Dawn French-Christmas-Woman and home

I feel like I'm at the most remarkable stage of my life. I'm 55 and am finding so many new things opening up for me – new experiences, new opportunities and new love. I think I'm better than I've ever been at appreciating the small things in life. When I'm walking on the beach in Cornwall with a torch at midnight – like I was last night – those are the most blissful moments for me.

Publicly dedicating my new book to Biggs is a big step. I call him "My Anchor My True Love".

Biggs doesn't want the limelight. Our relationship is only out there because it was stolen - we were followed by a photographer on the local beach and pictures of us were published.

But I can tell you that Biggs is a remarkable person and he is my future - that's really what I want to say.

It was through my mother that I met him because they worked in a similar field and had been friends for 20 years.

The whole thing was a surprise for me because I'd met him lots of times, but I wasn't really looking at him. The whole thing came completely out of the blue.

I do want to stress that I have absolutely no regrets about my amazing, long marriage to Lenny. But this is an entirely different thing. It's a separate chapter of my life – a new beginning.

Christmas will be different this year because my mum died in March – that will make it different from any Christmas I've ever had as she always spent it with me.

People are going to be coming to me for practical reasons – I have the biggest table! We'll be about 20 this year, if not more – it's an open house and I buy loads of food so there's enough for whoever's around. I definitely won't be cooking - nobody would want to eat if I was!

Writing has become my great joy – I simply love it. I think my new book Oh Dear Silvia is a bit braver and richer than my first novel, and feel that I've pushed through a bit more. It is quite dark but there's plenty of humour too, and I think that's me.

As for Jennifer Saunders and me – we always talk about things we'll do together. We talked only recently about writing a movie together - and we say "we must, we must", but we then start talking about life and our families and we don't get round to it.

Over Christmas, Jennifer and I are doing a few shows for Radio 2 and, in a way, that's just an excuse for us to spend some time together. We treat it like it's our social life - we choose some records and have a great laugh.

All I really want is more of the same for the year ahead. I'm living in Cornwall, a few doors from my best friend, my daughter is at college up the road, my bloke is close by and I'm writing books! I mean, hello - how good does it get? There have been some tricky things along the way, but I'm now at a very solidly good part of my life.

Dawn's novel

Oh Dear Silvia

(Michael Joseph, £18.99) is out now.

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

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