Nicky Hambleton-Jones’ Diary

By at home

Early starts, stolen hairdryers and lost lunches – it might not be all glamour – but Nicky’s days are never dull.

7:00 am
‘My alarm goes off and I open my eyes to another dreary winter’s morning.
I promptly close them again in the hope that it’s all a dream and I still have a few more blissful hours of sleep ahead.’

7:10 am
‘Alarm number two. I fumble in the dark trying to switch it off and roll over to savour a few more minutes of sleep. In case you haven’t realised, I’m hopeless at getting up in the morning. I love my sleep and will always leave getting out of bed until the last minute when…’

7:15 am
‘My phone starts pinging again – this time it’s reminding me I have a Pilates class starting in… I squint in the dark in an attempt to read my phone… 15 minutes! S**T – forgot about that. I propel myself out of bed at the speed of light, rush to wash my face and clean my teeth, throw on my Pilates gear and it’s out and into the car – which is covered in ice. Joy!’

7:26 am
‘Still scraping the ice off my car, my fingers and hands are frozen. Brrrrrr!’

7:29 am
‘Finally en route, luckily I’ve discovered a sneaky shortcut, which, if the traffic’s good, should get me there in three minutes.’

7:34 am
‘Still rather bleary eyed with a fuzzy head, I arrive four minutes late (I’m never on time) at the Pilates studio. Fortunately, as it’s so early, I’m the only one there, and I pretty much have the instructor all to myself for most of the session.’

8:45 am
‘Feeling energised and exercised, I head home for some breakfast. As a creature of habit, it’s the usual – muesli and yoghurt with fresh blueberries, a banana and a mug of hot water and lemon to hydrate and detox my system. I eat breakfast at my desk while responding to emails that came in last night, and check my calendar for the day. Filming/styling. Pick up at 9:30am. Oops – half an hour to get ready – best get my skates on.’

9:10 am
‘Jump in the shower and wash my hair, I’m getting it styled on set today. I only get my hair done twice a week, which means I have to do it myself in-between, an art I haven’t quite mastered yet. This series, I’ve layered my hair, as I like to wear it with more volume. It looks fantastic but is a maintenance nightmare – although I’m slowly getting there.’

9:20 am
‘I’m out of the shower, and it’s on with the moisturiser and SPF and then back to my desk to plan my outfits for the day. This is where I could do with a permanent wardrobe assistant. For every episode of 10 Years Younger I wear at least eight to 10 outfits, sometimes more. When you’re filming anything between 12 and 16 episodes… you do the maths.

‘In any one filming day, I usually wear at least two to three outfits, across different episodes, which means planning what to wear can be a logistical nightmare. I tackle it by keeping a record of what I’ve worn for each episode. That way I can make sure I don’t wear the same outfit twice in an episode – although even with the best planning in the world I’ve slipped up once or twice – hopefully no one’s noticed! ‰

‘So for today, I need two outfits. One for “old styling” – which is when I go through the contributor’s clothes, and one for ‘new styling’ which is when I style them in three new outfits. I decide on my navy and gold tunic dress and jeans for “old styling” and coral high-waisted pencil skirt and coral knit top for “new styling”. Then, it’s shoes and accessories and glasses to match both – plus options in case I change my mind.’

9:30 am
‘Get a call to say my car’s waiting for me outside. At this point I’m still in my dressing gown with a towel on my head. I rush to change into a jacket and jeans – I’ll change into my outfits when I get to the studio. I don’t bother to dry my hair as Ian, who styles my hair, can do it at the studio.’

9:45 am
‘Almost out the door when my phone goes again. It’s Ian, his bag was stolen last night and he doesn’t have a hairdryer. I rush back upstairs and grab my hairdryer and tongs and stumble out the door with three bags, plus clothes on a hanger into the car. Sometimes I feel like a bag lady. All I seem to do is pack and unpack bags – every day.’

10:15 am
‘Arrive at the studio. Luckily, it’s not too far from home. Ian’s ready and waiting for me. I dump my stuff and collapse in the chair. We discuss my look for today and settle on tongs instead of hot rollers, as it needs to last all day and hopefully tomorrow. While he’s styling my hair, I do my make-up.’

10:30 am
‘Make-up done, hair in progress, my fashion team arrives with the props I need for today. We immediately start fitting the looks on the contributor to make sure all’s in order. I’m happy with all but one of the looks and send Sharo – one of the fashion assistants on the show – out with a list of extras we need for this afternoon.’

11:00 am
‘Georgie our location assistant pops her head in to say we’re starting to film in 15 minutes. By this point the location has been “dressed” with props and we’re ready to roll. I start to get dressed and call out to Andy our sound engineer for my microphone, the bane of my life. We have to wear these huge microphone packs everyday – I just wish they’d design something wireless and smaller.’

11:10 am
‘Dressed, I pop out for a sound check and briefing.
I discuss the plan of action with the director and fashion producer. Once we’re all in agreement, it’s lights, camera, action…’

1:00 pm
‘Filming complete, we wrap for lunch… hooray, I’m starving. On studio days, the location assistants go to a local supermarket and select a range of fresh food so we can make rolls and salads to our liking. Today, however, while packing the groceries into the car, they locked the keys in the boot. So we’re all picking on yesterday’s leftovers while they try to rescue the car from the Asda car park.’

1:30 pm
‘Still no sign of lunch, I give up and start to prep the outfits for this afternoon’s styling session. All of the extras I asked for have arrived, so we run through the looks again and make any final adjustments.’

2:00 pm
‘It appears the car has finally been unlocked and returned to location, and I’m presented with a chicken salad roll. I’m now beyond hunger, thanks to drinking copious amounts of water and a few chocolate whispers to keep my blood sugar levels up. I decide to save the roll for later. I change outfits and touch up my hair and make-up, ready for round two.’

2:15 pm
‘The sun comes out just as the camera starts to roll. I’m always filled with excitement and trepidation at this point, as I never know whether the contributor will like the outfits I’ve selected for her.’

4:00 pm
‘It’s been a really good day. The contributor loved all the looks and it’s wonderful to see her confidence start to soar. So that’s a wrap for me – hooray, not often I finish at a decent time. I pack up and go home.’

4:30 pm
‘Back home, I respond to emails and do a couple of phone interviews to publicise my new book, Top To Toe’

6:00 pm
‘My filming schedule for tomorrow arrives.
I check my pick-up time and location. Pick-up 7am – we’re filming a final poll for the end of the show in Durham!
‘It’s going to be an early start, which means I need to sort my outfits out tonight. I quickly unpack my bag from today and set aside the clothes I need for tomorrow, then its time to get ready to go out, as we’re meeting up with friends for dinner in town.’

7:15 pm
‘Rob, my husband, arrives home and we’re both ready to leave the house by 7:30pm.’

8:00 pm
‘We arrive at a Japanese restaurant called ROKA. It’s been a good day and I’m in the mood to socialise. I haven’t got the energy to wade through the menu so ask the waiter to bring us a selection of his favourite bits. We order a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – my favourite – and relax…’

10:45 pm
‘After a really fun evening, we arrive home.
I pack all my clothes ready for my 6am start in the morning – can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but one thing’s for sure, it won’t be dull…’


photos Nicky Johnston/ Shutterstock

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