From the day they were both co-anchors on the very first Loose Women in 1999, Nadia and Kaye have been both workmates and good friends. We caught up with them both for a natter about Benidorm, prawn balls and dogs with funny eyes…
Let’s talk holidays. What kind of holiday girl are you, Nadia? Would Benidorm really get a tick from you or do you seek more sophistication on your travels?
Nadia Sawalha: I will take any holiday! In Benidorm you’ll find the most beautiful white-washed Spanish villages and lovely little beaches. I do travel a lot, you know, and one of my most favourite places on earth to go is Kaye’s house in Glasgow.
Kaye Adams: I don’t let her come!
Your Twitter bio reads, ‘Proud to be a woman of certain age.’
Nadia Sawalha: Yes.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned with age? And how has it made you happy?
Nadia Sawalha: There’s a great quote that my husband discovered about five years ago now: ‘I used to worry about what everyone thought of me up until I was 40. And then after 40, I worried about what I thought about everyone else.’ And although it’s a constant battle every day not to worry about what people think, I am caring less and less, and that is the absolute joy that comes along with white roots, balding hair, a sagging stomach and weak knees.
“Politicians are a certain breed and many of them take themselves very seriously.” – Kaye Adams
You recently launched a new cookbook aimed at putting decent family food on the table, quickly. What’s your foolproof recipe for a busy day?
Nadia Sawalha: My daughter’s favourite quick-and-easy thing that I make is called ‘Mama’s Spaghetti’. You just fry up some garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil, add tomato purée and whilst the pasta is boiling, you put a ladle full of the pasta water into the garlic, olive oil and purée. Mix it up and then put the cooked pasta in, add some cheese and basil – done! Ten minutes, on the table, out of this world.
We’ll have to give that a try! What’s your proudest achievement in your career to date?
Nadia Sawalha: I did a show called ‘Eating in the Sun’, which was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. Picking 20 Michelin-starred restaurants around Europe and having to cook for famous chefs: that was petrifying. So the fact that I came out of it at the other end, alive, has made me proud.
The fact that I’ve now got four books is also quite something. Oh, and winning Celebrity MasterChef also has to be up there. I came first without a gin and tonic…
Kaye Adams: I didn’t win Celebrity MasterChef… I was kicked out first!
The Loose Women panellists are not afraid of controversy. How do you think their approaches to debate differ to other talk shows?
Kaye Adams: I think it’s more of a conversation really. I mean, in most talk shows, you’re looking for a fairly, sort of, polarized conversation or discussion – one person says black and the other person says white. We don’t really do that on Loose Women. Obviously you’ll sometimes get people who disagree quite strongly, and you’ll have a bit of a barney, but it’s much more conversational.
In a lot of talk shows, people will come in and they’ll take part in the discussion, but they’ll have no relationship with each other. They arrive at the studio, they say their piece, they go away and that is it. Whereas we have an awful lot of contact with each other and spend time with each other chatting about other things, and that’s really unusual, actually.
You started your career in political journalism, interviewing figures like Margaret Thatcher. How does a role like that compare to being on the Loose Women panel, particularly in terms of the characters you meet?
Kaye Adams: In actual fact, it doesn’t really differ that much! I know people will laugh, but people are people, you know? Politicians are a certain breed and many of them take themselves very seriously. They’re very well-informed and knowledgeable about certain things, but as we’ve seen over the years, they’ve all got their frailties, egos and weak points. Often, when you dig into their personal lives, you see very normal behaviour. That’s why I never like to make any distinction between people, and I always think there’s a tendency to do that.
“Louis Theroux. I’m obsessed with Louis Theroux.” – Nadia Sawalha
How do you manage to balance a busy career with taking care of your young daughters? What’s the best tip you’d give to another working mum to try to fit everything in?
Kaye Adams: Oh, I’m not in a position to give advice, to be honest, because I stumble through every day and every week like everybody else. The only thing I would say is, don’t look too far ahead, because at times in my life when I’ve allowed myself to do that, it becomes overwhelming.
I just put time into little bite-sized chunks and, every so often, I look back and I think, ‘You know what? I’ve got this far, I’ll probably be all right, you know, going on ahead.’
How do you manage to strike the balance, Nadia?
Nadia Sawalha: I suppose this goes hand-in-hand with the question about what comes with being older, and that’s learning to just give myself a bit of a break. I think good mothers always wonder if they could be doing it better and feel bad, but you just try your hardest. If you’re trying your hardest, that’s all you can do, you know?
Who would be your dream guests on Loose Women?
Nadia Sawalha: Louis Theroux. I’m obsessed with Louis Theroux.
Kaye Adams: Are you?
Nadia Sawalha: Oh, I love him. He’s the greatest TV presenter ever.
Kaye Adams: For me, it’s Victoria Beckham.
Are there any topics you know will cause an argument on the show? Have the pair of you ever had a disagreement?
Nadia Sawalha: Have we ever had a disagreement on the show?
Kaye Adams: Oh yes, I’m sure we have.
Nadia Sawalha: I only disagree with when you let your kids just walk to school on their own.
If you were stuck on a desert island and you got two essentials each, what would they be?
Kaye Adams: I’d take my electric blanket and have it solar heated. There’s not one night in the year that I don’t have my electric blanket on. Solar heated electric blanket and a radio.
Nadia Sawalha: That is so annoying. I’m going to have a radio, too.
Kaye Adams: Nope, I have the radio.
Nadia Sawalha: Well if I can’t have a radio, I suppose I would have… are we allowed a book?
Kaye Adams: Yeah, you can have a book. I can have a radio.
Nadia Sawalha: What book would I have? I suppose I’d have to have the complete works of Shakespeare.
Kaye Adams: Oh, get lost!
Nadia Sawalha: Because if I’m going to be stuck there forever… I might be able to work out what he’s saying.
Kaye Adams: You’re lying. This is our first row.
Nadia Sawalha: I think I’d take the massive embroidery kit that Mark bought me four years ago, when I accidentally hinted that I’d always fancied trying embroidery. It’s a criminal shame that it’s gone to waste.
Hours of entertainment! Live shows are nothing new, for either of you. Have you had any embarrassing moments you wish you could take back?
Nadia Sawalha: Sometimes that’s the danger when you know somebody really well. At the same time, I think that’s kind of nice for people watching a live chat show. They know that they’ve got people who know each other really well. They know that they’re probably going to get them to slip up, that they’re going to say something they probably shouldn’t.
Kaye Adams: What’s your most embarrassing thing then?
Nadia Sawalha: I think my most embarrassing moment ever was when I slipped on a prawn ball on the stage. I mean, I can’t change it. I had stilettos on, and I stepped onto a prawn ball. And I slipped on the stage and I fell on my stomach. God knows how, when I went backwards, but I was so winded that I had to be carried off stage! I defy anyone to have a worse embarrassing moment than that.
We appreciate your honesty! Finally, what is the best thing about being a Loose Women panelist?
Nadia Sawalha: Well, my real passion in life would have to be people. I love people. I love the human condition. I love to talk… I talk in my sleep! So to be able to have an ongoing conversation, and get paid for it, it’s really quite something.
Kaye Adams: I really enjoy the relationships that I’ve had over the years with people who’ve been involved in Loose Women. You know, they’ve all kind of come in and come out, but I’ve made a lot of really good friends over the years and met so many interesting people.
Nadia Sawalha: I’ll be forever grateful to this show for my friendship with Kaye. Otherwise, I would never have met Kaye. We would’ve been two people that would’ve avoided each other at parties. We’re nothing alike.
Kaye Adams: Yeah, definitely.
Nadia Sawalha: If nothing else, our friendship is just amazing. It really is real. You know, people imagine that our friendships aren’t real on the show, but they are.
A great outcome! Thanks for talking to us today guys.
We’d also like to give a big thank you to Helen Wills from Actually Mummy for putting forward some of the questions for Nadia and Kaye’s interview. You can catch Loose Women, in association with tombola, on ITV every weekday at 12.30pm.