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out there, you're giving more, so what are the
repercussions of that? And you learn more on
your way."
So, was there a key moment when Fearne
decided to open up about her relationship with
wellbeing? "You know what? There kind of was.
The publisher I've been working with on my
cookbooks knew I loved yoga and wellbeing,
and said, 'Why don't you write a book about
happiness and wellbeing?' I'd never spoken to
anyone about it and said, 'Well, I can either write
a book that is along those lines, that's fluffy and
skirts around the meaty stuff, or I can go there.'

PHOTOGRAPHY Stephanie Sian Smith

"I spoke to all the people around me: 'Do you
think it's a good idea that I just tell the truth and
say it as it is?' And nearly everyone was like,
'Why not? Why not just say it like it is and be
honest? You know, what have you got to lose?
There'll be opinions, but there is with everything
you do. So, if it feels right, why not?'
"I tentatively started writing the book, just
to see, almost like when you're writing a diary:
what would come to the surface and what would
feel OK to write.
"It was very much writing the book Happy
that was, 'Here we go,' and then the night before
it was released, absolute terror, regret, 'why am
I doing this?' And then the day it was released,
'Oh, actually, this isn't so bad.' People are
reacting nicely and in a connective way, so I just
carried on doing it since then, really."
And the process continues to prove lifechanging? "Yeah," reflects our guest editor. "It's
changed my career massively and heightened
my interest in those areas. I've delved into it
more professionally and personally, but my
career has totally flipped which is great, because
I don't know how much longer I could be out

there hustling, 'Please put me on the telly.' You get to an age where you think, 'It's exhausting trying to
make everyone like me all the time.'
"I don't care if people like me or not anymore: I care if people connect with what I'm saying.
There's a big difference in that, so it's given me more autonomy and joy, really, to get to do stuff I want
to do." The next step in Fearne's journey is Happy Place Live, with both a north (Tatton Park, near
Manchester) and south (Chiswick House, west London) version. As she enthuses: "These are two
days of everything that I have found helpful in my life when I haven't felt so good: meditation, yoga
classes, healing therapies, sound therapy, the transformational breath, Reiki, reflexology, massage,
mindfulness classes, arts and crafts.
"One thing I'm very excited about is the Talk Stage. The most incredible line-up of people are going
to be sharing their stories, doing interviews, offering their own personal take on things, ranging from
depression, addiction, family estrangement, cancer - everything."
There'll be live podcasts with Joe Wicks, Russell Brand, Dame Kelly Holmes and many more. There's
vegetarian food, a shopping area, classes, a kids' area and all manner of things to nourish the body and
soul. It is, as fans of the titular podcast can imagine, Fearne's very own 'happy place'. Some wellness
events and products have come under fire for simply being too expensive, which is why Happy Place
Live is just £35 a ticket. It's something Fearne feels passionately about.
"Nothing I do in my life that combats stress, depression or anxiety is extravagant. The fact that I go
to weekly therapy is, but you can get that and access that. You can do it via the NHS; it might take a
little bit longer, but you can." As Fearne points out, her exercise regime is done for free: yoga, running,
going for walks without her phone, a Wim Hof-inspired ice cold shower, arts and crafts with the family
and interacting with nature.
"None of it is in that kind of, 'I need to buy this rose quartz mask and go to a Pilates thing, go to
a retreat.' I've never been to a retreat in my life. It doesn't interest me. The festival is £35 a ticket for
that exact reason; a price that is fair, that you could perhaps put some money towards, save up for if
funds were really tight, or that a friend could treat you to. We're not talking, 'Here's £200 to come and
experience...' It's £35. You'd spend that on alcohol on a night out. It's thinking about things differently.
"My dad has been a sign writer for 50 years. My mum worked four jobs. We were a working class
family, but my mum was still very much into, 'Let's look at the alternatives.' So, I don't worry about
it in that sense, because it's so not where I'm coming from and it's not actually my background. My
background is the working class, suburban kid growing up being very excited and curious about what
else is out there. All of my line of thinking - my books, the podcast, which is free, thank God - I want
it to be a conversation that starts
up that isn't just for this group of
people. I want to connect with a
group that's not my friendship circle.
"All my friends are people I went
to school with, and people I've met
along the way that I've connected
with who have interesting stories.
I don't care about where they're
from, what their background is. I've
got friends from all walks of life that
I connect with because we go to that
level. We want to chat about deep
stuff, and I think conversationally,
it's one of the biggest helpers. And
again, it's totally free, listening to
conversations and having these indepth conversations."
Balance can speak on behalf of
everyone who's joined forces with
this remarkable woman: as long as
Fearne keeps having conversations,
we will always be listening. B
To buy tickets for Fearne Cotton's
Happy Place Festival, please visit


Balance July 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Balance July 2019

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