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Junior meets crafting queen and TV presenter, Kirstie Allsopp

The mum-of-two and property guru chats snow days, the joy of tie-dye and why she's happy to admit having help at home


Posted: 18 December 2013
by Fiona McKim

Kirstie Allsopp
Kirstie puts the finishing touches to a homemade snow globe.

You’re a very busy lady. Is there a trick to running a production company, being involved in so many other businesses and having a family?

I’ve always been very honest about how I manage to do what I do – I have a brilliant nanny, an efficient PA and a wonderful cleaner. My home and office is a tight unit and everyone gets on. There’s no hierarchy, it’s very harmonious and we all muck in. I’m very lucky.

You’ve strongly advocated celebrities speaking out about the help they have at home – why is it so important?

It’s just not possible to do everything and those that claim to are fibbing. If you’re managing a career in the public eye, a business and a family you need help with that, or else it all falls apart. It’s important that people know the reality and don’t measure their own lives by celebrities who have a lot of help.

What are your top three parenting must-haves?

A well stocked craft cupboard, a well stocked first aid kit and a sense of humour!

And what are the most important lessons you want to pass on to your family?

Make the most of family time, be nice to your siblings and laugh a lot.

On Location, Location, Location, you sometimes have to be quite strict with the house-hunters. Does your parenting experience help with that?

Next to death and divorce, house buying is one of the most stressful things people go through. People need hand-holding, coaxing and occasionally a bit of bossing about – I guess that’s a lot like parenting.

Do your children share your passion for crafting?

Yes, they love it. We recently spent an entire day tie-dying – by the end of it the boys had head-to-toe tie-dyed outfits!

Were you creative as a child? And can you remember any childhood projects?

Both of my parents are very creative. My mother was an interior decorator and my father worked at Christie’s for over 40 years. He’s also a very good painter. So I grew up in a very creative environment. My bedroom was always my project – I spent hours rearranging my dressing table.

How might a parent encourage their child’s creative tendencies?

I know I sound like a broken record but craft, craft and more craft. Most kids love it, anyone can do it and if they grow up crafting they will naturally enjoy creating things as they get older. Get to know your art supply store – they are a haven of treasures for all ages.

What other kinds of activities do your children enjoy?

We spend every weekend in Devon so my two kids adore being outside. Like most boys they will spend hours pretending sticks are swords and finding muddiest of puddles!

Now the cold weather’s arrived, can you recommend any home-made winter health remedies?

Good old warm lemon and honey is a failsafe remedy in our house.

You are involved with the Home-Start Snowflake Appeal - how did this come about?

I was introduced to Home-Start through a friend of my other half, Ben. After hearing a few stories about the families they’ve helped, I was immediately drawn in and wanted to help in any way I could. Often it’s the children who suffer the most and The Snowflake Appeal is a huge step in helping them through tough times that are not of their making. The work they do is truly inspiring and I’m so proud to be an ambassador for them.

In what ways can people get involved?

There are loads - from buying a snowflake badge or packs of exclusive Christmas cards, to fundraising with a snowy theme – whether you are sporty or crafty. And then share what you are doing on Twitter! I’d love there to be a great avalanche of donations and fundraising.

Are there any simple snowflake themed crafts that children could create to help the appeal?

In my new book, Kirstie’s Christmas Craft, we made a lovely 3D snowflake garland. I’m obsessed with paper decorations but they can be pricey, so learning to make this one was really satisfying and they look so beautiful when they’re all hung together.

Do you have a failsafe snowy day activity with your children?

There are usually several activities! Our favourite snowy day would be baking cupcakes, building a snowman of course, hot chocolate and a favourite movie in front of the fire.

Kirstie Allsopp is an ambassador for Home-Start’s Snowflake Appeal, raising funds to support vulnerable children across the UK. For more details, visit home-start.org.uk/snowflake or text SNOW23 £3 (or whatever amount you wish to give) to 70070. 

Follow her on Twitter @KirstieMAllsopp or buy a copy of Kirstie's Christmas Crafts from Amazon (£20, Hodder & Stoughton).


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Kirstie Allsopp, crafts, Christmas, tie-dye, snowflake, Home-Start
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