Dawn O’ Porter on the year that changed us all: ‘Just live in the moment and make the best of anything good’

-Oct 13, Jenny Paul , Health -

Dawn O’Porter swore she’d never write non-fiction again – until the events of 2020 hit her like a sledgehammer and she found herself capturing the aspects of her life alongside what was going on in the outside world in a series of hilarious-yet-pensive daily blog posts on Patreon (sign up, it’s worth it, we promise!).

From losing her close friend Caroline Flack in unthinkable circumstances, to the Covid-19 lockdown and living as an expat Brit in Los Angeles during the racial conflicts, the Guernsey-born mum-of-two young boys wrote non-stop during a six-month period earlier this year. The result is a brilliantly addictive memoir – Life In Pieces – which is available to buy now from all your favourite book retailers. It’s a smart, funny, poignant read that’s like curling up with a close friend and putting the world to rights over a bottle (or two) of wine. Treat yourself, you’ll be happy you did.

Best-selling author Dawn O’Porter has just released a new memoir – Life in Pieces.

Here, Dawn chats exclusively to Lumity Life magazine about her new book, life in lockdown and what she’s learned following a year of chaos.

We are all huge fans here and delighted to hear you have a new book coming out – Life In Pieces what’s it about? Why non-fiction this time? we’d love to know! Tell us all… 

It was an accident. I was writing a daily blog throughout lockdown and my publishers asked if they could turn it into a book. I said yes but had no idea how that would work. We pulled it together by adding the essays. It’s really personal but of all the years, this felt like the right year to share feelings, despite saying for years that I’d never do non-fiction again. 

It must have been difficult being in lockdown in LA with two young children and so far from friends and family. What kept you sane? How did you cope? 

Like everyone else, I had some highs and some real lows. Young kids give you no choice but to keep getting out of bed and making food. I may not have felt very motivated but I had to keep them stimulated, so I guess I coped by keeping busy with them.  It was bloody exhausting. 

Do you get homesick for the UK? What’s the thing you miss the most? 

I’m always homesick. I miss my family, my friends and really good pub roasts on Sundays. 

The past year has been insane! What have you taken away from it/ what have you learned? 

To not bother planning for a future we can’t be certain of, and to just live in the moment and make the best of anything good that surrounded you.  Of which, you can usually find something no matter how bleak things feel. 

You cook some incredible meals according to your Instagram. What is your favourite comfort food?

Sausages, roast beef, mashed potatoes, roast chickens, pies. Ideally all in the middle of a big table so I can have little bit of each.  

Love the photos of the new house! That must have been fun and kept your mind off what else is going on with the world? 

Moving and renovating are the two most stressful things you can do. It wasn’t fun until we moved in and the work was done. Renovating in 2020 was a sh*t show. But now we are in, we are very happy.  

‘Anything happening to my kids or husband’ is what worries Dawn – pictured here with husband Chris O’Dowd – the most in life, the Sunday Times best-selling author says.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do once you’re all moved in? Open a bottle of wine? Invite friends over for a barbecue? Housewarming party? 

Have you heard of the pandemic?  (Laughs). We opened champagne, but it was just us. We were so happy to be in. We now have an upstairs, which means we can escape the kids. Heaven. 

What’s the one item of make-up you can’t live without? 

Dark brown eye shadow that I use as eye liner. 

What about wellness? Do you have any non negotiable must haves?

Lumity, of course! 

Do you still do Peloton? Or how else do you stay fit? 

I haven’t been on it in weeks. I don’t ‘stay fit’. I go through periods of time where I exercise a lot, and periods of time where I don’t. Right now I don’t because I can’t be bothered.  When I feel myself getting really tired and feeling low, I spring into action. 

Dawn with the finished manuscript for Life In Pieces – available to buy at all your favourite bookshops now.

We read that you’ve been getting into crystals (big fans over here) have you tried meditation too? 

Yes. I’m kinda into it, but I’m always too busy to find the time. Which I realise is the problem and why I need it.  

What is the question you wish people would ask you?

What can I cook for you? 

What’s the answer? 

Anything with pastry on top, thanks.  

Tell us about something that happened that made you feel good today? 

I’m wearing hand painted Lucy and Yak dungarees with bees on them. Also I took my kid for a flu shot and he didn’t have a meltdown. Two wins.  

What is the one thing you would do if you had more time? 

Read more. I miss having time to read and read and read.  

What’s truly important / something we should focus on more?

Walking aimlessly for an hour a day in nature whilst listening to music.  

What do you worry about the most? 

Anything happening to my kids or husband.  

What (or who!) inspires you? 

Everyone who manages to raise happy children and hold down a job at the same time.  

Also, we must mention Choose Love here, you and (husband, Chris O’Dowd) are avid supporters of this charity. What can people do to help? 

Rather than buy stupid gifts that no one needs, buy people a ‘Choose Love’ gift. Log onto the website and you can buy anything from a sleeping bag, or nappies for a baby, or camping supplies or even educational gift for refugees in the camps. We turn your money into that exact gift and get it to whoever needs it the most. You get a card saying what you got to give to someone in your life. Everyone wins.  

Where can we buy Life In Pieces? And when?

Wherever you buy books. It’s out in Hardback, audio and ebook. Here is the Amazon link.

Is there anything you wish we had asked that we haven’t? What is it? 

I have nothing more to offer 😉  

Dawn talks about her new book below. Follow her on her brilliantly addictive Instagram and sign up to her blog, it’s a much needed dose of fun.

Use the exclusive code DAWN for a 25% discount on all Lumity products.

Healthy Beauty 24|7

Sign up to our weekly newsletter