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Me and my health: Grainne Maher


By Helen Carson

The 43-year-old milliner, who has designed hats for celebrities to wear at events such as Royal Ascot and runs Vault bridal shop, lives in Carryduff. She has three children - Sorcha (12), Cuan (10) and Seadhna (9).

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

While I don't belong to a gym, I walk at every opportunity. I live in Carryduff now, but when I lived in Belfast I would walk from the Ravenhill Road to my studio in Belfast city centre every day. Occasionally, I go swimming - about twice a month.

What's the worst illness you have had?

I was in intensive care on a life support machine following a really serious asthma attack when I was in secondary school. I was hospitalised on several occasions because of asthma. The attacks came while I was studying for my GCSEs and A-levels and were due to stress. I also needed to use Ventolin inhalers. Now, though, the asthma is much more under control as my life is a lot less stressful. Previously, I went through four inhalers a month, but now I barely use one - my consultants think I am a marvel. I also have epilepsy but again seizures were much more frequent when I was stressed, although I still take daily medication. Now I am much more positive.

How healthy is your diet?

Pretty good as I eat a lot more fresh fruit and vegetables now and less carbs. I've tried to cut down on dairy but I love cheese. I also love salads and am trying to follow a Paleo diet as much as possible which involves eating fresh fish, lean meat, no diary, sugar or grains. Breakfast is yoghurt and coffee, with salad for lunch and a home-cooked meal at night.

Any bad habits?

Maybe too many glasses of wine?

One of her creations

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

I've never smoked and hate smoking. I will have a glass or two of Pino Grigio twice a week, but I don't go out that much anymore.

Do you take health supplements?

Cod liver oil every morning. I don't take anything else as I feel I get all the nutrients I need from my food.

How do you take time out?

It's not easy with three kids and being self employed, but just relaxing is what I do in my downtime. I enjoy chilling out with family and friends, watching TV and just spending time with people who are important to me. I'm not really a party girl anymore.

How well do you sleep?

Very well. I usually go to bed around 11pm and am up at 7.30am. When I was a child I was awake a lot in the middle of the night with asthma, but that doesn't happen to me now - thank goodness.

Do you worry about getting old?

No, not really. I have managed to avoid wrinkles for 43 years as I don't lie in the sun so I'm not worried about growing old gracefully.

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

I've just started using a new five-step skincare regime which involves a facial scrub, toner, vitamin C, retinol and SPF. It leaves my skin so smooth - it's like a baby's bottom.

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