Like many other people, I grew up watching Davina McCall on telly and always remember her coming across incredibly upbeat and positive. If you follow her on any social media platform, it takes approximately three seconds to conclude that that's no television persona, it's exactly who she is in real life and who she aspires to continue being — especially in 2020 when things are rough.
This year, in our own ways, we're all learning how to maintain a positive mentality through testing times, particularly in the lead up to the festive season, when things will look very different. That's why McCall is the perfect host for Boots' Christmas Unwrapped — a glass-half-full kind of person to get us excited about celebrating the season with our loved ones, no matter how or where this may be. POPSUGAR spoke to McCall all about her time in lockdown, her beauty must haves, and her favourite gifts this year.
On Coping During Lockdown
One silver lining I have found, and personally loved as a result of the pandemic, is that someone actually answers when you ask them how they are. When I asked McCall how she was, it wasn't the typical "oh fine", similar to a lot of people — she found it difficult to pinpoint right away, settling on, "I found it quite a roller coaster, the whole thing." A lot of people, myself included, will agree with that sentiment. "Interestingly, I've found it much harder than I thought I would because I've always thought of myself as quite a robust person, but I've definitely found myself a bit more emotional. It's a really weird place."
A difficult thing about the pandemic, however, is that all of the ways we might make ourselves feel better suddenly aren't available, or as readily available. "Generally, the way I make myself feel better in usual times is by connecting with my friends and family. I'll have a big dinner party, get all my mates round. And none of us can do all the usual stuff that makes us feel better. I also miss my kids having loads of their mates around — we used to do that all the time. My house is always just full of kids."
On Staying Positive and Motivated During the Pandemic
Over the course of the past 10 months, many of us have had to adapt to a new way of working and living, which also means finding new ways to stay positive and motivated. "There is one thing, without fail, that makes me feel better if I'm down, and it's often the last thing I want to do: exercise. And when I say exercise, people think I'm talking about an hour-long class, but I just mean walking the dog for an hour outside."
If walking isn't your thing, McCall also loves Armageddon with Richard Callender, noting that 30 minutes is enough. "You're out of breath, you feel quite sweaty, and you feel invigorated because you've done something. You're proud of yourself, and it's something you can do with the family. That is the easiest free tool for helping you feel better immediately," she adds.
On Her Lockdown Beauty Must Haves
As a beauty editor, I obviously wanted to know what beauty products McCall uses, especially during lockdown. "I'm just very boring", she admitted. "I use the same stuff all the time. But I have always used, for god knows how long, Garnier Ultralift (£10). I started working with them years ago, and they gave me this moisturiser, and I've never stopped using it. It's incredibly reasonably priced and looks really dewy and lovely."
McCall also told POPSUGAR that during the first lockdown, she used beauty as a way of maintaining a routine, noting eyelash curlers as her "godsend". "It's important as a gift to myself and an act of self-love to continue doing my makeup in the morning, even just a small amount. So even if I couldn't be bothered to put on any eyeliner, I would just do an eyelash curl and some mascara."
On Sustainability This Christmas
It doesn't feel right talking about the festive season this year without touching on sustainable gifts, and it's certainly top of mind at Boots this year. McCall explained that sustainability isn't just a trend, and the pandemic has certainly had an impact. "I feel that our move toward sustainability has been cemented by lockdown. "With COVID, it seems so ugly at this time where everybody's trying to be so frugal and careful," she said. "This year, Boots removed 2000 tonnes of throwaway plastic from the Christmas gift packaging." Plus, eco-friendly product searches on Boots.com have grown by almost a third in a year, which proves people's shift in mentality.
On Her Favourite Gift Ideas This Year
For McCall, it's certainly about being more thoughtful this year when it comes to gifts. "Boots definitely thought about what people want this year and what gifts are most helpful. I love a crafting present, I think it's always a brilliant idea, especially for kids, because they get to learn how to make things." That's why she loves the Boots Stitch & Story Beanie Hat Knitting Kit Teal (£24).
"Or beyond physical gifts, an introduction to something like the GoodGym, where you run to someone or a mission, help the community, and then run back." McCall also notes another company her and her partner spoke about on their podcast "Making the Cut", called Fund Jumpers, which helps to support charities such as funding school meals.
Davina supports Boots' Christmas Unwrapped, with a wide range of Christmas gifts available now in store and online at Boots.com.