Tina Hobley, the actress, radio presenter and mother of three, talks weekend retreats, must-haves for the kids and family fun in the capital
Where do you live in London?
Little Venice. It’s a hidden gem in central London with canal boats and green spaces. We love being by the water.
Describe a typical weekend for you and your family.
We tend to leave town on a Friday evening and head to the Cotswolds where we have a little place. That means plenty of long walks, cycling, pub lunches – anything outdoors, in fact. Except in the winter when we love hunkering down in front of a log fire. The Cotswolds is like our second home. It’s our retreat after the madness of the week.
We were married down there and the kids [Bella, 18, Olivia, nine, and Orson, seven] have loads of friends who live locally, as well as plenty of activities to keep them busy, like horse riding and quad biking.
What kinds of things do you love to do in the capital?
We all adore the theatre, we recently went to see Annie, which was fabulous. You can guarantee there’s always something interesting on at the Southbank, and it’s always fun to go and browse the markets, usually Columbia Road or Portobello.
Do you like to eat out?
The kids love international food, especially our local Chinese restaurant, Pearl Liang. They take their own chopsticks!
Where do you shop for the children?
What, for you, is the best thing about being a mother?
It has just been a privilege to create these little beings and watch their personalities grow, they really do make me laugh every day. It’s taught me patience and tolerance, and given me greater imagination just listening to their views on things.
How did motherhood change you?
I had Bella when I was in my late twenties, when I would often be filming for 12 hours a day. It was overwhelming at first, but with my mum’s help I was able to cope. In many ways that was the end to my carefree years – I had to learn how to look after my daughter and run a household while working. It was much easier second time around, with my husband, Oli. The five of us are a strong family structure, and he is a great support.
How do you juggle your work with family life?
I’ve always worked, and one way or another you just fit it all in. In my early years on Holby City my mother was incredibly helpful with Bella. I’m currently presenting the daily drive time show on Smooth FM, so I miss the early evening time with the kids, but Oli – who works in PR – is usually able to get home for that, and I’m always home for bedtime.
What items can your kids not live without at the moment?
Audio books are a big hit in our house right now; the children prefer David Walliams’ voice to mine! Their Isla bikes have given them great confidence – we all tend to ride together as a family. And they are also never without their Herschel Supply Co backpacks – my son’s is camouflage. He’s in adventure mode at the moment, and he takes his ‘survival pack’ wherever he goes!
Where are your favourite places to holiday with the children?
The kids love adventure and so last year’s island-hop around Thailand was magical. This year we had a very different holiday at Forte Village Sardinia, where they had daily tuition from their sporting heroes and the freedom to run around a beach and acres of gardens. In both cases, they were kept very busy, and those are the kinds of holidays we love most.
Where are your favourite date spots?
If Oli and I go out, we love nothing more than booking a sofa at an Everyman cinema and watching a film with a bottle of wine.
What have you got coming up in 2018?
Bella will be off on her gap year; she’s learning to be a ski instructor in Canada. The younger ones started skiing at four years old, so we hope to go and join her at Easter. We would also love to plan a big Canadian adventure next summer. We’ve sold the kids on the idea of wild bears, water rafting and whale watching. Workwise I will be presenting the drive time show on Smooth as well as my regular Sunday show on the station.