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Arabella Preston

Make-up Artist

& Co-Founder of Votary

Do you follow any specific way of eating?

No – I’m an everything in moderation kind of person.

What do you think are the most nutritious foods and how do you fit them in to your diet and life? 

Greens, greens, greens! Whether it’s frozen curly kale in my morning smoothie (thank you, Cal – best tip ever!) or broccoli with everything, or fresh spring greens from the veg box, I just never feel quite right without a daily dose or five…

Why is it important for you to feel (and look) healthy?

Both my parents were big foodies. The evening meal was hugely important to them as a ritual and my mum was always experimenting with recipes. It wasn’t hugely healthy, though – lots of red meat, dairy and wine was the order of the day. My mum did, however, have an amazing vegetable garden, which, even though I didn’t realise it at the time, had a big influence on me. She even had a thriving asparagus patch at one point… in rural Shropshire in the Eighties, pre-supermarket era, that was fairly off the wall.

What foods or groups of foods (if any) do you avoid?

I’ve found myself eating less and less red meat since I turned 30 – and I’m not sure why. I believe in listening to my body and allowing myself to make intuitive decisions – and I just can’t seem to stomach it any more.

 

riverford veg box

We also get a weekly Riverford veg box, which means I nearly always have something new to experiment with.

How do you fit cooking into your weekly routine?

I cook pretty much every day. I have a few signature dishes and I make sure the ingredients I need for those are always in the house. We also get a weekly Riverford veg box, which means I nearly always have something new to experiment with.

Do you cook and eat the same types of foods as your children? How do you satisfy their “kiddie” palette and still keep them on a balanced diet?

I have one fussy eater and one dustbin, who will eat anything! I can’t bear battles at the dinner table, so my only hard-and-fast rule is to never give them anything I wouldn’t be willing to eat myself. My most recent revelation has been to ditch the supermarket jars of pesto and make delicious homemade versions. It takes about a minute to put a bag of rocket, spinach, pine nuts, olive oil, Parmesan and garlic in the food processor.

I can’t bear battles at the dinner table, so my only hard-and-fast rule is to never give them anything I wouldn’t be willing to eat myself.

I think Jerusalem is probably my favourite. His passion for the ingredients and the rituals involved in food preparation and eating just sing off the page.

 

How much emphasis do you put on your children’s nutrition? What is most important to you about what goes in their little bodies?

I try to be reasonably relaxed, but find that only having things in the house you’re 100 per cent happy for them to eat is the only way to keep proper tabs on things.

What is your optimal breakfast? 

I am a creature of habit and only ever start the day with a coffee and piece of toast with peanut butter – I have been eating the same breakfast for over 20 years! Although recently, I experimented with almond butter on rye bread… and I now have a mid-morning smoothie to see me through to lunch.

almond butter

Recently, I experimented with almond butter on rye bread.

How do you try and stay on track when you travel? 

With my job you never know when lunch will be, or if it will exist at all. My body simply doesn’t allow me to skip meals. I lose concentration and energy very quickly, so I have learnt to always carry a banana in my bag – the ultimate snack – and perhaps some nuts, such as almonds. My make-up mentor, Kay Montano, also taught me to prepare a Tupperware with cooked greens – such as green beans – the night before. They can be lifesavers, particularly on shoots where junk food is the order of the day.

Are there any cookbooks you couldn’t live without?

I am pretty close to finishing the Ottolenghi books. I think Jerusalem is probably my favourite. His passion for the ingredients and the rituals involved in food preparation and eating just sing off the page. I also like the challenge of the occasional ‘hard to track down’ ingredient – new is always exciting.

What is the hardest part of the day for you to avoid temptation?

Oh, the kids’ tea time, without a doubt – there’s always something left over to munch on.

How do you treat yourself in terms of food? 

Enormous plates of pasta – shamefully huge.

Have you ever tried a diet or detox that worked for you?

No. I’ve been skinny all my life and my body can’t tolerate it. I once trialled a juice cleanse and did drink (and adore) the juices, but had to eat meals alongside them! I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to anything and think it’s important to understand what works for you, not someone else.

yoga

I do Vinyasa yoga once a week. I took it up about two years ago and it’s the most regular exercise I’ve ever done.

What’s your exercise routine/schedule? 

I do Vinyasa yoga once a week. I took it up about two years ago and it’s the most regular exercise I’ve ever done. I’ve also recently started to do some gentle running and have been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed it. Other than that I barely sit down during the day – I’m either lugging my kit around London or running around after the kids.

What do you wear to work out? Do you wear particular styles for particular workouts, etc?

I’ve never felt deserving of decent workout gear as have never thought of myself as the sporty girl. I did, however, buy some decent running bottoms recently and do love them, so I may have opened a can of worms…

green juice

I now have a mid-morning smoothie to see me through to lunch.

Do you have any tips for fitting exercise into a busy schedule?

Honestly, I will never join a gym again. I must have joined at least five over the past 10 years and, without fail, I have ended up barely using them. Having a regular appointment with someone, like my yoga teacher for example, or a personal trainer, is the best way to ensure exercise becomes part of your life.

Having a regular appointment with someone, like my yoga teacher for example, or a personal trainer, is the best way to ensure exercise becomes part of your life.