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'I'm someone who lives their life at a million miles an hour and never sits still'

A Place In The Sun's Laura Hamilton talks to Gabrielle Fagan about her love of being busy, learning to fly, and coping with trolls

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Laura Hamilton

Laura Hamilton

Laura with her children Rocco and Tahlia

Laura with her children Rocco and Tahlia

Laura Hamilton

Laura Hamilton is clearly delighted to be jetting off to help people find their dream holiday homes again. After a five-month break due to the pandemic, she is currently in Crete filming new episodes for the hugely popular Channel 4 series, A Place In The Sun.

"It's so good to be back," enthuses the vivacious, charismatic presenter (38). "During the eight years on the show, it's become part of my life and it's lovely getting together again with the crew, who are my TV family."

Not that she's been lounging around at home all lockdown - that's definitely not her style.

The mother-of-two - she and husband Alex Goward, an insurance broker, have a son, Rocco (6) and five-year-old daughter, Tahlia - has been busy homeschooling, helping run their restaurant and delicatessen, as well as redecorating their home in Surrey.

"I'm someone who lives their life at a million miles an hour and never sits still," Hamilton admits.

"I just thrive on being busy. I'm also obsessed about cleaning, so even at home, I'm rushing around," adds the self-confessed "adrenaline junkie", who's competed in TV shows Dancing On Ice and The Jump.

Here, Hamilton talks about coping with social media trolls, the future for travel, and how she looks after her health and wellbeing...

What's it like working on A Place In The Sun?

"I love it, and the years on the show have been even more memorable for me because during that time, I've got engaged, married, and had my two children.

"It's such a feel-good, positive programme, where you're making a big difference to people's lives by helping them buy their special holiday home. Some people who've bought properties get in touch to tell me how happy they are and send me photos, which is lovely."

Why did you buy your own place in the sun?

"We wanted somewhere we could enjoy relaxing breaks and holiday times. It's in San Pedro near Marbella, which is one of favourite areas.

"It's a great base if I'm in Spain working, and for the children it's a 'home from home'. They've travelled with me since they were three weeks old, but now they're in school I've arranged it so I'm only away for a week at a time, then home for two weeks, and when it's their holidays they join me."

How much do you think travel will change in the future?

"People will obviously need to travel responsibly and think about the safety of others, as well as themselves. I don't think they should be put off from travelling, which is such a part of our lives nowadays. In many ways, I doubt that will happen, as I think we all appreciate travelling even more because we've largely been denied it this year."

What's got you through tough times?

"My super-supportive family and Alex, who's my rock. He was wonderful recently, when trolling and negative comments about our family and business really upset me. I know as someone in the public eye, I may get comments, but this was directed at them, which I was not cool about.

"We kept our restaurant and delicatessen open during lockdown for home deliveries - a lifeline for many people, especially the elderly and those who were sheltering, and a community hub. I couldn't understand why we were being personally attacked for something so positive. I also wasn't well and the result was I had a panic attack. I've never had one before and it was very scary."

How do you look after your health?

"I struggled with my weight after having two children quite close together and was shocked to find that at one point, I was around 13 stone-plus, and I'm only 5ft 3.

"I'm constantly in summer dresses for my job and wanted to look good, but with the demands of two toddlers and working, just like many mums, I struggled to fit in time for working out and looking after myself.

"I overhauled my diet and avoid unnecessary sugar but eat well. I've got body-confidence now, which I realise is about loving who you are and not worrying about what anyone else thinks."

How do you look after your wellbeing?

"I've got a reputation among my friends for being someone who can deal with pretty well anything, and for being sunny and positive. I love pushing myself and testing my physical and mental limits. Taking part in two physically demanding reality shows, Dancing On Ice (2011) and The Jump (2014), was brilliant for me. I get such a buzz out of competing.

"Both shows put my body through gruelling challenges and taught me new skills. At the moment, I'm learning to fly so I can get my private pilot's license, which has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager."

What's your ambition in life now?

"I'm very ambitious when it comes to my career, but also I want to make my children proud and be a good role model for them. I want to teach them that you can be anything you want in life if you put your mind to it."

Laura Hamilton presents A Place In The Sun on Channel 4 and owns Lord Roberts on The Green in Surrey (channel4.com/programmes/a-place-in-the-sun)

Belfast Telegraph