Una Healy on her children following in her footsteps and feeling 21 at heart
The Saturdays star and mum-of-two Una Healy talks to Prudence Wade about her perspective on ageing, looking forward to some 'me time' when school starts again, and how exercise helps her stay on top of her mental and physical health
UNA Healy turned 40 last year and her perspective on age has completely changed. The most important thing is "taking each day as it comes", says the Saturdays singer and radio presenter.
"When I was younger, I might have looked at 40 being older, whereas when you get there, you think where have those years gone? I still feel so young," reflects Healy, who is from Thurles, Co Tipperary, and whose other musical achievements include representing Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006.
"Why do I still feel like I'm only 21? But that's what you should do - you should always feel young at heart."
Turning 40, "doesn't feel very different than it did the last decade," she adds. "It's just another year - I'm so honoured and blessed to be still here in life, and feeling in good health."
Plus, she's been too busy taking care of her children Aoife Belle (10) and Tadhg John (7) during the summer holidays to stop and think about the passage of time. Healy is now based in Ireland to be close to her parents, and separated from her children's father (rugby player Ben Foden) in 2018.
While Healy says she's "so blessed" with her kids, who are at a "lovely age" and are "the best of friends", holidays can still be a hectic time.
The mum-of-two says she's always been an organised person, but has had to kick things up a notch with two pre-teen children: "I've got three diaries now to control - my own and my two kids' as well. The older they get, the fuller their lives become - so much more starts happening, so you have to be really on it."
That's why she's secretly looking forward to school starting, so she can get her "me time" back. "Whether it's work, or getting my exercise in every day," she says. "I think every parent looks forward to them going back to school to get that time back."
Exercise is a huge part of how Healy takes care of herself. "For your mental and physical health, it's so important to exercise and keep it part of your routine," she explains - even if it's something as simple as going for a walk.
Her kids take after her, in terms of sport and creativity. "My little son especially - he's big into sport. He wants to do everything, he's involved in rugby, basketball, running," says Healy.
"He wants to start boxing now as well, he's mad keen for that. My little girl, she loves running, but she's a lot more on the creative side of things. She said she wants to be an actress.
"It's exciting to see what they're doing, what they want to achieve, and to support them. My family were all so supportive of me when I was growing up, when I did my sport and then music, so I just want to be able to do that for them."
Like her children, Healy was flexing her creative muscles from a young age. "I always knew I wanted to entertain," she says.
"I used to do fake radio shows - and I now have my own radio show with Absolute Radio - [but I used to] record myself doing fake shows. Then I got out the camcorder and pretended I was a TV presenter, then I started writing songs when I was 12.
"That's when I knew I wanted to do music. You do figure it out fairly young, what you want to do, but I had a few other ambitions that I gave a go as well. They didn't work out, so you stick to what your passions are, and what you really believe in."
Aoife and Tadhg also share their mother's love of chocolate spread. "I've loved Nutella since I was a child - I have very vivid memories of having Nutella on toast with a boiled egg for breakfast," remembers Healy.
Healy recently saw her former bandmate, Mollie King, for lunch, and is thrilled about her friend's pregnancy. King is expecting a baby with fiance Stuart Broad, and Healy gushes: "She's doing very, very well. I said to her, if she ever needs any advice - I'm here on the other end of the phone, any time she needs me. She seems to be doing great and loving it. We're all very excited for her."
Before King revealed her news on Instagram, Healy says: "She put it in The Saturdays group chat. She said, 'We're going to need a bigger bus'. That was the line she said when we did a reality show one time. I think it was when I was pregnant, that was the line she delivered... So that was really cute."