in the near future. "Next year, 2020, is the year of the heart - who knows, he might get me the diamond," she jokes, adding that the tattoo on her foot is the Chinese symbol for love.
Erin is very into symbols, portents and signs - they resonate with her passion for spirituality and positivity, reiki and meditation. She says that started when she began to feel anxious shortly after Taylor was born, and she was looking for ways to deal with the anxiety. The book The Secret is her Bible - and she actually introduced Conor to its philosopy. "I'm a huge fan of the laws of attraction, which is all about if you see something and you believe it, you will receive it. For example, if you see something in your career, your relationship or your home, if you see it in your mind's eye, and believe in your heart, you'll receive it from the universe," she explains.
She's a huge believer in positive messages, and she makes sure to start each day with one. "I'm all about positivity. And making people feel better about themselves. Hairdressing was all about that, and that was what I loved about it. I didn't want anyone to leave my chair without feeling better," she says, adding, "It's the same with panto, it makes people feel better, forget their troubles."
She says anything that helps people to feel better is a good thing. "It's so important to look after our mental health."
She posts her positive messages on her Instagram page, and they obviously resonate with many people; she has a following of 137,000. As a result, a lot of companies want to work with her. One of those companies, Chase The Scent, has just collaborated with her on a scented candle, which appropriately, given her love of a clean house, has the scent of fresh washing.
"I love it," she says. "I love the fact that I got to design a candle. To me, candles are all about family. My mother and mother-in-law would often say, 'I'll light a candle for you,' when someone has a problem, and, of course, a candle symbolises a light in the darkness for so many people."
Her candles abound in the new house which she, Terry - who's also a singer - Taylor and Harry moved into eight weeks ago. They picked west Dublin for various reasons, one of which is that her mother, who is an amazing help with Harry, lives nearby. "There was a multitude of reasons we ended up here. One was other houses fell through. A bit like other boyfriends and partners, they were not meant to be," the petite blonde laughs. She was thrilled they fixed on this one, as there's a perfect creche nearby for the adorable Harry.
When they moved in, the house was brand new and empty. "There was nothing here then. We slept on a mattress on the floor the first night, just for the excitement of it," she says.
However, in the two months since then, she has transformed the house with the help of interior designer Cathy Egan of Egan Interiors. "I love decorating," Erin says. "Hair, beauty fashion, interiors, they are all an extension of your personality, and I get as much excitement out of picking interiors as I do out of buying fashion."
And judging by the separate dressing room and walk-in wardrobe, she buys a lot. Dior, Gucci and Chanel bags are all around, but she insists "all the nice things are gifts" as she decides between a pair of YSL logo earrings and YSL snake earrings.
The master bedroom, which also has an en suite, is at the top of the house and is like a separate suite. There are four other bedrooms, one of which is also en suite. There's a beauty room, with Hollywood-style mirrors; a main bathroom; and at ground-floor level, a kitchen/dining room, and a large sitting room.
All the floors are herringbone by Matt Britton. "Floors, I think, are like shoes and handbags, they're lifelong, so you should buy the best," Erin says.
Most of the walls are painted in neutral shades, but the decor is delightful with its wallpapered feature walls, and velvet sofas.
There's no denying Erin likes a bit of bling too, and the house abounds with metallic lighting, an abundance of mirrors, and touches of sparkle. Even the cowhide rug in her make-up room, unlikely and all as it might sound, has a metallic touch. "I'm attracted to sparkle. The goal is to get a big diamond. No pressure, Terry," she jokes, adding, "I love glam, but I also love comfort."
It's obvious that it's a house in which people find it easy to relax. People seem to come and go all day, including her sister who puts a stew in her oven. Her mother pops in, as does her mother's best friend, Ger - Erin calls her, "My aunt who isn't an aunt but who's better than an aunt."
And it's obvious Erin loves all the callers. "More than anything, I want my house to be a home where anyone feels welcome, safe and secure. I want it to be the heart and the hub, where friends laugh and cry and tell stories and solve problems," she says.
And, of course, a comfortable place to relax after a hard night at the panto.
'Cinderella: The Story of Cinders and Her Fella' runs from Friday, December 20, 2019 to Saturday, January 4, 2020 at the Olympia Theatre, see olympia.ie
#ChaseTheScent, pharmacies nationwide
Edited by Mary O'Sullivan
Photography by David Conachy
'A room is not a room without natural light," said the renowned architect Louis Kahn. Maximising natural light is often the dilemma of those extending their homes - how to make rooms in the house bigger without ending up with dark holes elsewhere.