Nadia has been homeschooling her children for five years
Not a lot of people know this, but I’m very good at… listening, communicating and cooking. Of course, everybody knows that already because I’ve milked and mined everything I’m good at to the absolute limit.
My best friend is… something I don’t like to say and I’ve been trying to steer my daughters away from saying it. You don’t hear boys say it in the playground and I think it causes huge problems between girls because it promotes terrible favouritism. At this age I have a few friends and they’re all my best friends because they’re all the best people that I’ve met in my life.
My nickname is… Nana. The kids started that. It’s a very affectionate thing, but it means when I’m out everyone thinks I’m a grandma.
The bravest thing I’ve ever done was… give birth without a gin and tonic. I didn’t know you could have one, but a midwife told me that the thing to do when you first go into labour is have a large G&T. If only I’d known that…
My favourite TV show is… Unorthodox. Don’t miss out on it. It’s stunningly brilliant.
My perfect evening is… having family and friends over for a lovely meal that I’ve cooked. Followed by loads of great conversation, two glasses of wine instead of six and finding a box of chocolates I didn’t know I had at one o’clock in the morning when we’re having coffee.
My first kiss was… with a boy at Dulwich College when I was about 13. It should’ve been totally magical. He was a very well off boy and it was in a lovely garden in a beautiful house with How Deep Is Your Love by the Bee Gees playing. He had these loose locks of hair and he was taller than me with these slow eyes. Everything was going good, but then he locked on to my face and did the washing machine. I couldn’t breathe and I thought I was going to die. What a swerve.
The best thing my parents taught me was… My mum taught me how to cook, which I’m so grateful for. The best thing my father taught me was to be a freelancer. I love to live on the edge. I like to be scared – it makes me feel alive. You get to choose more of your life as well. Being in a secure job would’ve been the worst thing for me. My brain is too scattered and my energy is all wrong for that. Every time I get offered a proper job – I was offered a two-year contract with The One Show at one point – I run a mile.
My biggest regret is… as a mother, it’s that we chose a private education for our children. As my own person, it’s being so messed up for so much of my life about the way I looked and wasting decades thinking about that. I could’ve found a cure for cancer if I’d spent that much time thinking about it instead of my body.
I’d like to say sorry to… my parents. I was chaotic for a long time. I was a heavy drinker, a heavy partier and all that stuff must’ve been difficult for them. I didn’t think about how horrendous it was for them to see their child unhappy or making mistakes. You just don’t think about it until you have your own children.
Nadia has two daughters, Maddie and Kiki-Bee
The last time I cried was… when I saw that photo of the midwife who rescued those three babies in Beirut. As I watched all of it unfold, I remember thinking, “How much more can these people take?” It’s so awful.
The first record I ever bought was… The Laughing Gnome by David Bowie. It’s cool because it’s Bowie, but everything else about it is so embarrassing. The silliness just really entertained me.
It’s not good for my image, but I like… Big Macs. I’m very into my cooking and I like making good, nutritious food, but I really love McDonalds. I can’t help it.
My greatest weakness is… myself. Nobody in my life has ever been as horrible to me as I have. I’ve been doing a lot of work on those nasty voices that live in my head and I’m much better at self-love now.
If I could pass any law… I’d make everyone who has a child do a course on parenting. I thought I was going to be an earth mother and that everything was going to come naturally to me, but I really struggled with it and I haven’t found it as easy as I thought I would. I think there’s a lot of shame in that. I think if we all had to learn about it, we’d understand that everyone struggles and we wouldn’t all have to hide away and pretend we’re doing a perfect job.
I drive… nothing. I was hypnotised to pass my test, but after I passed I couldn’t drive. They’d done such a good job that every time I got behind the wheel I felt like I was losing consciousness. It was ridiculous, so I gave myself a lifetime ban. Some people just shouldn’t drive and I’m one of them.
The shop I can’t walk past is… any coffee shop. I hated it all my life, but I started drinking it at 50 and now I can’t go past a coffee shop without having a cup.
The most expensive thing I’ve ever splashed out on is… my house.
My perfect Sunday is… getting up before everybody else to do a bit of meditation and some exercise. Then I’d go for a walk on the beach, have lunch in a pub with a couple glasses of wine. After that it’ll be back home to hang out with the brood and watch a movie – but I don’t want to be shouted at when I fall asleep on the sofa.
My favourite place in Britain is… Cornwall. We go there any chance we get and I’d love to end my days there. I want my ashes scattered in Cornwall – I just love it.
My last holiday was… to Cornwall – surprise, surprise. We went to Kynance Cove and my daughter, who loves Greece, said it looked exactly like that – which it does.
I’m currently reading… Hot Milk by Deborah Levy. Since my husband and I started to review books on our YouTube channel I’ve really got back into reading, which is great.
The best days of my life were… when I gave birth to my girls. My eldest was born on Christmas Day, which was as magical as it sounds. I had three miscarriages between the two girls, so when I had my second at 42 with no IVF or anything it really was a miracle. I never thought I’d have another baby, but there she was in my arms and she healed all the trauma that had come before.
If I had half an hour left on Earth, I’d… hold them all tight and have a major tickle fight. No matter how old they get they still love that.
Honey, I Homeschooled The Kids by Nadia Sawalha and Mark Adderley (Coronet, £14.99), is out now.