Melanie Sykes on turning 48: ‘I don’t feel middle aged’
-Dec 3, Caroline Blight , Living -
Melanie Sykes is a busy, multi-tasking mum but she is determined to make time for her health both physically with a sensible diet and exercise, but also by making time and connections with her family and friends. She credits this with helping her come into her own as she has got older. We sat down and spoke to her about her relationship with her children, her secret for a great night’s sleep and how she feels about life after celebrating her 48th birthday this summer.
Melanie is leading by example when it comes to her children Roman, 16 and Valentino, 14, from her marriage to Daniel Caltagirone, making sure they understand how important a healthy lifestyle and family time is by making sure it’s part of daily life.
You look fantastic, how confident are you in yourself?
Well it depends on the day really. Some days I have great days and some days I don’t. You know I’m just like anyone else, but I put the work in and I take care of what I eat and that’s all I can do and so far, I think I’m a decent shape for my age! I turned 48 in August so yeah, I think I’m doing alright! Which is definitely not old. It’s funny really because you talk about middle aged and then you get there and think ‘God really! Is this middle aged?’ because it’s not how it was set up to be.
It’s funny how age doesn’t seem old when we are there!
It’s crazy! I know my mum who’s 20 years older than me probably looks at me and thinks, ‘You know this is the prime of your life’, and it is! You know, it’s changing. I don’t know why it’s changing but it is changing, thankfully.
You embrace social media but how do you make sure you have a healthy relationship with it?
There will be days and days where I don’t post anything you know. I post things that I’m reading or what I’m making. I think generally, yes you should put your phone down more without a doubt.
Do you set yourself time limits on your phone?
I’ve taken my phone out my bedroom, I don’t use it as an alarm clock anymore and haven’t done for the past year and a half, and I can’t tell you how much of a difference that’s made. Because it’s not the last thing I look at night and it’s not the first thing I look at in the morning. I read my book and get a really good night’s sleep now. Nothing’s flashing or its not there by my head, and it has made a huge difference.
Do you race to look at it when you get downstairs in the morning though?
In the morning, I have my breakfast before I even look at the thing so I’m giving myself space from it and its made a huge difference. Plus, my phone’s always on silent as well which I love so, it doesn’t interrupt me when I don’t want it to. You are in control of it, it is not in control of you. I think Instagram is great, it’s fun but it’s like anything – just don’t abuse it and you’ll be fine. I’ve definitely found a balance with my phone.
If you could give your kids one piece of advice what would it be?
In general, I think they know this. The boys know this – that they’ve got to be authentic to who they are. But what’s interesting actually, on one of my son’s school reports it said ‘he walks his own path’ and so I’ve done something right! And that’s been a big deal for me – that you are an individual, your thoughts are your own and you mustn’t be swayed by majority if that’s not how you feel. I kind of hammered that home and it seems through the report that it worked. One parenting win! (Laughing)
What would be your perfect family day?
It’s difficult now they’re big because they do their own thing. It’s usually at home… It would be at home because they don’t go out! They never want to go for a walk! That’s another thing I’ve got to work on is getting them outside. They are so not physical children, they like reading and my eldest is just always revising – it’s just mad! So yeah, it’s probably just being at home watching movies with them and cooking. The simple things.
Do you sometimes spend meal times together?
Every night. I cook a meal for them every single night and I catch up with them because you don’t really talk if we’re not at the table. But my mum did that. My parents – we ate every night at the table and talked about our day whether we wanted to or not and I’ve done exactly the same I think. There’s no sitting on the sofa eating your food, I’m quite strict about that.
So no TV on in the background?
No. Never TV. I mean I don’t even put the TV on in the morning! I just don’t want to watch the news, which sets my day up in a negative way. I’ve also ditched watching the news which has helped make me very happy.
Is there a specific tradition that has been passed down your family?
I would say that was it. That’s the big one – family meals every night and I love cooking as well. So, even though I’m tired I can still go home and throw something together that’s homemade, because you can. It’s a myth that it’s going to take forever to cook something fresh, it doesn’t!
Do you make New Year’s resolutions?
I don’t actually. If I need to make changes in my life, I’ll make them today. I don’t need the first of January to do that. I just don’t really get it. I go, I make changes and do them.
If you’re interested in Melanie see her website where she writes a brilliant blog or follow her on Instagram. She has teamed up with Burgen bread to call on Brits to discover new things and go for the good stuff. Whether that’s playing around in the kitchen with new ingredients to throwing yourself into a new workout routine follow the hashtag #DiscoverBurgen to find out more.