The Feelgood Files: Presenter Vick Hope Talks Instant Pick-Me-Ups

TV and radio presenter, and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Vick Hope discusses her favourite mood-boosters

The Feelgood Files: Vick Hope

by grazia |
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TV and radio presenter, and former Strictly Come Dancing Contestant Vick Hope talks Grazia through her favourite instant pick-me-ups in the latest edition of The Feelgood Files.

**The song I listen to when I need a boost:**Dancing On My Own, by Robyn. There is such pure euphoria to be experienced when turning this song up to 11 and dancing like no-one's watching around your kitchen...on your own. I love Robyn's voice, the synths are epic and although the lyrics evoke a lot of sad feelings, it feels cleansing to sing this at the top of your voice and just get it all out. At the moment I'm having little Robyn solo dance parties in my kitchen at least once every day, and promise you an invigorating boost if you do the same!

The book I can’t put down: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo is so phenomenally written, following the interlinking lives and stories of women of colour navigating life mainly in the UK. It's so beautiful, perceptive and insightful, giving us so much to think about and changing the way we see the world and the experiences of others. I recently learned a new word that feels a very appropriate way of describing the effect this novel has: 'Sonder - n. the realization that each random passer by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.' From Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig.

My go-to feelgood recipe: When you can't get out to buy specific ingredients, whipping up your own curry paste or harissa paste is super satisfying, using all those powdered spices that often sit at the back of the cupboard. Mixing together paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and dried mint or thyme in a baking tray with oil and heating before smothering over white fish and vine tomatoes, then baking for 10 minutes is so easy and so delicious. Melissa Hemsley has a lovely recipe in her Eat Happy cookbook where she suggests serving this with cauliflower grated into 'couscous', fried up with garlic and lemon zest. It feels fancy and comforting in equal measure!

The Instagram account that brings me joy: Rupi Kaur is an author and poet who posts the most beautiful, thought-provoking excerpts on her Instagram. Sometimes when the world feels like a dark place, I think there is light to be found in lyricism that articulates this very darkness. I find Rupi's poetry so soothing, and once you've digested them, her words stay with you, you take them into your day and they're there for whenever you need to remember them.

There are some friends who you can reconnect with whenever and it's like no time has passed at all; those relationships are so special, because they feel like home

What never fails to make me smile: Chats with some of my best friends, whether in person, by phone or over WhatsApp. Sometimes I worry that I'm terrible at communication and keeping in touch, but there are some friends who you can reconnect with whenever and it's like no time has passed at all; those relationships are so special, because they feel like home. When we feel down or lonely, remembering that we have friends out there who know us so well and love and care about us, who feel like home, there is solace to be found.

My favourite at-home workout: DANCING! Even if it's just putting on a great playlist (I strongly suggest sticking Lizzo and Beyonce on for optimal feel-good factor) and having a good old dance around your house, it gets you moving and gets the endorphins going. There are some brilliant dance workout videos online too, which are free for you to watch on YouTube and you can follow at home, so even though we're not going out at the moment, you can have a party in your living room! My favourites are Nicole Steen's 30 Minute Cardio Latin Dance Workout which brings together all sorts of styles from merengue to salsa, samba, reggaeton and cumbia, Selena Watkins' Socanomics which is Caribbean-based dance workout (so lots of whining and booty-shaking, it feels like Carnival in the flat!).

My feel-good at-home beauty routine: There's something really luxurious about painting your toenails! I think it's because you have to wait for them to dry, so you have to put a decent amount of time aside to do it. Making it ring-fenced pamper time. I'm a big fan of the classic bath/face mask/red wine/good book combo for ultimate relaxation, and a skincare routine made up of hundreds of steps before bed makes it feel like you're doing yourself some good, whilst drawing a line under the day.

My failsafe face mask: REN's Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask, £32, which seems to do the trick no matter what state my skin is in. It calms redness during breakouts, but also soothes dryness and just gives an all round plumping glow. It's like a hug in a face mask!

Another song that makes me smile: It's always lovely and nostalgic to go back and listen to albums from the bands of our teenage years. Travis, Athlete, Aqualung, Snow Patrol, The Coral, Jet, early Coldplay and Get Cape Wear Cape Fly were amongst some of my favourites, at a time when a standard Friday night would involve listening to a whole album whilst singing along from the lyrics provided in the little booklet in the album sleeve. Every time I return to those songs I remember every single word, it's amazing what we retain. And now that Friday nights may be starting to look a bit like that again, there's some comfort in the other memories that come rushing back: what we wore back then, what we studied, who we fancied, all the thoughts and feelings that filled our waking days and the dreams that may now have come true.

The smell that lifts my mood: Fresh air! I know it doesn't technically smell of anything and totally depends where you are, but even just opening my window or standing on my balcony and inhaling a deep breath of London air, oxygenating my brain and standing still for a moment to take everything in makes me feel so much better. I think it's the process of taking time over long, deep inhalations and exhalations that is so meditative, but there's definitely something of the air's scent in there too! I maintain that the very best smelling air is from that first deep breath I take when stepping off the train on arrival into my hometown of Newcastle.

The movie I’ll happily watch again and again: I'm sure I'm not alone in knowing that without fail I will laugh and cry every time I watch Forrest Gump. It doesn't matter that you know what is going to happen because it's the 658th time you're watching it, but every emotion you feel hits differently each time, depending on the state you're in that day, what's happening in your life, the shifts in the world around you, especially as Forrest's world experiences such seismic changes over the years of his life too. Colin Hanks' performance is so evocative and it's just the most perfectly made film.

The Netflix show I tell everyone to watch: Cheer! Oh my gosh, I wasn't expecting to become so invested in the Navarro cheerleading squad, but this documentary series was everything. The kids in the squad are so inspiring, many of them have come from difficult backgrounds and show what grit and determination in the face of adversity can achieve, as they put incredible work into their tumbles, stunts and pyramids (note: you become obsessed with cheer lingo and 'mat talk') en route to the Daytona national championships. What their bodies can do is unbelievable, but it's the human stories that get you the most. They're all such good people who look out for one another and care passionately about their sport, even though for many this is the end of the road, as there's no cheerleading after college - there's something so poignant in that and honestly it's gripping, you'll burn through the whole series in no time.

My happy place: As much as I love to travel, home is my sanctuary. When we're always on the move, those moments of stillness are precious, and coming home to an apartment which - although small - I have decorated and kept exactly as I like it, brings me immense pleasure and joy. I love lighting candles, putting on music and settling down to the evening in what feels like a haven, a safe space where I can just be, and block out the noise of the world when it needs blocking out. I was very anxious about living alone, having previously rented with mates for 7 years (and before that, uni...and before that, living with my family of 6), but I have learned to love being on my own and find great peace in my little flat.

A final inspirational note from me: Here are a couple more of my favourite new words for you to slip in to maybe make describing your day feel a little more beautiful (I love discovering vocab to articulate feelings that may have felt otherwise indescribable):

'Silience - n. the kind of unnoticed excellence that carries on around you every day, unremarkably—the hidden talents of friends and coworkers, the fleeting solos of subway buskers, the slapdash eloquence of anonymous users, the unseen portfolios of aspiring artists—which would be renowned as masterpieces if only they’d been appraised by the cartel of popular taste, who assume that brilliance is a rare and precious quality, accidentally overlooking buried jewels that may not be flawless but are still somehow perfect. '

'Kairosclerosis - n. the moment you realize that you’re currently happy—consciously trying to savour the feeling—which prompts your intellect to identify it, pick it apart and put it in context, where it will slowly dissolve until it’s little more than an aftertaste.'

From Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig.

Shop: Vick Hope's Favourite Face Mask


The Feelgood Files: Vick Hope Favourite Face Mask

REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Face Mask, £321 of 1

REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Face Mask

One of REN's brilliant products the rescue mask will calm, soothe and moisturise, helping to instantly alleviate the key signs of sensitive skin.

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