The DJ, presenter and mother talks about life in the capital with two young boys, and why meditation has changed her approach to parenting
Where do you live in London?
I live in north London and have done for more than 15 years now. The main reason I love it so much is the community feel – I know my neighbours and have some amazing local shops, and I’m within spitting distance of Hampstead Heath.
Describe a typical weekend for you and your family.
Weekends are really precious to us, as I work weekday mornings hosting the Virgin Radio Breakfast Show, we really try to make the most of our weekends together. We spend a lot of time out walking and riding bikes on Hampstead Heath. There is a great farmers’ market every weekend, too, and there’s nothing better than grabbing loads of delicious food and heading home to cook up a storm. I also love going to the cinema with the boys or catching up with friends at the pub for Sunday lunch.
Talking of precious time, you’ve spoken openly about using Quility, a mindfulness app aimed at mothers…
I’ve always been interested in alternative methods that can help me in my daily life. I’ve practiced yoga and have been an advocate of acupuncture for years, both of which have had a huge impact. Quility has quite literally transformed my life as a working mum, too. It helps me to focus, keep a clear head, and reminds me to take a breath before reacting to stressful situations. It’s about reminding mums and dads that they need to look after themselves first and foremost. That way, you’re going to be able to deal with situations that crop up as a parent so much better.
Do you find it helps you to maintain that work-life balance?
Yes! I love living in London but the pace of life is so fast, we’re all expected to do a million things at once. This app has taught me that it’s OK to stop for a moment – think, slow down and appreciate what is around me.
Which element of the app do you find most useful?
I find all the targeted meditation practices helpful, as I can fit them into my day-to-day routine. However, my favourite exercise is the body scan; it’s similar to the cool-down at the end of a yoga class. Step by step, you check in with all the areas of your body, from head to toe, then let yourself completely relax. Most of the time, we just go through the day on autopilot, without thinking about what we’re putting ourselves through, so allowing that time to stop and acknowledge your body is healthy. You can feel the energy shift from your head right down to your toes.
Are you encouraging your children to use these techniques, too?
This is something I really believe in and see a genuine benefit in my role as a mum, so I’m really excited to be able to share it with them. My oldest child, Rudy, who’s eight, did the body scan recently. He was genuinely interested, so I let him give it a go and he was like, “Wow mum, that’s cool”.
What are your other must-have apps?
I love podcasts and, in fact, have my own called Soundtracking, where I chat to directors, actors, musicians and producers. It brings together my love of music and film. I use a bus timetable app too – a must in London!
Where do you like to go with Rudy and three-year-old Spike?
We are doing a fair amount of skating at local skate parks at the moment. Rudy and I went to The Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead recently, that was a lot of fun. We also like ice skating at Somerset House and the Natural History Museum at this time of year.
What about when you want to escape the city, where do you like to head?
My home town in Scotland. I’m from a small town on the coast and whenever I’m back there, I never want to leave. There’s something about that crisp sea air that is hard to replicate anywhere else. Plus, my in-laws live in Gloucestershire, that’s pretty special. For a treat, I love going to Soho Farmhouse. It’s the best.
Finally, what for you, is the best thing about being a mother?
I love how it encourages you to remove some of the inhibitions you inherit through life. It’s OK to be silly and childlike, and have fun. We have a lot of fun…
Quility is available on Apple and Android. Visit quility.me