Published On: Mon, Jul 31st, 2017

Jenny Eclair: Books, mayonnaise and showing off – Five things I can't live without


I think hobbies are very important for relaxation as they give you something else to think about other than work.

I will never be someone who wants to spend their spare time at the gym, so it is important for me to have other diversions.

At the moment my main pastimes are cross stitch and sketching.

I am possibly one of the best-equipped but least talented artists out there but I don’t let that deter me.

There is really nothing quite like sitting by the sea with my hobby bag full of kit and just drawing away.


Before I started taking HRT a couple of years ago, I developed what I can only describe as a rather psychotic temper and my family was definitely rather afraid of me.

I wouldn’t describe myself as mellow now but taking the medication has without doubt taken the edge off my temper and people aren’t running for cover when I’m around in quite the same way as they were before.

The menopause really did take me to the brink of insanity and I would recommend HRT to any woman of a certain age who is medically able to take it.


I cannot imagine my life without books as reading has always been such a huge pleasure and an escape.

To be honest, I tend to panic if I find myself stuck somewhere with nothing to read.

Of course these days we aren’t limited to print and I embrace the choices that technology gives us.

I love the fact that I can now read with my tablet perched on the edge of the bath or with my eyes closed, listening to an audio book.

I have pretty varied tastes and I am currently juggling a John Le Carre with a Marian Keyes.

However, the contemporary novelist whom I admire more than anyone is Kate Atkinson, author of Life After Life and Behind The Scenes At The Museum.

I would love to be able to write like her.


My addiction to mayonnaise is pretty extreme and I always have a big jar of Hellmann’s in the fridge to dip radishes and carrots into.

I also take a smaller pot with me wherever I go as I cover just about everything in mayonnaise, from roast dinners to fish and chips.

Sometimes people can get a bit sniffy about my habit, especially if they have cooked me a posh meal but in my opinion everything tastes much better with a bit of mayonnaise.

I also have a less extreme addiction to ginger beer which I just love.

My daughter recently told me that you can now buy an alcoholic version but to me that sounds like a rather dangerous slippery slope.


I was a terrible show-off as a child and even now as a middle-aged woman I’m something of an exhibitionist and just love being on a stage.

It is the most wonderful feeling and I really couldn’t live as happily without it.

Although I am by nature loud and extroverted, I also enjoy my own company and don’t need other people around me all the time.

When I am drawing or writing I am more than happy to be alone.

I think I need the quiet as much as I need the noise.

Listening In: Stories by Jenny Eclair is out now (Sphere, £12.99)

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