Zoe Ball’s Guide to Surviving the Summer Holidays 

Allergy free sun-cream and Johnny Ball on call are just a couple of the TV/Radio presenter’s holiday essentials. 

When I was a child free flibbertigibbet  (this is me speaking by the way, not Zoe) my boyfriend used to work on the door of a club called Turnmills. He wore a peach RUBBER jacket, black sateen trousers and crocodile shoes (half pimp, half condom) and inspite of this I STILL went out with him. Anyway, one of the perks of dallying with a doorman was catching glimpses of the odd celebrity dashing through the doors. Well, just Zoe Ball and Norman Cook actually but that was enough glamour and excitement for me. Having seen them scampering down the nightclub steps all fun and frolicsome I’ve felt a special kind of fondness for them ever since and when I was offered the chance to chat to Zoe Ball about keeping the kids entertained over the summer holidays through Netflix Families I felt all nostalgic and that my clubbing days had come neatly full circle.

So, the holidays are coming up. What kind of things do you do to keep the kids entertained?

Woody has Eight weeks holiday so it’s a really long stretch. We have those negotiations about  MindCraft and X Box that everyone has but we’re really lucky that we are right on the beach here. When the tide goes out you get the wet sand. Wet sand is a big deal in our house, so when the wet sand appears the kids go out digging for shells and running about. It is really idyllic and there is nothing better than just watching them playing without a care in the world.

There are quite a few years between your kids – do they still play together?

Yes, Nelly is 3 and Woody is 12 so it’s a big gap. They can wind each other up every now and then but generally they get on really well. Woody will happily hang out with Nelly on the sofa watching one of her shows with her and doesn’t seem to mind. The kids play with their cousins a lot and when they get together they are like The Red Hand Gang. A favourite game is building dens with the sofa cushions and building camps. Simple things like that can keep them entertained for hours. I love it that they they enjoy doing all the things that we used to do as kids.

What about family films? Do you ever watch a film together?

We live in our Kitchen and we have this really tiny sofa in there that fell off the back of a lorry or something – I think a friend was getting rid of it. We all pile on there together and watch something on Netflix together which is really lovely. We tend to do that when the kids are tired and we’re winding down a bit. Nel loves Mary Poppins at the moment and Toy Story is always a good one.

What about you and Norm? What do you watch when the kids are in bed?
We love Arrested Development and Breaking Bad on Netflix. Parks and Recreation is great and I’m still working my way through Mad Men. If I ever get a spare afternoon without the kids I love catching a matinee at the local Cinema. There’s nothing better than 2 hours on your own in the cinema with no interruptions. You should try it!

Have you got any kids book recommendations?

Woody is really into the David Walliams books and Nelly loves Dr Seuss, Hairy McLairy and The Good Little Wolf is a favourite.  We love the Mr Gum books by Andy Stanton which is all about a crazy old tramp. The stories are really laugh out loud funny. 

Do you do funny voices when you read the stories?

Yes, I aways do the voices! I get really into it. Norm sometimes tells me off for getting the kids too excited at bedtime. He says you’re supposed be winding them down not getting them overexcited with silly voices! I am definitely naughty cop when it comes to bedtime stories.

What essentials do you pack to keep the kids entertained when you are going away on holiday?

Lots of books for both the kids, Crayons, make and do stuff for Nelly and then to be honest wherever we go the first thing we do is hit the local supermarket to stock up on lilos and water pistols and things like that. That’s the stuff they really love.  When Woody was younger we always used to get those super cheap army soldiers  – you know the ones that cost about 10p each? He would just spend hours lining them up on the sand and playing with them. That’s my top tip! They were excellent. 

What do you pack sun cream wise?

I always pick up that Organic kids sun cream from Waitrose as Nelly can get rashes and for us it’s Piz Buin  – the allergy one. And I still pack sun shirts for both the kids and sun hats.

What about you? What treats do you pack for yourself?

Something I really love is Decleor’s Aromessence Sculpt Firming Body Concentrate £44, which smells really lovely – like lemon sherbet. When you’ve had a couple of kids you need a little bit of extra help and this is great for tightening up your tummy so I rub loads of that in. 

Are you kindle person or a real book fan?

I love a real book. I’m reading To Kill a Mocking Bird at the moment  which is really gripping and Gone Girl is another one on my list.

What are your childhood holiday memories?

My dad would constantly take us up mountains on long walks to tell us all about the local ruins. These were the kind of trips I used to try really hard to avoid. When you’re a kid you do anything you can to avoid a long walk up a mountain but it’s really funny because these days we go on longs walks and we’ll find an old fort or something and call up my dad to give us the low down. Everyone crowds round the phone to listen to Johnny Ball giving us a mini lecture. It’s brilliant!

NB: Zoe is working with Netflix Families www.netflix.co.uk/families, a new destination designed to meet family’s summer entertainment needs.

PS: I married the man in the peach rubber jacket.

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