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Holly and Kelly Willoughby: "Having a sister is having the ultimate best friend" [INTERVIEW]

As their third book, School for Stars: Third Term at L’Etoile, launches we catch up with the Willoughby sisters about their shared love of Enid Blyton, which sister was the 'whizz kid genius', and how having their own children has made them reflect on growing up themselves...

Posted: 15 April 2014
by Catherine Hudson

Holly and Kelly Willoughby
School for Stars
Enid Blyton - Holly and Kelly's childhood favourite

What is the best thing about having a sister?

Holly: That we are the ultimate best friends.

Kelly: Ah, that’s a nice thing to say! *Whispers* I wish I had a brother!

Holly: No it is, it’s the ultimate trust. We couldn’t be any closer. We have lived together most of our lives. We bought a house together when we first came to London. I only moved out when I moved in with my now husband, Dan.

Kelly: And even then, I moved back in with you!

What are your earliest memories of reading as children?

Holly: Probably of Kelly reading to me. Kelly is older than me and learnt to read, like the whizz kid genius she was, at the age of two, and I was just a captive audience listening to her read all these stories. The Wishing Chair was the first book that I remember her sitting down and reading.

Kelly: My earliest memories are of Enid Blyton books – anything and everything by Enid Blyton. Especially The Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair.

Holly: Peter and Jane was my first 'learning to read' book. I remember putting my finger over half of the word. I’m just starting this stage with Harry who is on his first steps to reading. I think he does what I did which is just look at the picture and guess. And he has a brilliant memory too, so sometimes when I pick up a book with him he can read it all perfectly and I think it’s amazing but if I just point at one word, he doesn’t know what it is.

Did you make up your own stories when you were children?

Kelly: All the time! Even sitting telling stories to teddy bears. I know where we get it from, because when my mum is in the playroom with the kids I can hear her making up the most random stories.

Holly: I also remember when mum bought us a cardboard puppet show and that really inspired us to make up stories. It was a great way to encourage imaginative play.

Why do you think children will enjoy reading your books?

Holly: Because it’s exactly what we would have wanted to read when we were children. It is a warm, lovely, wholesome story but there is always an adventure there too. There’s always a lesson to be learned, but without us putting a lesson in on purpose. Even if it is about something as simple as friendship. And it is things that kids will be going through, the same things at school – about exams, new pupils arriving etc.

How have you altered the style and decoration of you house since having children?

Holly: We have had to change how we decorate the house, since having kids. For example, all of my sofa covers come completely off and are machine washable. I don't think there's anything worse than a house where you have to panic about what children are doing and where they are doing it.

Kelly: I haven't changed much, apart from appreciating the genius of having installed flat front kitchen cupboards with no handles so she hasn't figured out how to open them. The child friendly locks drive me mad - it just ends up making me cross because even I can't open them!

What are the best things about having children around the same age?

Holly: They are friends, especially Harry and Lola who chase each other round laughing hysterically at each other. They adore each other. It’s great when we are all together, just sitting down watching them play and thinking, 'Wow, we did that'.

Kelly:  Yes and saying 'Wow, when did we grow up?,’ and, ‘When did we become the adults?’

School for Stars: Third Term at L’Etoile by Holly and Kelly Willoughby is published on 27th March by Orion Children’s Books, £4.99

Read more interviews...

holly willoughby, kelly willoughby, enid blyton, school for stars. books, reading, children, child, fiction, celebrity, willoughby

Discuss this story

I totally agree, Having a sister is having the ultimate best friend who can also help me writing my first essay. I know my elder sister is, she really cares for me and we do alot of things together.

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