Rebecca Seal is a a journalist, podcaster, broadcaster and author (and possibly the only person out there who writes cookbooks and personal development books).  Rebecca's latest book is called Be Bad, Better: How Not Trying So Hard Will Set You Free.

ONE | What have been your biggest career HURRAH moments so far?
Twenty years ago, when I was a very lowly-feeling editorial assistant, I dreamed of - but couldn't imagine - writing for the Guardian Saturday and Observer magazines. In recent years, I've had cover stories in both, which still blows my mind. I've also written 13 books, which seven-year-old me, stapling together hand-written stories back in the 1980s, would have found really impressive.

TWO | If you could give 3 pieces of advice to yourself ten years ago - what would you say?

Don't think of your career as separate to your actual life. Don't work so hard you can hardly think. Consider what you want your life to look like, and plan for that, rather than thinking of little other than how to be more so-called successful. Don't judge whether you're doing well solely by what you're earning. Remember that you are not just the job that you do. Oh, and: perfectionism is a trap created by our patriarchal consumerist society which thrives on us feeling insecure so that we soothe ourselves by spending our money, time or attention.


THREE| You’re granted 1 wish for the day – what would it be?

I'd restructure the way we deliver education and healthcare to take account of structural inequalities and social determinants of health and welfare. You can do that in a day, right?! Everything I'm working on at the moment - from my anti-self-help/self-help book Be Bad, Better: How Not Trying So Hard Will Set You Free, to the journalism I've done recently on female hormones, mental health, allergies or diabetes - seems to come back to the same problem: we don't understand how much people's lives, status and opportunities influence their health, capacity and longevity. There's a complete misunderstanding of what scarcity does to our ability to make 'good' decisions about how we live. We don't understand the value of dealing with apparently insignificant health problems (like allergy) in childhood in terms of saved costs throughout a lifetime. We ignore the long term price of not dealing with chronic conditions and things like menopause. And too many of the systems which manage health, welfare and education are tainted by misogyny and racism. That's what I'd like. But if that's too outlandish...I'd like to be able to fly 😂


FOUR | Which living person do you most admire?

Jess Phillips MP. In principle, I'd love to go into politics, but I absolutely cannot imagine dealing with the amount of negativity thrown at women in politics - I can barely handle the comments on my articles and reviews of my books, so there's no way I could withstand a Twitter pile on. But Jess Phillips manages to keep  going, advocating for the vulnerable, despite horrible online abuse. And thank god for people like her, who keep on keeping on, because social media has robbed us, I am sure, of some potentially brilliant public figures and policy makers. 


FIVE | What's your most treasured possession?

This is such an interesting question, because I really can't choose a single item. I think I have quite an intense relationship with lots of my possessions - I'm really bad at getting rid of things I no longer need, and I find losing things almost physically painful. (This makes me sound slightly mad...) I choose what I possess really carefully (I also buy very little which is new, something I've slid into doing gradually over the last few years), which I think makes the things I do choose to own or to keep feel disproportionately important. In Be Bad, Better I wrote about our relationship with our stuff and how perfectionism has bled into the way we arrange our homes via home renovation TV shows, social media and advertising, and it really opened my eyes to how we express ourselves with our surroundings, much like we do with clothes and make up, for better or for worse. 

SIX | What do you value most highly in friendship?
Listening. A lot of my friendships are quite long distance, so I don't get to see some of the people I love the most that much. When we do see each other, it's not really about what we do with the time we have together, but how much talking we can squeeze in.  

SEVEN | Where would you most like to live?
I love living where I live now - Forest Hill - where I have a garden that I've worked really hard to make joyful, and I can't really imagine living anywhere else, partly because I absolutely hate moving house and renovating or decorating. But if money were no object I'd have a place somewhere in the countryside near water in which I could swim, with loads of wild outdoor space. 

EIGHT | What's your biggest indulgence?
I'm trying to get better at indulgence. I love food and cooking and restaurants, but I've never seen food as indulgent. Since having kids, I've found it really difficult to remember to make time for myself and for rest. I think it's a habit you have to get back into after a big life change, and if you don't actively try - which can also feel off puttingly like something on a to-do list - then you can look up years later and realise you've completely forgotten how to indulge.

NINE | What does your dream scenario day look like?
I'd wake up at around 8.30am, without an alarm. It would be warm and sunny. The coffee would be great. There'd be eggs for breakfast. I'd get the chance to swim in cold water. I'd be able to have a delicious glass of wine at lunchtime without getting a headache at 4pm. Nobody would need anything in particular from me and the day wouldn't have a schedule. I'd read a novel. I'd sit down without remembering something urgent and getting back up again. Someone would make me an excellent martini at 6pm. I'd go to bed at 1am after an amazing dinner with friends and not feel guilty for staying up too late. (And the washing up would have vanished by the time I get up.)

TEN | What’s your favourite biscuit?

I can take or leave a biscuit! But - as my husband knows all too well - if there is chocolate in our house, anywhere, well...if I find it, it won't still be there the next day. I'm not snobby. I like good quality chocolate, for sure, but I'm just as happy burning through a bag of chocolate coins, or, if I'm being honest, the cooking chocolate. 

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Home day dream scenario: Pretty much every Sunday. If you asked me this question 15 years ago maybe it would be escaping for a day in London, or something like that. But now it's an easy Sunday, seeing family, a big family lunch and then flopping on the sofa in front of the fire.


My biggest career hurrah moments in fashion? Managing to actually make a living writing a fashion blog that I still love doing.