Under the microscope: Bettany Hughes
CAN YOU RUN UP THE STAIRS?
I can’t, to my eternal shame. I used to be so fit, but I have spent the past decade writing a book on top of everything else I do and exercise has been neglected.
GET YOUR FIVE A DAY?
Yes. I have been a lifelong vegetarian, so I am a big fruit and vegetable eater. My youngest daughter, May, 17, was diagnosed with coeliac disease last year so we have become gluten-free in solidarity.
No. I am naturally curvy, and am between a size 12 and 14. I’m 5ft 6in.
Chocolate. Green & Black’s or a slice of chocolate cake and I’m happy. I also have a soft spot for a bellini. For a couple of years in my 20s, I smoked maybe five herbal cigarettes a day.
EVER HAVE PLASTIC SURGERY?
No. I love my face ageing, as it is the story of my life.
MOST SERIOUS ILLNESS/ ACCIDENT?
When I was seven, I had surgery for a problem with my kidneys. They were in danger of failing due to a congenital problem. I had been sick and pale for a while but doctors just thought I was anxious about school. I’m fine now.
POP ANY PILLS?
No, but I carry a couple of tubes of effervescent vitamin C tablets when I’m filming in case one of the crew or I am threatening to come down with something. That does the trick.
ANY FAMILY AILMENTS?
None. My mum is 85 and my dad is 95 and both are doing well.
COPE WELL WITH PAIN?
Yes. I have never taken a painkiller in my life. Being self-employed, if I feel off-colour I carry on, as the money doesn’t come in if I don’t work.
Phobias: ‘I am not fond of cockroaches and I’m not very good at being alone in the dark. I leave the curtains slightly open so there is a chink of light in the room,’ she says
TRIED ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES?
I believe in the benefits of a good massage. Wherever I am, I will seek one out. I think they are very good as a preventative in terms of stress.
EVER BEEN DEPRESSED?
No. It was tough having young children and a freelance career, but the odd glass of prosecco and a bit of chocolate cake helped.
A walk in the fresh air.
WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT?
Having ideas. My brain often gets a bit buzzy, so if that happens, then I will go and write things down.
I am not fond of cockroaches and I’m not very good at being alone in the dark. I leave the curtains slightly open so there is a chink of light in the room.
LIKE TO LIVE FOR EVER?
Being immortal would be terrible, but to have the ability to resurrect would be quite interesting, just to see how the world is turning.
Istanbul: A Tale Of Three Cities, by Bettany Hughes (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £25)