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November 27th 2020 / 0 comment
How does she stay so darned fit, upbeat and motivated? It’s all in the morning routine. But what made her have a little cry in our interview?
"I’m so excited!” says Davina McCall when I get her on the phone pretty late in the day after what must have been a long day of interviews. Excited about what, she doesn’t specify, but judging by the energy that crackles off her in the two times I’ve spoken to her in recent months, I’d say ‘excited’ is Davina’s default mode. After a year in which most of us want to crawl under the duvet, we could all do with drinking the Davina Kool-Aid. I’m keen to know how she gets out of bed so darned positive, so what we mostly discuss is her morning motivation and evening self-care routine (you can read chapter and verse from morning workout to lights out, below) but we also talk Christmas presents and the difficulties of seeing parents under new restrictions.
Davina, 53, lives in Kent with her three teenage children and dog Bo. She has a podcast Making The Cut with her hairdresser and now partner Michael Douglas as well as a fitness streaming platform Own Your Goals. Like most of us in lockdown, she’s living in workout wear (Lululemon and Sweaty Betty – currently SB’s “most amazing onesie jumpsuit, I'm obsessed with it. People are going nuts for it!”). But that’s a good thing. It means the daily workout is more likely to get done.
As Davina is an ambassador for Boots Christmas Unwrapped, I'm honour bound to ask how she's feeling about Christmas this year. “In the light of lockdown, people are viewing this Christmas very differently. All these really excessive gifts, going all out and with everybody having thousands of presents and wrapping paper everywhere and packaging all over the place, all feels a bit distasteful at the moment when money's very tight for people,” she reflects.
Affordable and thoughtful presents reflect the national mood (she points me to the fact that nearly half of Boots Christmas gifting range this year is priced at £10 or under). “Inexpensive gifts mean that you could give something nice to a neighbour who’s been good to you in lockdown, or if you've got a key worker that works on your street, think about other people outside of your family, who really deserve a break or deserve something nice, I think that would be such a lovely thing.”
Plastic and excess packaging too are a bugbear. “I don't know about you, but it really makes me sick now when I start seeing how much rubbish and packaging that we can't recycle that has to go into our bins and landfill,” she says. I know she’s paid to talk about Boots, but few can argue with the fact that they, like so many manufacturers, have made huge strides in combatting waste. “They have got rid of over 2000 tons of secondary plastic from range this year,” she adds.
She’ll be spending Christmas with her kids, but whether she’ll be able to see her parents who live nearby, is in doubt. Her beloved father has Alzheimer’s disease, and she previously told me how heart-breaking she found not to be able to hug him during the pandemic or to be able to explain why. They switched to a ‘salute’ which he gamely joined in with. Is he still saluting? “Yeah he is, he's so cute!” she says fondly. “I’m actually going to get a Covid test I think. You can buy them now,” (I point out that Boots offers drop-in Covid tests, which she’s delighted about). ”I'm going to get one so I can go and spend Christmas Eve night with them and them not be afraid.”
So what does Davina want for Christmas? Unexpectedly she tears up. “I've told my partner and I told my parents, I don't want anything. I just want a hug (I cry every time I say the word hug). And the minute we can, save a really big one up for me.”
Meanwhile, as promised, here's Davina's motivational self-care routine from morning to lights out.
"This year I got myself a daylight wake-up alarm. The light starts my day much better than any actual alarm noise; it’s the best way to wake up in winter. This morning I woke up at quarter past six to, basically, sunlight. If you set your alarm for quarter past six, the sunrise [the light on the clock] starts at quarter to six. Over half an hour, the light gradually builds until it is like daylight in your bedroom. And if you haven't naturally woken up in that half an hour before you have to get up, then you can set a sound. At the moment, I've got the dawn chorus. I use the Philips Lumie but they are quite spenny. But you can get others for around 30 quid!"
“If I’m at home all day, I have often made the great mistake of not looking in the mirror. As much as it pains me to do it, I’m trying to train myself because a lot of the time I've got salty tears that have run down my face in the night or I've got a bit of yesterday's eye makeup and if I go out for a dog walk, I’ll think people are looking at me really funny. Rather than waiting until about an hour after I’ve got up, I'm trying to get the mirror, splash my face down, do a quick check, brush my teeth and put on some moisturiser: normally Garnier Ultralift Anti Wrinkle Firming Day Cream, £9.99 I've used it literally forever."
"I also try to put up a little bit of makeup. It might just be an eyelash curl and some Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara, £22, and a lip stain but it'll be something. I'm obsessed with Charlotte Tilbury's Instant Look in a Palette, £49 which has got rouge in it, a little highlighter a bronzer, it's also got eye shadow – everything in one!
"You know I'm in a bad place If you see me on Instagram and I've got no makeup on. I should say that I do unfortunately check all my social media and news platforms when I wake up. I wanted to sound really good and healthy, but that’s what I do every morning."
"I've really got into making my bed. I'm very into the pristine effect. It feels like an amazing act of self-love to make your bed really nicely. When you come in and it looks like a show home bed, you're like ‘oh so nice to get into!’ I change my sheets once a week. They have to be white and crisp, I love White Company bedding (from £20)."
"On a weekday, I start the day in some sort of Lycra, if I'm not working. I just put on a workout outfit because it means that I'm always ready. If I start my day in civvies I am not going to work out, it’s never going to happen. If I'm in my workout gear and it gets three o'clock in the afternoon, I think, come on, back on! My Lycra is like my work clothes so I spend money on Lycra like other people would spend money on a suit for work. My workout stuff is Lululemon or Sweaty Betty. I like the Lululemon Align Pants and Sweaty Betty have got the most amazing onesie jumpsuit (Gary Jump Suit £95). It's not really workout wear, I think it's fashion. But I love it."
"Me and the dog, Bo, are best friends. I used to do uphill runs with Bo, although I really have to stop running with her now. She's quite ancient. What I'll do now is walk her at eight am get back to the house at nine then go on a half an hour run after I get back from the walk because she just she can't hack it, bless her."
"I don’t run every day; before lockdown, I would do Pilates on the reformer table which I love and I would run ten minutes there and ten minutes back twice a week. Now I don't want to run as much because it's not really good for my bones, but two five KMs a week is perfect. I do a real mish-mash of Own Your Goals workouts during the week. I love all of the trainers on there so I just pick something out of the air because I know it'll exercise the muscles that I wouldn't have exercised. I try to never do the same thing again and again because your body needs to be shocked into it, it needs to be challenged."
"I have also a vitamin D pill (Boots Vitamin D, £2.30 for 10mg) because it's good for your immune system. They are good for fighting Covid should it ever try and knock on my door. I also take a high dose vitamin C tablet again for my immune system. Boots do a mega tub of Chewable Max Strength Vitamin C 1000mg, £13, that taste yummy but are easy to eat. If something tastes absolutely revolting you are just never going take it."
"I try not to eat until after I am finished [with my workout] so sometimes I might not eat breakfast til ten. I will either have one and a half Warburton’s crumpets (two is too many) with butter. Or I'm slightly in love with Megan Rossi's Bio & Me, £4.99. I also have this weird idiosyncrasy; I do two-thirds of her granola with one third Grape Nuts, £11.87. Don’t ask me why. I love the crunch, but there is plenty of crunch in my granola. I don't know why but it's become a thing and I can't stop it. A word of warning with Bio & Me, if you're new to it, just make sure you're around friends while you're eating because it's very, very farty. It's just got so much frickin’ fibre in. You are supposed to eat 30 different types of fibre a week and it's got 15 different types of fibre in one bowl!"
"Sometimes I’ll make everybody a healthy English breakfast and we'll all eat together at 11.30ish. So, in that case, I’ll skip breakfast and have some fruit."
"For dinner, we'll have a family meal and I generally try to make something healthy. I do try and do home cooking for the kids but it's very simple home cooking a lot of the time. I don't want to guilt-trip people so I will often do fish in bread crumbs, something from the freezer section. I always try and make home-made chips, they take as long to make as an oven chip, that's not too much of a difficult swap out. My wind-down always will entail some televisual feast with my son. Watching telly together it has become a thing."
Afterwards, I will go off and bathe and we'll get into our PJs, I'll be on my social media checking everything and maybe posting things. Westlab Epsom Bath Salts, £14.99, are lovely. I'm also obsessed with Badedas bubble bath (Badedas Bath Gelee, £9.79). If you've got anybody in your family that is aged 50 or thereabouts, if you give them a bottle of Badedas bubble bath, they will go straight back to their childhood."
"I try to get in bed by eleven o'clock and lights out by half-past. I've just started trying to read again. I am also obsessed with Blinkist. It’s an app and it condenses books, it's so clever. You get a whole book in 20 minutes. It's great for biographies, not if you want to get all the nuances of somebody, but sometimes you will see somebody on the telly and you'll think, 'oh actually I want to know more about them. I'll quickly download their biography'. And then on a dog walk [with the audiobook option] you might listen to the whole biography of Martin Luther King! It's a really good way to absorb information in quite a succinct manner, sometimes on a walk I will have 'read' three books. It's good for self-help, career, success and personal development and makes such a good present."
"I love this eco range with BBC Earth. I don't know about you, but it really makes me sick now when I start seeing how much rubbish and packaging that we can't recycle that has to go into our bins and landfill."
Earth Eco Bathroom Starter Kit, £51 (was £42)
"Fashion designer Julien MacDonald has done like an amazing range. This is so, so good for teenage girls – it's makeup in the most fabulous packaging. It's black and gold animal leopard print and it's very sexy."
Davina image boots.com.