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Me and my health: Candy Devine

Downtown DJ Candy Devine lives in Belfast with husband Donald McLeod. They have four grown-up children - Gordon, Iain, Fiona and Alistair and four grandchildren.

Do you get eight hours' sleep a night?

The answer to that is yes, but I sleep in shifts. I can't lie down for terribly long due to an old whiplash injury from a car accident years ago. So, I sleep for four or five hours then I get up and maybe go onto the computer and catch up on my correspondence or search online for ideas for my radio show. I might stay up for two or three hours and return to bed again at 7 or 8am. Then, I usually rise at 11am or noon. I'm not very good in the mornings.

Early bird or night owl?

I'm usually in bed late due to all my years spent as a cabaret singer when I was younger. When you're working late nights it's not a case of coming home to go to bed to sleep, it's a case of going home and starting to unwind. I like to sit up late reading or doing Sudoku puzzles and crosswords. My husband is the exact opposite — he's an 'early to bed, early to rise' type of person. He lives his life at the opposite end of the scale to me.

Do you have a high pain threshold?

I have a big problem with getting blood taken. I'd rather have a hole drilled through the front of my forehead or give birth than have a blood test! I had a bad experience about 20 years ago when they couldn't get the blood out of me. I must have the worst veins.

Apart from that, the only pain I would experience is my whiplash. I had an accident years ago when I was a young woman and the whiplash didn't show up until 10 or 11 years later. I went home to do a series of shows at the Sydney Opera House. I woke up one night laughing and crying at the same time — I couldn't move my head! I was in agony. My consultant asked me had I been in a car accident in the past and I looked at him and said: "Yes, I was. " He said that it was a very old wound. It goes to show you that whiplash doesn't always appear in the next few days after a crash, it can manifest itself later in life.

When was your immune system at its best?

In the summer. The sun brings a spring to my step. I'm just not a winter person. I expect my friends and visitors to stay away if they've got the cold as I would do the same for them.

Have you ever experienced depression?

No, it's not in my temperament. I'm too laidback. I'm very much a verbal type of person. If there's an issue, get it out in the open, deal with it. Problem solved. My family attributes it to my Polynesian genes. (My paternal great-grandmother, Sophia, came from an island in the South Pacific.)

Old wives' tales or as the doctor ordered?

I would trust my doctor implicitly. If there was some old natural wives' cure, as opposed to popping pills prescribed by my doctor, then I wouldn't mind trying the natural cure first. Sorry doctor! I grew up in an old-fashioned household and if I had a bad chest my mother would've applied a poultice. I got flat lemonade for an upset stomach and, of course, a lot of TLC which I think works for everyone.

When did you last visit the doctor?

It was last month for a check-up and I had to get a blood test. I nearly chickened out at the 11th hour. It's very hard to get blood out of me. I'm sure when the nurses at the surgery see me they're thinking, 'Here comes that lady with the small, bendy veins'. My husband says that even Dracula would have trouble getting blood out of my veins!

Last time you were feeling under the weather ... what did you do?

I had a nasty cold which I caught from a friend who didn't stay away! She's lucky she's still on my Christmas card list. I sat around feeling terribly sorry for myself. I dosed myself with lots of lemon and honey drinks and a few hot toddies.

Do you calorie count?

I couldn't think of anything more boring in this world which is probably where I've been going wrong all this time.

Do you eat your 5 a day?

Yes, I do. Although my husband is not a big fruit eater, I absolutely adore oranges and I make smoothies with whatever fruit we have in the house. We're very much a potato, meat and three veg family. I quite like sweet potatoes at the moment. I think they're beautiful especially when they're cooked in coconut milk. It's quite calorific though and maybe not such a good idea if you're on a diet!

Do you take any supplements?

No, I take Vitamin C sometimes in the winter, but I eat a lot of oranges so I don't really need to.

Do you exercise?

Are you joking? Actually, I've promised myself that when I get down to an acceptable weight level that I'll go swimming again. I do like walking, but I'm just not fit enough.

Do you believe in the mid-life crisis?

I'm still waiting for it to happen. It's the Polynesian in me. I don't think they go through any of that. I can remember spending time in Tahiti years ago and it was so laidback and friendly. If the people ran out of food they went fishing. If they ran out of money they went to a friend's house for food. There was such a caring and sharing culture there. It was like everyone was part of one big family.

Organic or ready meals?

I enjoy cooking and I prefer to support local businesses. I don't necessarily buy organic. I find with organic that it usually tastes much nicer than it looks while the opposite is true with ready meals as what you see pictured on the packaging doesn't always live up to what is actually inside.We wouldn't eat very many ready meals at all. I might keep one or two reserved in the freezer for emergencies.

Is sex vital to overall wellbeing?

Well, I'm sure it has its values but I wouldn't say that it's vital. I would say a well-balanced diet and quality sleep are just as important and there are other forms of exercise to be considered. You can call me a killjoy or a fuddy duddy if you like ... but at your peril!

Best advice ever received?

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone. I've my mother to thank for that one and she was absolutely right. A self-pitying attitude can be absolutely crippling. It can lead to depression and poor health.

Have you ever donated blood?

No, I've never donated blood and it's something I feel very guilty about because I know how important it is. It's an extremely important service.

The Organ Debate — would you?

Yes, I've no problem with that. I think it's a wonderful thing to do and there are so many people depending on organs today.

Hair of the dog?

I'm always the driver. I seem to draw the short straw all the time. When I do have a drink, I make sure to drink lots of water before I go to bed and the next day, also. I usually drink vodka and orange or a nice glass of wine.

Desert island must have?

Probably oranges! I love them ... and maybe a sneaky bar of chocolate. Don't tell my husband about that! If I'm allowed anything else after that it would have to be my Sudoku puzzles. Lastly, pen and paper so I can start writing a book.


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