Thinking about the ups and downs of lockdown life, Kate Thornton is counting her blessings.
As much as I moan about having to cook 5,000 meals, I certainly wouldn’t change it,” she tells me on the phone from her home in South London, where she lives with son Ben, aged 12.
“You sit down and you watch the News at 10 and you think ‘I’m not a nurse, I’m not a doctor, I’ve got nothing to complain about’. Those guys, I mean they must be on their knees by now, it’s remarkable.”
The TV presenter and podcast host says she’s been “living the same life everybody else has” over the last year: “Working from home, educating from home, finding a new way to keep going, really.”
Always aiming to look on the bright side, the 48-year-old, who was born in Cheltenham, says she’s taken heart from the many positive stories that have emerged during these dark days.
“We’re seeing people be kind, generous, passionate – it’s bringing communities together. I think we’re seeing a lot of the best of people in the worst of times.”
Thornton says she’s been lucky to be able to continue with a variety of work projects during the pandemic.
“I can join TV shows remotely. I can do the podcast from home, I can design jewellery from home, so I have been able to carry on, which is great.”
Jewellery design is a string the presenter added to her bow back in 2019 when Maxine Becker, founder of Bibi Bijoux approached her about collaborating.
“It was a very modern romance – it started on Instagram,” Thornton says. At first, she was reluctant, but after being persuaded to visit the design studio, found she loved the creative process.
“I realised I do have a passion for this and it’s really nice to discover that you can do something you didn’t think you could at this stage in your life.”
And she’s thrilled about how the collections, which focus on gold and silver-toned pieces with diamante embellishments, have been received by consumers and celebrities alike.
Now, Thornton wants to support small businesses that have been struggling during the pandemic and has been getting in touch with companies about collaborating.
As for her own shopping habits during lockdown, Thornton says she’s “bought nothing. I got a couple of tracksuits, that’s it. And the rest of time, I live in this brand called Yoga Leggs. They do great sports leggings.”
Admitting exercise has been “a bit of a lifesaver”, the mum-of-one says she made a decision at the start of first lockdown: “I thought, I’m either going to come out of this like a human bottle of wine or I’m going to get fit, and I went with the fit route.
Having worked out with a trainer and a group of friends online five days a week she says: “I’ve never been fitter.”
The only time she’s got glammed up in recent months has been while filming a series about the royal family called The Royal Beat.
“For that, I get to go into the studio, dress up and wear clothes and underwear and heels and make-up, and it feels exciting. It’s a bit like stepping through the door into Narnia.”
Thornton is excited about the thought of dressing up in real life when lockdown is over, but most of all, she’s looking forward to “being with people in a way that is free and easy, where you can touch and hug. And maybe jump on a plane and go somewhere nice.
“I don’t think [I] have big ambitions beyond that. It’s just, ‘please can we go back to something that feels like our old life?’
“The idea of a house full of people and the table overspilling with food I haven’t cooked seems like a dream right now.”