This week I’m chatting to Top Irish model Sarah McGovern. Sarah is a truly beautiful person inside and out and we have been working together for many years now. In our business no two days are the same so it can be a challenge trying to find a balance but what I love about Sarah is that she never gives up, as you’ll see in her interview. When something is not working she just tries something new. Her honesty is refreshing and I think most parents will relate to Sarah’s daily challenges.

Sarah Mc Govern, wellness wednesday, lifestyle quiz, health and wellness, top model, andrea roche agancy, health, inspiration, motivation, parenting, mummy, irish model, balance, life, be complete, alison canavanSarah is a model with the Andrea Roche Model Agency and a Wholesale agent with ‘The Showroom’ in Fashion City. She is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and also an Ambassador for the National Spring Clean Campaign. She is a very proud mom to Jude, 4, and Robyn, 2 and is very happily married to Kenny for over 7 years now.

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Image by Sandals and Greenhouse

How would you describe your lifestyle? 

In one word.. ‘Hectic’!! With a 2 and a 4 year old and juggling two jobs, life is hectic! Because no two days, let alone weeks are the same, it’s hard to find some sort of balance in my life. I think it’s the same for most parents though, so I know I’m not alone! Being self-employed, you never want to turn down work so I just take it as it comes and work a day at a time. It does mean not being able to plan too much ahead and cancelling plans with family and friends quite often but it’s just the way it is for the moment!

What’s your favorite food? Naughty or nice.

I have a total sweet tooth unfortunately and chocolate is my vice! I try to eat a well balanced diet though but I always love something sweet after my lunch and dinner.

Do you exercise and if so what do you do to keep fit?

I have always exercised my whole life, until I got to baby number 2! I loved sport as a kid and then always went to the gym and had a personal trainer before and during my pregnancies (I decided to put the money into having a trainer than going private) I was as fit as a fiddle for both births but after number two came along I found it really hard to fit exercise and work all in to a day that was already busy with two kids!

At first I tried baby body fit classes where you could bring the baby but Robyn crawled at 6 months and so it was hard when you spend the time trying to bring her back to your mat! I took Pilates up again once a week and while I love it, work sometimes gets in the way of the classes. I tried Crossfit for a season but again work kept getting in the way and trying to make classes made me more stressed out!!

So I started running just last week again and I’m hoping to keep that and the Pilates up and id love to get into Form school to do some Ballet Barre classes soon. My friend Aoife owns it with her husband Gordon. The classes are brilliant. I just need to make more ‘me time’ to get there!

How do you find balance in your day-to-day life? 

Honestly I don’t feel I have any balance and if I find it, I’ll bottle it and sell it as I think so many parents feel like this!!

The kids are in crèche two days a week now, but neither started until they were nearly two so juggling work with finding babysitters was always a little challenging! However, since they are both in crèche, it’s giving me some stability to my week, where I can work without having to worry about them. I have the best crèche too! Also I find if I’m fully organised the night before for the next day, then I can start the day as stress free as possible and that adds a little bit of balance to my day too!!

How do you manage stress in your life? Do you meditate? 

No unfortunately I think I just take it out on my poor husband or at least he gets to hear about a stressful day even if he doesn’t want to! I’m a talker and so I just generally get it off my chest and it makes me feel better!!

Have you ever tried meditation? No but I like the idea of it.

People often set goals or intentions as they go through life. Is this something you do?

I always privately set goals or do a lot of planning in my head, but I should really write things down. I know they say that your goals are more likely come to fruition if they are written down. I’ve been very fortunate to have achieved so many goals and intentions so far with family, work, travelling etc but I need to start looking at the next chapter in my life now!

How do you unwind after a busy day? 

I generally like to tidy up after the kids go to bed and get ready for the next day. Weirdly it helps me unwind! Then a cup of peppermint tea and some chocolate while watching a little bit of TV before bed. Nothing fancy I’m afraid!!

It’s the weekend, what do you do for fun?  

Spend time with the kids and depending on the weather, we would go somewhere for a walk or go visit family and catch up with the cousins! The odd weekend we’d catch up with friends too.

What’s your top health tip for our readers? 

 My grandmother always drank hot water, especially with lemon in the morning. She had beautiful skin and so I have it in the mornings too! Breakfast is so important and I try have a healthy one every morning to start off my day well. Everything in moderation too!

Finish the sentence – Being complete for me means… Being happy and content!




This week I’m chatting to model Thalia Heffernan who I’ve known since she started working as a model six years ago. I always knew she’d be a star as she has incredible presence and grace and I’m really excited to see what 2016 has in store for her.

She started modelling at the age of fifteen and managed school and her career until completing the leaving certificate in 2013.

Since then, she’s travelled to places like London, New York, Germany and Australia and has more exciting projects to come in 2016. She has four international agencies representing her with more to come in the coming months but just how does she balance work, rest and play?

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How would you describe your lifestyle? 

I love to keep fit, and train regularly with my trainer Sophie Kavanagh at No. 17. I try to get into the gym 3-5 times weekly, but between work it can be difficult! I haven’t got much routine as jobs vary day to day.

What’s your favorite food? Naughty or nice. 

McCambridges brown bread. It’s my favourite. Taste of home! Even better with some sausages on top!

Do you exercise and if so what do you do to keep fit?

My trainer keeps me on track! Sophie is amazing at alternating my workouts to get the best results and train every part of my body equally. So we change it up daily to keep it fresh and exciting. My favourite exercises usually consist of ab work, but I also love training legs.

How do you find balance in your day-to-day life? 

I find balance in my day to day life by keeping true to myself and allowing myself time to do the things that I love to do. I enjoy cooking, playing piano, listening to music and many other things. I’ve also found that meditation, particularly at night before I go to sleep can help even out the thoughts in my head and help me to achieve the balance that I need.

How do you manage stress in your life? Do you meditate? Have you ever tried it? 

I try to have a positive outlook in life, and that alone helps to alleviate stress. But of course, being human, it can still get on top of you. I try to just give myself a minute to remove myself from a situation and look at it from an outside perspective. I take in everything that’s going on and try to understand why. By doing this, logically your mind can find comfort in understanding. I find meditation great to calm the mind and help eliminate any stress.

People often set goals or intentions as they go through life. Is this something you do?

I think it’s important to set goals so that you have something to look forward to and strive towards. It can be hard having motivation when you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re doing. I would say that I set goals: Sometimes loosely and then sometimes very intentionally. As I’ve grown up I’ve learned that subconsciously I’m always striving towards something, and recently I’ve learned to put these things on paper and make them a more solid thing that I want to achieve.

How do you unwind after a busy day? 

I listen to music, take a hot shower, lie on my bed or on the sofa, make dinner and prepare meals for the next day or week ahead. Sometimes I knit; I find it very therapeutic and it helps me to switch off too. I try to play my keyboard daily, which is in my room, and that definitely helps me to unwind.

 It’s the weekend, what do you do for fun? 

It depends on how busy my week before was!! But I always find time to spend with my friends, go for a few drinks, dinner, whatever! I’m a pretty relaxed person, I don’t usually make huge plans for the weekends ahead, I prefer to play things by ear and see how it goes. I often spend time with my dad on the weekends, Sundays in particular. We usually go for walks out in Howth or Portmarnock and get some lunch while we’re out there.

What’s your top health tip for our readers? 

Drink plenty of water!!! It’s so important to keep yourself hydrated. Water is key to keep every part of you healthy, it affects your skin, hair, mental state, everything.

Finish the sentence – Being complete for me means…

Being happy in life, myself and to surround myself with people who contribute to that and strengthen me as a person.






For this week’s #WellnessWednesday I’m delighted to chatting about all things lifestyle and health with the beautiful and bubbly model and lifestyle blogger Madeline Mulqueen. I recently spent time with Madeline on a retreat and we had great giggles and a lot of fun. She recently returned from a trip to Zambia where she was filming a documentary with fellow models Teo Sutra, Irma Mali, TV presenter Diana Bunici and journalist, presenter and reporter Siobhan O’Connor where they were helping to build emergency shelter for impoverished street children.

She’s admits her life is very fast paced but she loves it and she finds balance by having snuggly nights in on the couch with her fiance actor Jack Reynor

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How would you describe your lifestyle? 

I’d say my lifestyle is fast paced and pretty unpredictable but it keeps me on my toes.

What’s your favorite food? Naughty or nice. 

My favourite food would have to be Italian or a hearty Irish dinner. I can’t live without potatoes!

Do you exercise and if so what do you do to keep fit?

I love working out. My main form of exercise is Proformer Pilates with Pilates Plus Dublin. It’s great for keeping in shape but is also very relaxing for the mind.

How do you find balance in your day-to-day life? 

I make lists for everything. I find my mind races around in circles if I don’t have everything I need to do written down. My day runs a lot smoother when I don’t need to think about what I have to do, I just do it. Making time for myself is always on that list.

How do you manage stress in your life? Do you meditate? Have you ever tried it? 

If I’m super stressed I do some yoga and a few minutes of meditation. Both are incredible for managing stress and anxiety.

I also love to colour. I get lost in time when I colour it’s a lovely feeling. 

People often set goals or intentions as they go through life. Is this something you do?

Yes absolutely. It’s always good for the mind to work towards something. It’s nice to set yourself near future goals that are realistic and achievable. It’s a great way of keeping you motivated for the bigger goals ahead.

How do you unwind after a busy day? 

Cuddling up on the couch with my boy and watching a movie is the go to, as long as there is enough milk for copious cups of tea. Other than that I love a good pamper evening to myself.  

It’s the weekend, what do you do for fun? 

I love being around my friends as much as possible. I usually have my friends over for dinner and giggles on the weekends when I’m at home.

What’s your top health tip for our readers? 

Take care of your mind just as much as your body.

Finish the sentence – Being complete for me means… always being in the present. If I focus too much on the past or future I start to lose my sense of self. I am happiest and complete when I’m living in the present.






This week I’m delighted to be talking to Roz Purcell about her lifestyle and wellness tips. I find Roz hugely inspirational and her brand Natural Born Feeder is growing from strength to strength. She is a really bright light for her generation and a great role model.

Read more

Being a model let me run away from my problems.

Alison Canavan on hanging out with Christy Turlington, why we need to talk more about mental health and how having her son finally brought her home.







It was a glorious evening yesterday and what a way to kick off Bulmers Live at Leopardstown every Thursday evening for the summer. I’m delighted to be judging the best dressed every Thursday with Sue Kelly CEO of Brown Cow beauty boutiques. The prize every week is a staggering €1,000 gift voucher for 1st place, €500 for 2nd and €250 for 3rd place.

Now, what lady doesn’t like to get pampered??? So dress up and come and have fun, win and enjoy some live music.

We met some fab ladies last night so well done to everyone who entered. The winner was Shauna Temple

Lady winner Shauna Temple  ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Lady winner Shauna Temple
©INPHO/Morgan Treacy


Myself and the winner Shauna Temple ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Myself and the winner Shauna Temple
©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

I also bumped into Kathryn Thomas who was MCing a charity event and she looked absolutely stunning as usual

Myself and Kathryn Thomas  enjoying Bulmers Live at Leopardstown ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Myself and Kathryn Thomas enjoying Bulmers Live at Leopardstown
©INPHO/Morgan Treacy


Our three winners Lady winner Shauna Temple with 3rd placed Fiona Grant  and 2nd placed Zoe Synnott,   t ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Our three winners Lady winner Shauna Temple with 3rd placed Fiona Grant and 2nd placed Zoe Synnott,
t ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy


Bulmers Live at Leopardstown 12/6/2014 Brown Cow Best Dressed Lady judges Alison Canavan and Sue Kelly with 2nd placed Zoe Synnott, 3rd placed Fiona Grant and winner Shauna Temple ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy



breastfeeding-1 jpegIn last week’s Femail two angry mums revealed how they were led to believe breastfeeding would help them lose weight, when in fact they piled on the pounds. Both admitted that their diets had been poor, blaming the ‘myth’ constantly pedalled to new mums by health professionals and breastfeeding advocates that the babyweight would melt away as they fed for tricking them into thinking they could eat what they wanted. Here, Alison Canavan, who breastfed her son James for a year, launches a staunch defence of breastfeeding. She argues that it should always be a personal choice made with the best interests of mum and baby at heart, and argues that by vilifying breastfeeding we are ignoring deeper issues about motherhood and self image.

AS I READ last week’s article I felt frustration and anger, yet again, about this topic. Since giving birth to James I’ve noticed that anytime the topic of feeding your baby is brought up, mums should be prepared to have their head eaten off by another mother who thinks they know better or who disagrees with our choice for our child.

I have never and will never understand why women are so hard on each other — this topic in particular seems to always hit a nerve.

In my opinion the breast Vs bottle debate is a complex one where no one wins. We all have different reasons for feeding our children the way we do and should never underestimate the complex issues that can arise post-birth for mum and baby which can influence feeding.

Weight loss alone, however, should not be the reason you choose to breastfeed your baby. Neither should articles claiming that women are now getting fat from feeding frighten you off. Each and every woman’s body will react differently to pregnancy. Some women fly through their pregnancies while others have problems from day one, they gain weight, develop pelvic problems, require emergency sections… the list goes on.

One thing we now know for sure is that eating for two during pregnancy is a myth. Believe me, I was guilty of using it as an excuse to pig out for the first few months, until my doctor told me women only need an extra 200 calories (equivalent to a small bowl of muesli or two slices of wholegrain bread) per day and that’s not even until the third trimester.

In the article the women targeted two aspects of breastfeeding in particular, saying ‘breastfeeding is a very sedentary activity’ and ‘women commonly experience ravenous hunger while feeding’. While I agree with both these statements, they’re not necessarily bad things. I actually enjoyed sitting down to feed as I was wrecked. And I was very hungry but I tried to eat nutritious foods as I knew they would make me feel better and fill my breast milk full of nutrients for the growing baby.

Things are never as simple as they seem, especially when it comes to the combination of women, babies, food and weight. I know that I’m an emotional eater and make bad choices to fill that gap. If I feel lonely, have had bad news about work or am simply tired I pick up the phone to the local takeaway — undoing all the good work I’ve done. But I also know I’m a model and that eating healthily is a big part of my job, which leads me to wonder why I make a choice that can potentially impact my career? Yet we do make poor choices and they are usually multi layered.

In the first few months after giving birth a lot of women experience real loneliness and sadness while home alone with their newborn. Too tired to exercise and too embarrassed to tell anyone how they’re feeling, food can be a big comfort. I’m not saying that these are the reasons the women in the piece gained weight, but we do need to be careful when we make blanket statements about such complex issues.

Breastfeeding is a choice, our food types are a choice and lifestyle is a choice. I always say that how you treat yourself and what you feed yourself will directly influence how you look and feel.

I spoke to Clare Boyle, a midwife and breastfeeding consultant, about this topic. Clare has been working with breastfeeding women for the last 13 years and her experience is that most lose weight easily and usually within the first six months. She tolds me, ‘I have never met a breastfeeding mother who had the weight gain issues such as those described in the article. I wonder if there were some other issues that may have contributed to it as it seems so unusual. I think it would be important to know what type of foods were they eating and whether they were they exercising.

‘It is true that most breastfeeding women have an increased appetite but provided they eat a healthy, well-balanced diet they shouldn’t necessarily put on weight and it is by no means the norm.’

Clare then made another very valid point, ‘There is the common perception that breastfeeding mums think that they are free to eat what they like and therefore they can go for high-calorie foods that they would normally deprive themselves of. If they do this to excess, obviously breastfeeding isn’t going to counteract a complete gorge-fest!’

I didn’t give breastfeeding much thought during my pregnancy. In fact, I just presumed baby came out and fed from boob and we all lived happily ever after.

Well, instead of that plan playing out like the plot of a movie, James couldn’t latch on and my boobs became so sore that I was permanently taking hot showers to relieve them. We soon figured out that James had a tongue-tie, causing his inability to latch.

Then I developed thrush — and my body was producing enough tears to fill Ireland ten times over. I was extremely lucky, though, to have a great friend Andrea Casey sit patiently with me, literally holding my boobs as otherwise I could’t latch him on. Catriona McCarthy, a lactation consultant, also spent considerable time helping me. What I learnt from the experience is that breastfeeding is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to a lot of women, it’s one that both you and your baby might have to learn together. I succeeded in feeding James but not until he was nearly three months old. I persevered because I’m stubborn and, after three months, I had finally started to enjoy the experience. I consider myself very lucky to have had the support I had, because without it I would not have continued to feed.

How you feed your child is a deeply personal choice. I have a friend who is simply uncomfortable with the thought of breastfeeding her children. She has three beautiful kids who are all healthy and happy. How we feed our children does not affect our parenting abilities, food or lifestyle choices — those choices are ultimately up to us. Judging other women also has no bearing on your parenting skills.

It’s great to talk about being more honest with each other, but I think deep down we’re all smart enough to know that the realistic experience of breastfeeding will not result in a woman getting a Gisele-like body. Tiredness, hunger and hormones are all part of the reality of being a new mum but good food, exercise and communicating with loved ones is far better for us in the long term than reaching for the biscuits!

Hi everyone,

I was very excited when Xpose magazine rang to ask me to do Closet Encounters. I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to brands as you can see and I’m always a fan of wearing what suits you. Throughout the years as a model I have tried to be on trend and failed miserably as some trends simply did not suit me. Instead i now try to wear clothes that suit my figure and that I feel comfortable in. Most Karen Millen dresses fit my figure perfectly and I feel very at home in their clothes. I’m also a big fan of River Island (especially their jeans) and one of my favourite shops is still Penneys where I just bought all new workout gear.

I hope you like the article below. Don’t forget you can follow me on twitter  and Facebook for all my latest news.

Ali xxxx