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Helen talks family life


How does your weekend start?

There is never a habitual regime, but there is delight in the household because my children, Manon (5) and Gulliver (4), understand that there’s no school. This means that their horrible mother allows them to watch television because they are not allowed during the week. The first thing they want to do is glue themselves in front of the TV. We also have cinema night and we all make our own popcorn and we make pizza. It’s a real treat. They both love seafood like octopus and calamari. We all sit down and watch a film or something.

Do you ever go out just with your husband?

Yes. [Actor] Damian [Lewis] and I go out a lot. I like the theater a lot. I like anything if it’s live… from Country and Western [to] Chinese opera. The last piece of theater I went to see was “Anna Christie” at the Donmar Warehouse with Jude [Law], Ruth [Wilson] and David Hayman. They are friends of ours. After the theater, we would then go to a restaurant.

Do you have a favorite restaurant?

I really love the Salt Yard. It’s got very good tapas and a great wine list. If you don’t have much time, you can just get some cheese, ham and a bottle of red wine. Or, if you want to go there earlier, you can have a big, long meal.

Will you sometimes cook at home on a Friday night?

A lot of the time we would actually just cook. The kids are in bed and I will come downstairs and cook. We have a record player in the kitchen and we always find a new vinyl. We would put it on and listen to new records. And to actually listen to a whole album is great. I got the [reggae band] Burning Spear and we listened to that. We had a glass of wine and Damian made some fish cakes. We sit and chat and just hang out.

What’s your Saturday routine like?

We usually go out to the Heath [in Hampstead]. We live quite near there. We are outdoorsy and we would often go out with other gangs of children.

In the area we live, there’s a large show of children who run from one house to another house to another house. That’s lovely because it means all the children play together, and all the adults get to sit around and have coffees and read the papers or go to the park. We can all sit and chat, and they can all run riot.

Do you have some time for yourself?

The only time I ever spend alone is when I am working or when my husband is away filming. I put the kids to bed and have an hour and a half in the evening for myself. I listen to Radio 4 all the time. I didn’t go to university, so that’s my further education.

What would you do more of if you had time?

It’s nice to sit down and read the whole of whatever magazine I am reading with a cup of coffee. Then you are like: Wow! I actually read the whole magazine.

But to be honest, my husband and my children are my best friends. I am just aware that these are the golden years. There’s a time in your life when you are incredibly happy and then are times that are s—. And the s— will come again, because that’s life. I am aware that this is a good time. So I am celebrating that. I am the happiest I have ever been.


Source: WSJ