Me and My Body

By Nancy Previs
From Evening Herald

Singer-songwriter Frances Black tells NANCY PREVIS why she loves getting away from Dublin, can't get enough of beauty treatments and why she's sick of dieting

Would you typically be a morning or a late night person?
Definitely late night. I find it very hard to get up in the morning, probably because I work late and then it takes me ages to wind down after a gig.

How many hours' sleep do you get each night?
I would try my best to get seven or eight but I'm a light sleeper so a good sleep can sometimes be a problem.

What's in your fridge at the moment?
Not very much, just a couple of packets of Caesar salad, milk, butter, cheese, diet drinks, rashers and eggs.

Describe your typical breakfast
Just a bowl of All-Bran, a slice of toast and two cups of tea.

Are you careful about what you eat?
I would try to stick to three meals a day – a small breakfast, sandwich for lunch and then have my dinner. I do try, but I don't always stick to that. My New Year's resolution was the to give up all sweets, cakes and desserts because I was really bad coming up to Christmas.

What are three of your favourite meals?
A plate of chips with bread and butter, pasta con brocolli from Mario’s in Terenure and a dish from Taj Tandoori in Dunboyne.

Describe a perfect evening dinner.
I'm not a great cook but I'm good at cooking something basic like a nice fillet steak and onions. I'd make that with mushrooms and potatoes.

Do you sneak down to the fridge for a midnight snack?
I'd make a conscious effort to try not to but I don't always succeed. Sometimes I would have a plate of chips or sandwiches.

Do you drink?

Do you believe in diets?
I've done them all and have completely and utterly given up on them. Mention any diet to me and I've done it. Now I just try to eat sensibly. That means trying not to eat too many fried foods, and limiting the sugar and sweets. I also try not to eat too late at night.

Does your weight fluctuate?
It does. I have to watch my weight all the time. I definitely go through phases where I don't care and then other times when I’ll try to be really good because I have a performance coming up.

Is exercise an enjoyable part of your life?
It is and it isn't. I feel great afterwards but l really have to force myself to do it. I go to the gym three times a week and would run three miles on the treadmill. I love the treadmill. Then I'd do a few sit-ups and leg presses.

Do you take supplements?
Vitamin C and garlic if l feel a cold coming on. Echinachea is great for the vocal cords and I'd go on a month long course, particularly if l had a tour coming up.

Are you into any alternative therapies?
I've gone for reflexology a couple of times and found that to be very good. I've also tried acupuncture and Reiki. I do think alternative therapies can be a great way to keep the body in balance.

What do you like to do when you have time to yourself?
I like going for walks, or relax by the fire and watch the telly. When I have long periods of time off, I try to get out of Dublin. We have a house on Rathlin Island, off the northeast coast, and I love spending time there.

How would you spoil yourself if you thought you deserved a treat?
I love beauty treatments and massage. Someone gave me a gift voucher for a spa in Co. Wicklow and I recently spent two days out there. It was absolutely amazing. I felt like a new woman afterwards.

Would you ever consider having plastic surgery?
No, I'm too much of a chicken. I want to learn to love my lines and wrinkles as I grow old.

Is there a diet or lifestyle change you like to make?
I would really like to start up - and stick to - a healthy diet. It would also be nice to lose some weight.

What stresses you out?
Having lots of things on at the one time.

What is your definition of happiness?
Inner peace, serenity and acceptance of self.

Frances Black will be performing with the Clontarf Comhaltas Ceolteoiri Eireann in the National Concert Hall on February 8 (2005).