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In conversation with... Sali Hughes

Who are you and what do you do?

Sali Hughes. I write in The Guardian, Red, Grazia and Glamour, and talk on Radio 4, BBC Wales and 5Live.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I told my father when I was five that I wanted to write books. Thirty three years later, I’ve only just got around to it! But I always wanted to write and I love my job. I’ve been a journalist for 18 years and that was wholly inspired by reading Just Seventeen religiously as a kid. I still think it’s the greatest magazine of all time. I feel sad that young girls now have nothing similar.

How do you relax/switch off?

I’m a film buff so the cinema is probably my favourite way to switch off, especially if I go on my own, which I love. My favourite way to relax is going back to bed with a cup of tea and my Kindle. I don’t get to do it often but when I do, it feels like the highest state of bliss. I also love watching DVDs and eating popcorn with my children, and laughing over dinner with my friends. I am a big relaxer - it’s essential for happiness.

Favourite book?

I read lots of novels, but my favourite book is probably Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez’s incredible Perfumes: The A-Z Guide. I am obsessed with scent but truly, you don’t need to be to love this book - my boyfriend became hooked after reading just one paragraph. It’s just beautifully written, laugh out loud funny and endlessly inspiring. I pick it up several times a week and it never fails to cheer me up.

Favourite film?

Film is my greatest passion so it’s extremely hard to pick a favourite. I adore old Woody Allen - Annie Hall, Manhattan, Crimes & Misdemeanors, Hannah & Her Sisters - and practically know the scripts by heart. I also love Billy Wilder’s The Apartment, starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley Maclaine. It’s the greatest on screen romance of all time, I think.

Favourite blog/website?

I would have to say! Not only because it’s mine, but mainly because I find the several thousand forum members endlessly interesting and inspiring. They represent such a broad span of careers, beliefs, lifestyles and so on, but are unified by a love of beauty and a shared sense of humour. On any given day there will be threads on a hundred different topics, from the highly political to the absolutely absurd.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I always think that if something gives you pleasure and doesn’t harm anyone else, then you should never feel guilty about it! I suppose my most shameful pleasure is watching Geordie Shore, possibly the trashiest programme of all time and one I’m addicted to watching, horrified, from behind a cushion.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“You will work with everyone again”. This is absolutely true in my industry. You need to be nice and get on with people. Anyone you disrespect, ignore or screw over now will be in a position to help you later on.

What are you listening to at the moment?

I find it very difficult to write to any music with lyrics, so I’m enjoying lots of ambient stuff while I finish my book. My favourite is British Sea Power’s Man of Aran, a beautiful orchestral album based on an iconic black and white documentary about Scottish fishermen. It’s very moving and great to work to.

Favourite thing about Winter?

I love everything about it! Curling up in pyjamas under a blanket to watch a boxed set, waiting for the curry to arrive while it blows a gale outside - there’s nothing more comforting. And making Christmas lists. It’s my favourite time of year.