Kirstie Allsopp interview

by Jane Gordon on Thursday, 2 February 2012

Kirstie Allsopp, 40, is best known for co-presenting the Channel 4 property programme, Location, Location, Location. She has two sons and two stepsons, with her partner, Ben Andersen, 51.

I'm not a true artist, but making things gives me enormous pleasure.
I didn't know I would be able to do crafts until I came to make Homemade Home and then took on the challenges in Handmade Britain.

I have never thought of myself as sexy. When I was 21, sexy was those androgynous girls with long legs in short skirts – not me.

Weight is not an issue for me; I've been the same size always.
If I were to go on an extreme diet, I would still be a size 12. I know what I look like in real life and I am fine with that, but TV is the most unflattering thing in the world and everyone on it is tiny.

I care about my appearance up to a point, but time is precious, so I'm always looking for shortcuts. Having a Brazilian blow-dry makes washing and styling my hair so much quicker, though on really bad hair days, the best answer is a hat.

I have a strong work ethic, but I'm very lucky that I love what I do.
I'm also fortunate that my work is flexible and I can build it around my family, to a certain extent.

I find it extraordinary that anyone should accuse me of being anti-feminist. I have a staggeringly equal life. I run my own company, I have to make a thousand decisions a day; decision-making is the blight of my life.

Just because I've said that I like making my partner Ben happy and that, at home, what he says goes, doesn't make me anti-feminist. I think, "Great, I've made enough decisions this week, let him make them today."

I've found someone in Ben who completely gets me. What more could any woman want? That whole marriage thing that people write – that Ben won't marry me – is daft and I think, "Do they really think that I'm this person who's just so desperate to be married?"

It's a belief of mine that you can only find true happiness if you're doing things for other people. That may be people you love or people starving in Eritrea, or it may be through your work. You cannot find happiness solely within yourself.

I wanted children from when I was very, very small.
My children give me so much pleasure. I love everything about them, and when they're happy, I'm happy.

When I met Ben, my stepchildren were aged just five and two.
Orion and Hal are adorable. I'm very lucky and they're the sun and the moon to my boys. But even if you're not lucky and you can't love your stepchildren, you have to do everything you can to facilitate your partner's relationship with those children.

My mother is an extraordinarily inspirational person.
She has had cancer three times in the course of 21 years and she is still going on holiday, still working - she is amazing.

Once a year, I like to go to New York for three or four days by myself.
It's great to wander round and pop in and out of shops, without the telephone ringing or without feeling guilty. It's my annual me-time.

Kirstie's Home Living range of bed linen is available in shops throughout
the UK, and she has also created a range of home accessories for Marks & Spencer.

This is an edited version of Kirstie's interview. To read the full article, pick up the March issue of woman&home, out now.
 

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