Shape I'm In: Claudia Carroll has got it all covered

AUTHOR and ex-Fair City star Claudia Carroll could barely see during her Leaving Cert because the area around her eyes was so covered with psoriasis.

Shape I'm In: Claudia Carroll has got it all covered

“I first became aware of it at school and especially at exam time. I’d be out in this red rash and the other kids would be saying ‘Eeow!’

“It does affect your confidence but it’s just one of those things and you learn to live with it,” says the Dubliner.

Claudia uses steroid creams for a week or two at a time.

“All they’ll do is keep it at bay. These creams are a ferocious price. I’ve found a new hemp cream which is really good and isn’t very expensive. Concealer is wonderful too!”

Aged 44 , Claudia’s latest book, A Very Accidental Love Story, is about a busy and stressed newspaper editor, who decides when she turns 30 to have a baby.

What shape are you in?

My job’s very sedentary. When I’m editing a book, I go at it very hard. Whole days go by when I’m sitting at my desk from 7am to 3pm. I’m a member of the local gym — the best gym for anyone is the nearest one because you’re more likely to go. I go four or five times a week.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I’m not supposed to eat gluten. My mother calls this a Celtic Tiger disease. I feel better when I’m not eating bread — I have more energy and am less bloated.

Flax seed oil bread is great. Switching to rice cakes has also helped.

But do I get my five a day? No, I don’t, though I’m pretty good with fruit, which I eat in the mornings. I try to eat one vegetable a day.

In the evening, I try to get a bit of broccoli or asparagus into me.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Chocolate — I get into a bad mood if I don’t eat any.

What would keep you awake at night?

I’m an insomniac — particularly if I’m over-tired, working very hard or stressed, which I can be if I’m up against a deadline.

How do you relax?

Going for a four- or five-mile walk really helps.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

I’d invite Michael Caine, who is a great raconteur, Peter Ustinov because I loved him on telly and Michael Parkinson because he would ask great questions. I’d also invite Graham Norton and Oscar Wilde.

What’s your favourite smell?

I love lilies. The joke in my house is you wouldn’t always find food but there are always lilies.

When did you last cry?

Recently, watching the last half hour of The English Patient. I was in floods.

What would you change about your appearance?

So much, but especially my psoriasis and I wish I had skin that tanned.

What trait do you least like in others?

Lack of punctuality is my pet bugbear.

What trait do you least like in yourself?

I wish I was more disciplined. I’m a bit of a procrastinator.

Do you pray?

Yes, I do, particularly when I’m stressed or I have a book out. It’s a very Irish thing, to say ‘say a prayer’.

What cheers up your day?

A trashy gossipy magazine and a bar of chocolate.

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