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Me and my health: ACA Models boss Alison Clarke on her lifestyle


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Busy lady: Alison Clarke

Busy lady: Alison Clarke

With husband Darren Clarke

With husband Darren Clarke

'Walking round the golf course supporting Darren gets my daily
step count well over the 10k steps target'

'Walking round the golf course supporting Darren gets my daily step count well over the 10k steps target'

Busy lady: Alison Clarke

The former Miss Northern Ireland 1982 has been running ACA Models since 1990. She lives in Portrush with golfer husband, Darren Clarke, and has four children, sons Stuart (30) and Philip (25), and stepsons Tyrone (21) and Conor (19)

Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?

I don't do any specific routine exercise but I am always on the go. My office is on the first floor of our premises and the team are downstairs so I am up and down the stairs like a yo-yo. My work keeps me active in other ways too, as I am always at shoots, events, shows, etc.

I live by the beach in Portrush so on my days off it's great to go for a walk along the beach.

I also travel with Darren a lot now when he is playing tournaments and walking round the golf course supporting him gets my daily step count well over the 10k steps target.

What is the worst illness you've had?

I haven't had any really awful illnesses - thank goodness. I've only ever been in hospital for childbirth. I have been running my business every day since 1990 and I've never had a day off sick, apart from having to pop into the Jubilee at Belfast City Hospital to have my second son Philip. I left work the day before he was born. In those days you were in hospital for a week after childbirth. When I got out of hospital, I was back in ACA office with a week-old baby in with me.

I did have my wisdom teeth taken out in my 20s before I had children and it really was more traumatic and painful than anything else.

How healthy is your diet?

My diet is relatively healthy. I love fruit and vegetables so they are a big part of my meal plan, together with fish and chicken. Being a former beef farmer's daughter, one of my favourites would be a good steak cooked rare, pink in the middle and juicy. I rarely eat takeaways but I do love going out for dinner in some of the great restaurants here in Northern Ireland. My favourites are the Ramore group in Portrush, Zen in Belfast and Amici Italian in Portstewart.

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With husband Darren Clarke

With husband Darren Clarke

With husband Darren Clarke

Any bad habits?

Yes of course - I'm not 100% angel! As well as liking healthy meals, I adore unhealthy snacks and sweets. I can devour a family bag of Revels on my own very easily and quickly. I love all those gummy sweets like Wine Gums, Fruit Pastilles, Sports Mixture and Haribo. Chocolate bars like Turkish Delight, Fry's Chocolate Cream and Cadbury's Marvellous Creations are also favourites. I try to limit them though and don't scoff every night.

Do you drink and smoke/ if so how much?

Normally I would have a gin and slimline tonic. If I'm drinking wine, it's either a chilled, crisp rose or a glass of a good red and perhaps a top up! I have the odd cigarette socially when I'm out and where it's possible nowadays.

Do you take any supplements?

I take biotin which is great for my hair. I get it in the US when I'm there. There are two chemist chains, Walgreens and CVS, and no trip to the States is ever complete until I get my 'fix' in either of those two stores. They sell great varieties of everything. I get a supply of the biotin, and of melatonin which helps you keep well after travel and assists with jet lag.

How do you take time out?

I love my bed! So on a day off, a long lie-in is a treat. Doing nothing is a great rest for me.

A nice long afternoon lunch with good friends is a luxury treat also - it doesn't happen often, and certainly not in these different times right now with lockdown, but it is such a fun day out and one of the things I miss right now.

How well do you sleep?

I sleep pretty well. I go to bed early when I'm working. Even when I'm not, if I'm at home I will be in bed by 10pm maybe. I definitely need at least 8-10 hours sleep. If I have a late night and then have to get up early to work, my skin will tell the tale. I get an unusual little pinkish lump below my eye. This tells me I need rest and with a few early nights it always goes away. I'm just not 18 any more!

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'Walking round the golf course supporting Darren gets my daily
step count well over the 10k steps target'

'Walking round the golf course supporting Darren gets my daily step count well over the 10k steps target'

'Walking round the golf course supporting Darren gets my daily step count well over the 10k steps target'

Do you worry about getting old?

I am already old! I just take one day after the other and deal with what comes along. I am age unknown! I've worked every day since I left school and more recently since all the boys left for university, I am able to now work remotely a lot more.

I have a great team in ACA Models office running the day-to-day bookings and queries. I am in touch every day, no matter where I am, so I guess I just forget about age and keep on going.

What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?

I really have been drinking at least two litres of water daily. I don't actually feel much different but it has to be good for me.

I picked this up more when travelling with Darren, as with various time zone changes your body can get mixed up and I think the water keeps everything flowing along inside you.

Belfast Telegraph