'Sandwiches - the more I can pile in there, the better'
Author Maria Duffy talks about exercising when deadlines allow, working through the night and her love of the humble sandwich.
Do you consider yourself to have a healthy lifestyle?
Most of the time, I do. Although, it depends on what deadlines are looming and how behind I am with things. If I have a deadline, I tend to glue my bum to my office chair and only get up for necessary things, like chocolate.
Do you do it willingly or begrudgingly?
Always begrudgingly at first. But, to be honest, I love it. I love how exercise makes me feel, and if I can just persuade myself to get up off my bum, I know I'll feel so much better afterwards.
What time do you go to bed?
Very, very late. I think I was an owl in another life. It could be two or three in the morning or, if I'm writing and the words are flowing, I sometimes go through the night. I have a friend who gets up really early to write and we sometimes email each other at the crossover – I'm heading to bed and she's just getting up.
What time do you get up?
I'm not a morning person so, if I had a choice, it would be very late. But, with four children to get up and out to school, it's usually before eight. At weekends, I usually stretch that a little but, once I'm awake, I can't stay in bed.
What do you eat at breakfast?
Breakfast is probably one of my favourite meals of the day. I usually have porridge or Weetabix first and then some toast. I'll either have scrambled eggs with that or, if I'm too lazy, I'll have cheese.
I'm a bit of a 'pile it all between two slices of bread' girl! I love sandwiches and the more I can fit in there, the better. My favourite lunch is two slices of really fresh bread (has to be bakery stuff, not boring sliced pan) filled to the brim with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, coleslaw, cheese and mayo. And, of course, you'd have to have a few crisps on the side!
I'm not really a dinner lover. I hate eating big meals and feeling stuffed. I much prefer to eat snacks regularly through the day. Of course, I make dinners for the family but I tend to dissect mine. I might pilfer a bit of chicken off my plate and store it away for a sandwich later. Or, I'd stick the potatoes and vegetables in the fridge and fry them into potato cakes the next day.
Now this is where I lose the plot. I love to snack. I try to be healthy and munch on carrots, nuts, fruit, etc, but the reality is, I just love eating. I know I've formed some really bad habits but I can't seem to sit down to watch an episode of Corrie without munching my way through it and I love having something to nibble on while I'm writing.
No, not usually. I should really be taking iron because my iron levels are low, but it tends to upset my stomach so I might take it for a week or so and then stop.
How much water do you drink?
I drink a lot of water. I don't really like fizzy drinks or juices so water is my drink of choice throughout the day.
Do you have a skincare routine?
Yes, I'm pretty good at looking after my skin. A friend of mine used to be a Vichy rep and she taught me a lot about skincare. I cleanse, tone and moisturise morning and night. But, sometimes, I wonder about it. My mam used nothing but a slap of Ponds Cold Cream all her life – she's over 80 now and has better skin than me!
Penicillin is the only one I know of, although I do tend to tell people I'm allergic to butter. But it's more that butter gives me 'the fear'! I don't know why, and I can't explain it, but put a slab of butter in front of me and I go into meltdown! All my friends know to remove the butter from my sight when we go to restaurants.
Of course, I'm going to say no. But, ask my husband – he might have a different story!
If I could change one thing about my lifestyle it would be...
The inconsistency... Because I don't work to set hours, things are often topsy turvy. I'd love to have a better routine where I exercise a little each day and eat at more regular times. But sometimes I exercise hard for a couple of weeks and then don't do anything for another few because I have a deadline. But life is good, so I can't complain.
The Letter by Maria Duffy is published by Hachette Ireland.
Health & Living