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Weekend Q&A: Food writer and business woman Ella Mills, aka Deliciously Ella

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Ella Mills. Pic by Sophia Spring

Ella Mills. Pic by Sophia Spring

Ella Mills. Pic by Sophia Spring

Best known for Deliciously Ella, her food blog in which she champions plant-based living and her bestselling cookbook of the same name, Ella Mills grew up in Rugby, England, and studied history of art at college. She married Matthew Mills in 2016 and together they have launched five ranges of plant-based food products into more than 6,000 shops across the UK and Ireland. The couple's daughter, Skye, was born in 2019, and they are expecting a second child. Ella has published five cookery books.

What was the first book you loved?

Oh The Places You'll Go by Dr Seuss. I've started reading it to my daughter and love it even more now, it's a great read. What's your best holiday memory?

We took our daughter away for three weeks over Christmas last year, neither of us were able to take much maternity or paternity [leave] as we run the company together. In 2015 we went on an adventure in Thailand and Singapore, it was amazing.

What is your biggest fear?

I'm quite a nervous person and definitely do have quite a lot of fears - heights, flying and sharks are the top three!

What are you most proud of?

Our daughter, Skye - she's just complete heaven and being her mum is the biggest blessing in my life. Parenthood is hard, as is pregnancy, and we're both learning so much every day - it's added so many new dimensions to our lives in the best way and taught us a lot about ourselves.

What's your least attractive quality - and what is your most?

Least? I have so many feelings, I can definitely be an emotional roller coaster and can spend too much time worrying about things. Most? If I'm passionate about something or someone, then I'll give that thing or person literally everything I have. I'm very all or nothing.

What's the first thing you'd do if you were Taoiseach?

Meat-free Mondays, lots of cooking lessons in schools, introduce little gardens that the kids can learn to grow their own veggies in and start a real nutrition and wellbeing curriculum covering food, exercise, sleep, stress, mindfulness and meditation.

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Who would you most like to go for a pint with?

I've got a real love of history and would quite love to meet someone like Henry VIII and ask about all his wives, or Queen Victoria, but then meeting childhood idols like the Spice Girls would be a dream too, or someone like Oprah.

What fictional character do you most identify with?

My favourite character from a book is in Any Human Heart by William Boyd. The main character is Logan Mountstuart and the book gives the most brilliant depiction of the ups and downs of life, I absolutely love it.

What is your most treasured possession?

Our photo albums. The memories in there are absolutely everything.

What's your guilty pleasure?

I hate the term guilty pleasure, it's just such an oxymoron. If something is a pleasure, like baking a gorgeous double chocolate cake, a batch of cookies, making some margaritas or so on, it shouldn't have negative connotations of guilt.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

'Live life as though everything is rigged in your favour' and the second is one my mum always said to us as kids, 'The more you put into something, the more you'll get back'.

What item in your wardrobe do you wear the most?

I feel as though I've basically been pregnant for two years now. I had about five months between Skye being born and getting pregnant again so it's basically leggings and t-shirts every day, so wonderfully stretchy! I am very excited to rediscover my wardrobe again next year.

What did you learn about yourself during lockdown?

The importance of finding presence, of trying not to look too far ahead or behind and just enjoying where we are today. Easier said than done. Yoga really helps me cultivate that mindset and every guest we've interviewed on our podcast - neurologists to psychologists and even Buddhist monks - seems to agree that it's the key for happiness.

What keeps you awake at night?

The pregnancy need to pee all the time! Aside from that, it's normally business worries. Running a company can be very intense and there are days and weeks when the stress gets you. Guided meditations at night make a huge difference, they've been a game changer for trying to overcome a racing mind.

What's your greatest passion in life?

My family and sharing my passion for a natural, plant-based way of life.

If you had to choose three adjectives to describe yourself, what would they be?

Loyal, committed, loving.

What's your favourite film?

Either Four Weddings and a Funeral or Pretty Woman, both just such feel-good classics. I watched Pretty Woman at the start of my labour with Skye. It was the best distraction.

What's the last TV show you binge-watched?

Oh we've done so many during lockdown - Little Fires Everywhere, Homeland, Unorthodox, Sex Education.

What one piece of advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Keep putting one foot in front of the other, nothing is ever as bad as it seems.

What do you regret not doing in the last year?

Nothing. I'm really trying as much as possible to live in today and not look back and wish things were different. It's easier said than done but it does wonders for my mental health.

What does your dream weekend look like?

Being somewhere sunny by the sea with my husband and daughter. The dream is that she sleeps until 7am not 5am, and then family cuddles in bed, a walk by the ocean, a swim, a big lunch, a nap, a massage, an early night and lots of play time with Skye. Bliss.

What job would you be terrible at?

Anything involving spreadsheets.

Do you believe in a God?

I do.

'Deliciously Ella Quick & Easy' by Ella Mills is published by Yellow Kite


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