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Me and my health: We chat to model boss Alison Clarke

By Helen Carson

Model boss Alison Clarke says she's no gym bunny, has cut down on the cocktails this month and, when she's not running ACA, relaxes by putting her feet up with a cup of tea in front of the TV. Alison is stepmum to Tyrone (16) and Conor (14). She has two sons from her first marriage, Stuart (26) and Philip (23).

Q: Do you take regular exercise - and, if so, what?

A: Not really, no - nothing. I did the Couch to 5k app for a while, but sport and fitness are not really my thing, despite the fact I have a gym at home. I go for walks along the beach and I am constantly running up and down stairs at work. Exercise and I are not the best of friends, to be honest.

Q: What's the worst illness you have had?

A: I haven't had too many illnesses, and touch wood it will stay that way. The worst and most painful experience I have ever had was getting my wisdom teeth out when I was 21. It was the most horrendous experience - it was more painful than childbirth.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: I do try to eat a healthy diet. At the moment there are two apples, two oranges and a bottle of water sitting on my desk, so I try to eat as well as I can. This morning I had a low fat Greek-style yoghurt with Weetabix and raspberries for breakfast, so hopefully that will carry me through until lunchtime. I am guilty of having an unhealthy splurge every now and again though as I love sweets and chocolate, but I do try my best. I don't eat cake or buns and only eat bread once a week - but I do enjoy it, especially when I'm on holiday.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: A family-sized bag of Revels and Fry's Chocolate Cream. My husband, Darren, recently lost some weight and is now totally anti-sugar - when we are in the supermarket he spends all the time reading the labels on the food packets to see how much sugar they contain. I am trying to cut down processed sugar, too - but it's hard.

Q: Do you drink and/or smoke - and if so how much?

A: I do both socially, but I have had a very dry September with just two nights outs when I had a few drinks. I have never really drank during the week, but when I am on holiday I will have a few cocktails as it is a more relaxed situation and I do drink more than I normally would. When we came home from our last holiday, I decided to drink less this month - when I do, though, it is usually gin or Prosecco as they have less sugar.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: I take Biotin and B vitamins for my hair because it is so thin - all sorts of supplements, actually, to help thicken it up.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: Because I'm self-employed I never really take time off, even when I'm not in the office or on holiday, I'm always checking back in with the office to find out what is happening with the business. I work every day and am modelling this weekend at an event. I do try to work from home one day of the week away from the telephone calls, so that I can take care of the accounts. Even when I'm on holiday there will be calls to the office where I have a great team who support me - there is something to do everyday. Modern telecommunications mean business owners can work remotely, so you can go on holiday - my hobby turned into my business. I live in Portrush so there are beautiful beaches where I will go for walks. I will meet my girlfriend every once in a while and we will enjoy walking the beach, and she brings her dogs. There is also nothing better than sitting down, putting your feet up and having a cup of tea and catching up on TV.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: I need a lot of sleep - I love my sleep and go to bed early during the week when I will be tucked up for the night by 9pm. I sleep pretty well and will be up the next morning by 7am, when I will catch up with the news before work. If I don't get enough sleep I will notice it, both in my brain and my skin.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: Yes, I don't want to be old. I quite like my life now. I'm not so keen on the ageing process, but I can't do much about it and it happens to us all. I won't get Botox or surgery as I'm too scared of pain and something going wrong - I don't want to be that person. I had a skin peel recently at Therapie which is natural and it removes dead skin and rehydrates your complexion. I inherited good skin and good genes from my mum.

Q: What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: Getting on the scales and seeing that I have lost a few pounds. I do watch what I eat and am always on some sort of diet - which is probably very unhealthy.

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