Hope you’re all well. My little girl Aoife Belle has just been chatting away to me in her new Irish accent – and it’s adorable! She picked it up while we were over in Ireland at New Year. It’s amazing how quickly young children can pick an accent up. She’s taken to calling me ‘Mammy’ rather than ‘Mummy’ now – I think she must’ve heard me saying it to my mother. She tried saying ‘Granny’ a lot while we were over there but that comes out as ‘Danny’ at the moment which is really cute.
While we were in Ireland my TV show Una’s Dream Ticket was on. I got a real kick out of seeing kids live their dreams and I watched a few of them back. I was really happy with how my solo presenting went but the most satisfying part of it all was seeing the smiles on their faces when their dreams came true.
Aoife saw me on the screen a couple of times but it was difficult to tear her away from her new presents – she couldn’t be separated from her new colouring book for days! She was so spoilt this Christmas – especially by my sister who bought her a huge hamper of presents. Aoife woke up to find that Father Christmas (or Santy as we call him in Ireland) had delivered her presents at the end of her cot – she was beside herself with excitement!
Hope you all had a great holiday. I had a really wonderful break, it was great to catch up with friends and family especially after such a busy year.
I feel really refreshed after two weeks off and I’m glad to be back at work. Yesterday was my first day back training and filming for Splash. I injured my toe before Christmas so it was a good job we didn’t have any training for a while. It’s still swollen and quite tender but I’m getting on with it.
Minus the injury I’m loving taking part in Splash. It’s a real challenge – there’s an awful lot to remember, but they start you off with the basics, then you move on to the 1m board and then 5m, 7.5m and 10m. I haven’t been doing very much off the high boards because I’m a bit scared of heights, plus I’m a perfectionist so I want to master whatever I’m doing before I go up there. I don’t want to be belly flopping down!
I’m in one of the later heats – if you tune in this Saturday night you’ll find out when you’ll be seeing me dive. Two people from each heat go through to the semi-final and then from that to the final. I’m just going to do my best, I’m not going to think about making it through. If I do my best then I’ll go away feeling like I’ve achieved something and I’ve learnt a skill. I’ve had a really good laugh and enjoyed the experience.
There’s a mixture of people who’ve never done it, some are scared of water and need to overcome that fear and some are scared of heights. Then you’ve got daredevils who go straight off the 10m without even thinking about it. That’s what makes it entertaining: we’re all different.
Tom Daley has been great to work with. He’s wonderfully talented and very encouraging – we’re learning from the best in the business. The day that I injured my toe I was meant to have my mentor session with him. He came over to have a chat with me and I decided that the show had to go on so he brought me up to the 3m board and did a few dives with me.
If you don’t get the dive right it can be very painful. I’ve got rather a lot of aches and bruises at the moment. When you dive off of one of the top boards you slap the water at about 30mph – if you mess it up you really know about it! The best way is just to push on though, I haven’t been put off yet.
Love Una xxxx
Hope you had a really wonderful Christmas and are getting ready to party all the way into 2014. I hope my Irish fans managed to see Una’s Dream Ticket over Christmas. I’d love to know what you think about the show.
My highlight with the band this year was us getting our number one with What About Us in back in March and I think the girls would all agree. We’d waited so long to get a single to the top of the charts so it meant the world to us.
Ben and I have had a great year as parents too. Seeing Aoife Belle growing up and changing all the time is truly amazing.
I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions because I find them very hard to stick to but I do have plans to have more structure in my life in 2014. The band’s schedule changes a lot, every week is different which is most ways is brilliant. It does mean that it’s hard to stick to a routine sometimes though and it’s easy to let your healthy eating routine or your exercise plan slip. Like a lot of people I’d just like to be a little healthier and get into good habits again in the New Year, nothing drastic or unrealistic though.
When I was shooting my Reebok campaign for the Spring/Summer collection I was very fit because I’d been doing a lot for the DVDs so I’d like to get back to that level again. I don’t follow a specific diet or do any juicing. That kind of thing doesn’t work for me and I think it makes nutrition more complicated than it needs to be. I tend to eat a lot of Mediterranean food and follow their principles like cooking with olive oil. That kind of thing gets me looking and feeling my best. Anyway, that can all wait until 1st January!
I hope you all have a very Happy New Year – thanks for reading my blog this year, it’s been great having you on board.
With lots of love and luck for 2014
Have you got your Christmas shopping done? I was pretty well prepared this year and am enjoying not rushing around trying to get it all done.
Aoife’s got a massive stocking from us this year. There are loads of toys, some cute clothes and a few surprises in there for her. She’s still loving Mickey Mouse so there’s a few related bits and bobs in there for her.
Having children brings back the magic of Christmas – it’s all the excitement, the waking up early and the sound of them playing with their new toys. As much as I love receiving gifts, I really like to give them to people too. I put lots of thought into what I buy my friends and family so I love giving the presents out and seeing their reactions.
Ben and I are like big kids at Christmas. We do a stocking for each other full of fun, silly things and we both love opening all the little surprises. Neither of us are particularly extravagant though – we both think that lavish gifts aren’t the way to show each other you love each other. Ben did treat me to a gorgeous eternity ring last Christmas though. That was a wonderful surprise but obviously it’s a once in a lifetime kind of gift so I’m really not expecting him to top that this year.
This is my last blog post before Christmas so I’d just like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas – hope you have a really lovely break.
Lots of love from Una xxxx
I’m really excited to announce that I’ll be taking part in Tom Daley’s diving show Splash! It’s been tough so far but I’m loving the experience.
Although I used to swim a lot when I was a child, diving is totally new to me so I’m really looking forward to gaining a new skill.
Swimming and diving couldn’t be more different. In a racing dive, you have to push off and propel yourself as far as possible, but in diving you need to learn the actual dive.
You’re going vertically down rather than pushing out which is very challenging. I’m not scared of water but I have a slight fear of heights which doesn’t bode very well but so far I’ve managed to keep it in check.
It’s been great working with Tom – he’s very professional and there’s so much we can learn from him. Tom himself has written on his Twitter profile that he’s a diver, not a swimmer – I’m totally the opposite, I think I should change my Twitter!
I started swimming when I was four or five years old and being back in the pool brings back so many memories – I even love the smell of chlorine!
There’s a real shortage of proper diving facilities here in the UK so there aren’t many opportunities for children to learn. It’s a real shame because it’s a brilliant sport so hopefully the show will encourage more children to take it up and more clubs will get the facilities.
The second series starts on 4 January 2014 so you can catch me diving then!
Love Una xx
We all had a really great evening on Wednesday for the Sats’ Christmas party. We went for a very unChristmassy Japanese meal at Nobu – we thought with all the Christmas food we’d be eating over the next couple of weeks it’d be better to switch it up a bit – and it was absolutely delicious.
It’s tradition for Rochelle, Vanessa, Mollie, Frankie and I to get together with our management team for a festive gathering. It’s nice to catch up outside of work and reflect on the year. 2013 has been a great one for the band – we scored our first number one with What About Us in March and of course Frankie and Rochelle have both become mums.
I’m so looking forward to a bit of Christmas indulgence. I normally end up eating twice as much as I normally do at this time of year but it wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t do that. I won’t be in Ireland for Christmas this year and I’ll be missing garlic crab claws like mad. They’re my dad’s signature dish and the best way to kick off the celebrations. I have to save myself for dinner though because I really love to tuck in and pile my plate high.
A typical Christmas for my family involves turkey, ham, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, carrots, sprouts, pigs in blankets. I can’t normally face dessert so just go for an Irish coffee instead. My dad makes them really well with the cream perfectly sat on top and a dash of whiskey. After coffee come the chocolates… Celebrations, Quality Street, Miniature Heroes – the whole lot! The purple Quality Street with hazelnut is my absolute favourite – everyone knows to leave it for me otherwise there’s trouble!
Then the board games begin – Scrabble, Bananagrams, Monopoly, Pictionary and charades are our favourites. When we were little my big sister and our big cousins would always have singing competitions too (the kind where everyone was a winner!). I still get really competitive over Christmas board games, it’s more fun with some friendly rivalry.
I’m starting to wind down for Christmas now. I’ve got all my shopping done and just a bit of wrapping left to do. Hope you’re all set too.
Love Una xxx
Hello lovely readers
How are you all doing? I’m so ready for Christmas now. I was just listening to The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York – that’s hands down my favourite Christmas song.
Aoife was too young to really enjoy last Christmas properly, I think this year will be a little different though. She’s been enjoying her advent calendar although I’m not keen on her having lots of chocolate so she’s got a tiny one. She’s actually got quite a sophisticated palette already. She loves her greens (broccoli is a current favourite) and she’s mad about avocados and even olives.
She’ll be sat at the head of the table for Christmas dinner, a little queen bee. Last year we were over in Ireland and we didn’t have her highchair so she sat in her stroller for lunch but this year it’ll be different. Aoife will be in the thick of the action with her cracker hat on and loving her lunch no doubt.
This year we’re spending Christmas with Ben’s family and some of our friends, I think there will be about 15 of us in total. Everyone will much in with the cooking – I’m planning to do a baked camembert and cranberry dish. She’ll be really spoilt by everyone and totally doted on on the 25th because she’ll be the only child there. Her big cousins are coming over on Boxing Day though so it won’t be just adult company though. On the 27th I’ll be flying with Aoife to Ireland to spend New Year with my family. Ben has got to go back to training though so unfortunately he won’t be able to join us.
Love Una xxx
Who watched the X Factor final? Sam really was outstanding, she’s a very worthy winner. Ben and I both had goosebumps when she sang – her voice is that good. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody sing so powerfully live in an arena. Nicholas was amazing too but when you’re up against a voice like hers, it’s very hard to compete. He’s a lovely little lad too and I think he’s got a really good future ahead of him.
It’s not always about winning these shows – JLS and One Direction are living proof of that. The atmosphere there was incredible and we had a great view of the stage. We caught up with Niall from One Direction just before they went on stage and he was on really good form as usual.
Ben and I are going to JLS’ last concert with Rochelle and hopefully the other girls can join us too. I’m so sad to see JLS go but what’s really lovely is that it’s not the end of them as friends, it’s just the end of them as a band. Rochelle’s been supporting Marvin at all the shows and she finds them really emotional. She said she cried at one of them – there’s a song they sing towards the end of the set that just really moves her.
I’m hoping I’ll be able to watch the Strictly final on Saturday night. I’m definitely team Abby. I’ve met her a few times, she’s absolutely lovely.
I can’t wait to share my Christmas plans with you soon.
Love from Una x xxx
Hope you’ve had a good weekend. Last week was a busy one for The Saturdays but one of my highlights has to be the ICAP charity trading day we took part in on Tuesday. Getting involved with good causes is one of the many things I love about my job. The ICAP charity day is a brilliant event where the company donates 100% of their revenues and their brokers’ commissions direct to charity for the full day.
The Duchess of Cornwall, Spencer from Made in Chelsea, Brian McFadden and his wife Vogue and Barbara Windsor were all there at the same time as us and Cheryl Cole came in just after we left.
it was so manic with all the phones going and people shouting across at each other but there was a great atmosphere. That kind of environment is totally alien to me and I saw what an incredibly high pressured job it is to be a stock-broker.
Our aim was to raise money for the JLS foundation which is supporting Cancer Research UK at the moment. Lots of different celebrities went in for different charities and I know that last year they raised millions so hopefully we’ll have topped that this year.
The traders really got into the spirit of things wearing fancy dress for the day – we got our photos taken with a few of them. They don’t get paid for the day and they don’t make any profit either. ICAP companies from all over the world took part for 24 hours so there’s lots of potential to raise money.
Poor Ben is recovering from his nasty injury at the moment. We were relieved that he doesn’t have to have surgery but he’s quite uncomfortable a lot of the time and has to sleep with a brace on his leg at the moment.
He’s actually spending more hours training now than he was when he wasn’t injured. He’s going in extra early to see the physiotherapist and continues with all of the training and weights, then goes back to the physiotherapist in the evening. Then he goes to the ‘chirochambers’ which are freezing cold to help reduce the swelling.
It’s all going well though and he’s feeling positive that he’ll be back playing in the New Year. He’s already two weeks through and they said it would be up to three months. Luckily he’s quite a quick healer. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!
With love, Una xxx