Local resident, TV presenter, property and renovation expert Lucy Alexander describes herself as someone who thrives in the company of others and who loves to socialise, hug and be close to the people in her life. It’s understandable then, that coronavirus and lockdown would have been tough for her, but Lucy’s had more than the pandemic to deal with over the past year.
Local walks with my dog Teddy are giving me life at the moment!” Lucy shares enthusiastically when we begin to chat, “I didn’t even know that Home Park existed before lockdown and I love walking through there now.”
As fellow dog lovers (and fellow Lucy’s), we’ve instantly fallen into conversation, sharing our favourite morning wanders, coffee shops and great local roads for architecture appreciation. Lucy’s list of Hampton Court hotspots is long and thoroughly researched, as she’s spent many hours over the past months walking and discovering local sights.
It’s been a difficult time of late for Lucy, and she’s needed the healing power of nature and time, as well as the support of friends and family.
“I’ve had the worst year,” she explains. “Last February my Mum died of cancer. It was awful. She was the other half of me, and we had the most incredible mother and daughter bond. It completely rocked my world.”
Shortly after her Mum passed away, lockdown arrived and Lucy’s whole family, including her Dad, husband and two children contracted coronavirus in late March. The bad news felt relentless.
“Then in April I turned fifty and I was really depressed about that,” she shares, half laughing. “I have really amazing friends in the local area, and they’d arranged all kinds of celebrations, but nothing could happen. There was no work for me because of the pandemic, and I’m someone who really thrives on being busy doing the things I love. It was tough.”
Lucy appears to be very much a ‘glass half full’ person, and as she shares the difficulties of the past year, she counters them with the beautiful events and relationships that have kept her grounded and moving forwards.
Her children, Kitty and Leo bring her so much joy, she explains. However, there’s been massive changes for them in the past year too. “Kitty has got a place at LAMDA, so she’s gone off to drama school in London and Leo now plays football full-time for Chelsea!
“So, in a year that’s brought about so much negativity, there’s been positives too,” she shares smiling. “My kids are having the time of their lives and I feel like I’ve really done my job as a parent. Now I just have to get on and try to do things that are going to make me happy.”
Lucy has been embarking on regular ‘walk and talk’ sessions, with her close set of local friends, including some who have recently lost parents too. She believes that these chats play a major role in tapping into happiness. “It’s something we now do as a group of girlfriends. None of us have had therapy, because we couldn’t throughout lockdown, so we go off for a stroll in pairs and share what’s worrying us.”
“We just walk, talk and observe the beauty around us, and I feel fantastic afterwards.”
Lucy isn’t talking about a quick once around the block though, she regularly pounds the pavement with her pals for two and a half hours and says that getting out in nature never fails to lift her mood. “We’ve been going on seven mile walks!” she continues “The whole loop - Thames Ditton, Portsmouth Road, Kingston and along the river to Hampton Court.
“We just walk, talk and observe the beauty around us, and I feel fantastic afterwards. I’m loving taking in the outdoors, even in the rain! No weather can stop us.”
These daily ventures have been so instrumental for Lucy’s wellbeing that she’s determined they’ll continue when lockdown finally ends. “I’ll make my walks a priority!” she says resolutely. “They’re so important to me now that they’ll go in the diary, like a work meeting or filming. I definitely need them in my life.”
Although being without her Mum is hard for her, with the help of her friends Lucy shares that she’s beginning to see the grey clouds starting to lift, mentally as well as in nature, as she watches the seasons shift and change on her walks.
“There was a point earlier this year when we were walking through Home Park and the sun was peeping up through the clouds. Hampton Court was in the background, and the sky was all shades of pinks and blues, and then it started to snow.
“I turned to my friend Cathy and said, ‘I just feel so grateful to be alive right now’. It was just so beautiful.”
Follow Lucy on Instagram @lucyalexandertv
Lucy’s Favourite Locals
When the walking is done, Lucy loves to relax, refuel and support local independent restaurants at the same time.
The best roast: The City Arms, Thames Ditton
They do a roast to die for! Home cooked, hearty and huge. Lovely beef, thick gravy and crispy potatoes. Delicious!
Pizza for all the family: Ditto, Thames Ditton
I’m committed to supporting local eateries and Ditto makes amazing pizza. The kids love it, as do I.
Night out: Mezzet, East Molesey
It’s absolutely one of my favourite places to eat.