Actress Charlie Brooks on her perfect Surrey weekend
PUBLISHED: 16:21 22 May 2014 | UPDATED: 12:28 23 May 2014
As patron of the Mark Jermin Stage School in Esher, weekends are a busy time for former EastEnders actress Charlie Brooks. But when the Thames Ditton resident isn't acting or teaching, she can often be found geo-caching around Box Hill or otherwise immersing herself in a good book in the beautiful grounds of Hampton Court Palace...
Firstly, I love where I live. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than waking up to the sound of the birds on a Saturday morning before my little girl, Kiki, runs in and jumps all over me. Although this is becoming more challenging the bigger she gets.
For five years, my Friday evenings have consisted of sitting in traffic jams as I drive home from a long day’s filming on the set of EastEnders in Hertfordshire. In fact, I once got stuck for nine hours.
These days, my life is a little more chilled, as I am taking a break to pursue other interests. So now I enjoy romantic dinners with my boyfriend at the quaint Italian restaurant Osteria Di Mucca Felice in Thames Ditton, or cooking something at home with my daughter that she then refuses to eat. Then I always go to sleep looking forward to the drama classes that I teach on a Saturday morning.
As patron of the Mark Jermin Stage School in Esher, I enjoy four hours of teaching every week. The youngsters’ enthusiasm and passion never fails to remind me of when I was a kid. We usually start with some breathing and relaxation exercises, giving the children time to think about themselves, remembering why they are here, what they want to get out of their time together and their dreams. They then begin the class inspired and motivated. After lots of running around, a bit of script work and me generally behaving like a child myself, I leave energised and ready to enjoy the rest of my weekend.
Geo-caching in the Oxshott woods or at Box Hill is always a favourite of ours or cycling to Bushy Park on a lovely day and enjoying a cheeky ice cream. My daughter once nearly fell in the lake there learning to ride her bike! Saturday nights in My favourite thing to do on a Saturday night at the moment is to stay in and potter. I am blessed with such a happy home life, so I take great pleasure in curling up on the sofa with my partner and my daughter nice and early to watch a bit of family TV. Although, make no mistake, dining out and having friends over for dinner parties is also at the top of my list.
Sundays I love! It always makes me feel good to clean out a cupboard or two (sad, I know). Kiki is really into organising, so when we get started on her room, we can be in there for hours.
We all enjoy going to David Lloyd in Hampton for a bit of a work-out and maybe a swim. Then, more often than not, we go to see the lovely Mike Dandy at Ye Olde Swan in Thames Ditton for a great carvery. I love sitting by the open fire as I catch up with friends or being outside in the summer, feeding the swans and watching the boats sail by. It’s simply lovely.
For ‘me’ time, I like to sit in the beautiful grounds of nearby Hampton Court Palace and get lost in a good Phillipa Gregory novel. Contemplating the lives of the women that have lived in the Palace and how some of them came to such a tragic end reminds me how fortunate I am to have kept my feet firmly on the ground and grateful that I haven’t lost my head… yet!
• For more information on the Mark Jermin Stage School in Esher, call 01792 458855 or pay a visit to their website at markjermin.co.uk