Photography by Obradovic Photography
Welcome to the latest instalment of Wonderful Women, featuring the wonderful pop-icon that is Cerys Matthews MBE.
As well as being a well known musician, Cerys is also an author, broadcaster and owner of the Good Life Experience festival. She is a DJ on BBC World Service and BBC 6 music where she programmes and hosts an award winning weekly show every Sunday morning.
Cerys is a cultural roving reporter for the One Show, writes and presents documentaries for BBC Radio 4 and 2 as well as television and is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling children’s sing-a-long book Hook, Line and Singer.
What a woman! Over to Cerys…
Describe a typical day for you?
Get woken up by a 6 year old looking for bears, throw breakfast at the other children, hug the 12 year old and kiss the 10 year old, whether they like or or not. Walk the boys to school. Send Husband away to meetings in the West End. Light the fire and start listening to music to programme into my Sunday BBC6 music or my BBC World Service show.
Spend most of the day drinking coffee and tea, sometimes both, going deeper into the rabbit hole of recordings from late 1800’s onwards. Surface to say hey to the postman. Run to the boys’ school, wearing whatever I have on, usually clogs, so clutter the air with clip clops and chaos. Home, radio 4 on , or some early jazz or Southern soul on vinyl and cook. I love cooking vegetarian Indian food. Curry leaves rock my world.. meantime poke the children with homework /piano/bodhran practice then serve food, then put them to bed.
Drink in the quiet. Then perhaps watch a Lauren Bacall /Humphrey Bogart film, a doc or a Netflix series with husband. I recommend Spiral (Engrenages). Play guitar. Write some. Sleep.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Knowing so little about so much. Joking aside, there are so many subjects I find fascinating from history, to biology, to art, languages, music, science..that’s the beauty of hosting and programming a radio show, my guests may be authors, astronauts, chemists, medical historians , farmers, chefs …the world away from commerce and brands is endlessly interesting, we just don’t get reminded of it enough.
What’s in your handbag?
Fresh chillies, make up, key ,phone, pen, wet wipes. Chillies? because I love the crunch , the taste and the kick so I add them to food if I’m out. I started this habit whilst on tour, fed up with the usual damp Sandwich or cold pasty. I
t’s made me passionate about whole, fresh mainly vegetarian food (best way to save the planet is to cut out/down meat) – and the idea of field to fork is one of the philosophies of my family festival of food, music and the great outdoors,
The Good Life Experience.
It’d on farmland-so if the weather’s been kind, you can pick your own blackberries , (for free) smash a pumpkin or two (the fields are full of them in Sept) and help yourself to pears and apples (also free), and this year we’re introducing grab and go picnics with crusty french baguettes,cheese and bottles of wine. No damp sandwiches allowed ha ha.
What are your ambitions in life?
In my twenties-it was to tour the world and make music some people loved, thirties to have a family too. Now, it’s appreciating the small and trying to persuade time to slow. It doesn’t work.
What advice would you give your pre-baby self, that you now know, having had children?
Keep focus, spend time on things that matter, hang with people that question.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
More wrinkly, better read.
What advice would you give a budding singer/author?
Try and find work that fulfils you and gives back to the world.
Finally, happiness is…
The great outdoors. We love to head to the countryside when we can – I used to love making swings and the tunnels in the hay shed and I love it when we go back to Wales and watch the children climb the cliffs, roly-poly down the hills and generally get soaking wet and covered in mud. My festival is perfect for that!
The best bit for the kids at last year’s festival was making a straw slide and smashing literally hundreds of pumpkins- all free and no rules.
It’s all children running wild in the countryside with their hand made bows and arrows: all in the green rolling hills of the former prime minister, William Gladstone’s estate.
Cery’s family friendly festival of food, music, craft and the great outdoors returns for its 3rd year, 16 – 18 September at Hawarden Castle, 8 minutes from Chester by car. All activities, including a vintage fairground, are free once in.
Tickets are priced from £69 and children under 12 come in free with adult tickets.
For more information visit www.thegoodlifeexperience.co.uk