Sara Cox

Sara Cox

The lovely Radio 1 presenter Sara Cox is fronting a campaign for Heinz Get Well Soup and Starlight. The campaign is providing entertainment to children who are spending the festive season in a hospital ward - with the help of national children’s charity, Starlight.

This winter Heinz is spreading the love by encouraging children in hospitals all over the UK to ‘Get Well Soon’ and for every can of Heinz ‘Get Well Soup’ purchased via the Facebook page, Heinz will donate time towards providing children’s entertainment to those in need.

The minutes donated will add up to 65 pantomimes which will be performed in UK hospitals this Christmas. This year, children will enjoy a lively performance of Dick Whittington, which will help seriously ill children across the UK to forget about their illnesses and simply have a bit of fun!

Sara, who is a mum-of-three and avid charity supporter, talks to FemaleFirst about the campaign, her parenting skills and radio career, and her plans for Christmas

Hi Sara! What attracted you to the Heinz Get Well Soup and Starlight campaign - Why did you get involved?

Well I try to put my name forward for things that I believe in and that I can empathise with and I think this campaign is a really lovely idea; I like soup, I like children, so it was the perfect combination!

If you go to Heinz’s Facebook page, that’s another thing, I really like the simplicity of it – if you go to their facebook page you can order a tin of get well soup for a friend who’s a bit under the weather to cheer them up and Heinz will then donate time towards sending in the entertainment and pantomimes for children’s wards in different hospitals, which, obviously as a mum-of-three resonates with me.

Actually my two older ones have been in for very minor procedures but I just know that when your child’s not well, you’d do anything to cheer them up. So I think it’s great that we’ve got potential to do that for kids in hospital, and it’s quite nice not to receive a bunch of flowers to be honest, because you have to faff about finding a vase and you’ve got to arrange them, then get rid of the plastic and the ribbon and stuff, whereas with a tin of soup, you just eat it and I’m all about eating (laughs) – one of my many hobbies.

And the campaign will help entertain children with pantomimes, what was your favourite pantomime as a child and why?

I can’t really remember many as a child. It’s more taking my own kids now  - I saw Hook, well Peter Pan, with David Hasselhoff and Louis Spence last year. I mean I love them all, I think they’re just really good fun.

I’ll tell you what I do go to every year, I go to The Snowman, it’s at the Peacock Theatre and it’s basically ballet, and it’s just so beautiful. I always take the kids to these events, they’re little ones so they just love it!

How do you find managing a successful and busy career with parenthood – where’s the balance?

There isn’t any balance, to be honest. Some weeks I’ve got lots of time with the kids and I’m not very busy so then I feel like a terrible mother for not inspiring my daughters. Other weeks I’ll be letting somebody else read their bedtime stories and tuck them in while I go off to a charity do or go off to the radio, and I’ll feel dreadful and like a terrible mother. And there’ll be tears, like there were last week – I went out to host a charity night and I was in tears. My friend who works for the charity was coming over to my house to collect me and she ended up loading my dishwasher whilst I put my makeup on.  So there’s no balance!

But you know what – I haven’t even got a full-time job. I know mums who are lawyers and bankers and they see their kids mainly at the weekend. So I’m really luck that because I’m freelance I can get a lot of time with them. I’ve got Peppa Pig on the iPad being played with in the background now (laughs).

Then again, I sometimes think, “I don’t really know if this is very educational” because she’s [daughter] been sat in Charles Worthington with me all morning! But it’s nice to hang out.

To answer it properly, I try to do kids, work and if there’s some me time at the end of it then that’ll be spent at the gym. Actually, kids, work, charity, gym – because I’m quite embroiled with a bit of charity work. 

How would you describe your parenting style?

Haphazard, loving, quite shouty, though I try not to be shouty, but I just can’t help it. There’s only so many times you can calmly request somebody put their shoes on in the morning when the clocks ticking, it’s hard. Two of them are now at school – it’s hard getting out the door. We have to be out the door at no later that ten to eight every morning and you’ve got to get the school bags sorted and the kids breakfast.

But it’s a very huggy family and a very dancy family; we’ve got the radio on continuously. And it’s quite a foodie family, I make sure they eat well and so it’s a lot of love but it’s quite noisy as well. 

What’s the best parenting advice you’ve ever been given?

Well it’s not really advice but my daughter in her project had to say who her role model was and she said me because I’d got a job that I enjoy and I work hard. So I had a moment there, I thought, “I can’t be messing her head up too much by being a working mum!”

And my mum always says, whether it was your GCSEs or being a mum, “just do your best”, you can’t be perfect, you can’t put that sort of stress on yourself. I mean, sometimes we have omega-3 and six types of vegetable for dinner and sometimes they have pizza sitting on the sofa watching Rastamouse. You’ve just got to give yourself a break sometimes. 

What has been the most challenging aspect of parenting for you?

Well, to be honest, it’s kind of got easier as you go along really, because I think the first one’s always the shocker. That’s like, “What do you mean we can’t go to the pub at the moment? Oh, yeah we’ve got this small person here” and then you get so used to that, that two and three just adds to the madness really.

And you’ve been a Radio DJ for some time now – what’s the one most memorable interview you’ve done from your radio career and why?

Oooh there’s so many! Daniel Craig though was good fun because he’s kind of, he’s not serious, but he’s an actor, he’s not some happy celeb type. So if you manage to make him laugh, I mean if you can make people laugh then it’s good. But Daniel Craig is good to make laugh because he’s a proper actor.

I’ll tell you what, I interviewed Ben Affleck recently for Argo and he thought it was for a comedy show at the end. He was like, “That must’ve been for a big comedy show” and I was like, “It wasn’t, you cheeky sod!” He was hilarious, he was really funny, I liked him. And if you make funny people laugh, like Ben Stiller and people like that then it’s really good!

And you did the Radio 1 breakfast show for a few years – how do you think Grimmy’s doing?

I think he’s doing brilliantly! I love Nick, I’ve always loved Nick’s style on air. He’s kind of like if I had a much younger brother, I’m really proud of him. I think he’s got a lovely turn of phrase and I think he’s really funny. He tells a story very well, he’s very witty, so I think he’s brilliant. He’s continuing the long line of northerners who seem to be doing breakfast, after Chris as well. I just think he’s ace and we have him on every morning.

And you’re a mum of three, can you share some top tips for busy mums on getting organised this Christmas?

Laughs – change religions to a really strict religion that doesn’t allow Christmas. I’m trying to get all my shopping done by the end of November, it’s not going that well! I’ve got a few of the family kids sorted but I need to do a lot more, so I’m trying to be organised with it a lot earlier.

But also as mums, we run ourselves ragged, so you’ve got to ask for help. You’ve got to get your other half to wrap some presents, which I did last year, I was like, “oh yeah, he can help, he can work sellotape”. So instead of mums just thinking, “we can do it all”, because we can’t, just ask for help, make him help.

And also, it’s only one day. I get emotionally built up to for this 16-hour stretch, it’s ridiculous, it’s one day in a year. Yo don’t show that you’re a good mum just by creating the perfect Christmas day, you show you’re a good mum by wiping the noses, the bums and being there in the middle of the night. When they need you. 

What are your plans for Christmas this year?

I think we’ve got around 12 on Christmas day for lunch, so I’ll be doing that. Then I’m on Radio 2 Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and that Christmas week at 9.30 every morning, which will be very nice… eating my Heinz get well soup!

You’ve always looked fabulous! Do you think there’s more pressure on celebrities to keep in shape after hitting their 30s?

Well I do think your body changes. When you’re 20 you can kind of just skip a meal, lose half a stone and you’re really unhealthy. But now going to the gym is a nice side advantage for looking all right. But, for me, it’s about being strong and healthy and feeling good because I get loads of energy from going to the combat class or whatever. 

To be honest I see myself as a broadcaster, I’m just on the radio a lot.  So I don’t really feel like I’m getting papped on the school run with my belly in. I just keep my head down and get on with my job, cackling on like I am now to you!

Do you have a fitness/diet regime that you swear by, what do you do to keep in shape?

I do lots of classes. I can’t go to the gym and sit on those machines – I’m medically unable to run because I’m just that wonky all over. I ‘d love to be a runner but I’m no good. So I do body combat, Pilates and spin and whatever classes I can get to, body-balance and a bit of yoga. I love to swim. I do squeeze in what I can but it’s difficult to go when I’m so busy which is annoying.

I just love a class. I recommend to any women just to find a gym that’s got proper women there; lots of mums and lots of regular shaped women. It’s just that much nicer and a more chilled out atmosphere when you’re doing the classes.

Food wise – I don’t really drink much anymore. I’m kind of looking for a new diet actually. I don’t smoke and I don’t really drink often so I’m pretty good really. I’m very happy and very lucky. 

Finally, what’s coming up for you in 2013?

Well, old Ferny Cotton socks is off having her little bambino around January/February time so I’m in for her for the whole of the summer. I’m sure there’ll be big Radio 1 events, and we’ll be off to Glastonbury. I’m hoping I’m off to Eurovision with Scott Mills, that what I normally do and because I love it! It’s six months away – somebody tweeted me the other day and said it’s six months away!

I just want to keep doing radio, keep writing my little blogs that I do and just hanging out with my kids.

Sara Cox is supporting the Heinz ‘Get Well’ Soup campaign, in association with Starlight. Find out how you can help to provide entertainment to children’s hospital wards across the UK by visiting the Heinz Soup UK Facebook page.

FemaleFirst @FemaleFirst_UK

Shabana Adam @Shabs_A


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