Angela Scanlon: As soon as you say home, I think Ireland, but lockdown made our house a home - The Gloss Magazine

Angela Scanlon: As soon as you say home, I think Ireland, but lockdown made our house a home

Angela Scanlon talks about making her house a home, navigating motherhood and why she reads self-help books …

For those who spent a large chunk of lockdown watching couples realise their renovation dreams in Your Home Made Perfect, Angela Scanlon might just have become a virtual friend. Cheerfully astute, you felt her joy for the homeowners who’d got it right, and clocked the raised eyebrows at the ones who could never be pleased. Scanlon first made her name on Irish television, appearing on fashion and travel shows before moving to Channel 4 and the BBC where she worked on Robot Wars with Irish presenter Dara Ó Briain. Then came Your Home Made Perfect and Your Garden Made Perfect and then came the pandemic. A plan for a new RTÉ show was shelved, and instead Scanlon sat down to write. The result is Joyrider, How Gratitude Can Get You The Life You Really Want, (Vermilion €19.95) a book that’s part memoir, part self-help manual, and all revealing about her own struggles with validation and addictive habits. Scanlon lives in North London with her Irish husband Roy Horgan and their two daughters Ruby Ellen and Marnie Fae.

ON HOME We moved to this house three years ago and it felt like such a grown-up move. It was the first time we’d had had our own front door – a gamechanger – and was a real step into adulthood at almost 40. It is in a quiet kind of neighbourhood with lovely neighbours. We shared food over lockdown. As soon as you say home, I think Ireland, but I do think lockdown made our house a home. A place that held us and minded us, and not just a place for work. I fell in love with the area too. I love the space and the peace. I lived in Hackney for years and it was very edgy and I recall feeling quite smothered. And then I went out of London for a shoot one day, and when I came back I felt everything shrinking. I thought, it’s Hackney, not me.

ON MY NEIGHBOURHOOD There is a little park down the road from us. Two Sharons have an amazing little coffee shop in cabin in the park with turmeric lattes and south American pastries, which they set up in lockdown. It’s just gorgeous and friendly and they know your name and your order. On St Patrick’s Day they had Irish dancers outside the coffee shop. I used to do Irish dancing outside Blanchardstown Shopping Centre so it brought back memories! Everyone thinks London is cold and busy but our neighbourhood is homely and warm.

ON WRITING I meditate quite a bit and really got into it over lockdown – it became part of my routine. I would have a cacao and do my meditation, and then write for a few hours. A good chunk of Joyrider was written in lockdown. I didn’t give myself any deadlines, I was quite easy on myself, what with having to juggle a small child and a husband working next door. Writing was something I always wanted to do. At school it was the thing I really enjoyed. I had a voice and it always felt natural. I was quite ready to show a part of myself. I felt ready to reveal. I couldn’t write fiction. I write as I speak. A teacher at school, Miss O’Keeffe, nurtured me and English became my best subject. It really changed how I saw my ability.

ON MY DESK I got a little desk during lockdown. It came flatpacked, no assembly required – three sides, top slots on. That is where I wrote. Now it’s a holy show of a desk – crystals, lists, books, a breast pump now too. I do like the idea of having A Room of My Own.

ON MY ROOTS I am one of four girls. We grew up in Meath, but my parents are from the west. My dad referred to us as “free range”. There is a wildness there coming from that Galway/Mayo connection. I feel like a culchie at my core. It’s a confusing mix for people. I cheer for Mayo in the football. Growing up in Meath was great but I was really quite keen to get out of there. I was happy at school if a little bored. I had a good time, good friends. But I always felt like I needed to fly the nest and I did that for years – going as often and as far as I could.

ON READING I am reading How To Be A Parent by Philippa Perry, a psychotherapist who is married to the artist Grayson Perry, in the hope that I can manage to not f *** up the children! One of my favourite books is Eimear McBride’s book, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing. It was harrowing and I loved her way of writing. It was this trippy journey, really brilliantly, angrily, written. I like reading biographies too. I want real life stories and to be able to relate to peoples’ experiences. Having said that, I’ve just read Louise O’Neill’s Idol, and really liked it. It’s very true to life, I think, this idea that if you fuck up, there is no mercy. It’s vicious when things go tits up and I think that’s a bad thing. If people are punished when they make mistakes, they stop trying. There is no room for growth, they are just hung drawn and quartered. But mainly I read self-help books. I don’t read to relax, I read to get better. To fix myself.

ON WHAT’S NEXT Well, Season 4 of Your Home Made Perfect is in the building phase now so things are moving a bit slower. I am taking the summer off as maternity leave and I am really looking forward to that. I launched a jewellery brand in October, and that’s a lovely thing to be able to do and it will keep me a little bit busy. My publisher has signed me up for two books and so they will expect something. I need to lie down for a while!

In conversation with Orna Mulcahy.

Joyrider, How Gratitude Can Get You The Life You Really Want, (Vermilion €19.95) by Angela Scanlon is out now.


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