Life lessons: Carol Smillie

Life lessons: Carol Smillie

Embrace every decade

Every decade is a good decade. You should not worry about growing older as you are wasting your energy! I don’t worry. I can remember my mother was so obsessed about it all and we used to take the mickey out of her for going on about her age. There are people dying in the world. Get over it. You should look at all the positives in life.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone

I regularly push myself out of my comfort zone. It’s the one thing my husband, Alex, doesn't know how I do it. He panics, and has to think about it all a bit more. My view is, what's the worst that can happen? My parents gave me great work values when I was growing up. They told me not to wait for someone or something to come along as it won’t happen. They weren’t wealthy and they did not have a lot of material things but the values they taught me were good ones.

I will never complain about the TV ageism debate

A couple of years ago, I did start to think that I was not working in television as much. But it is the way of the world and I always knew that when I first started. When I was in my 20s, I didn’t give a second’s thought to the (older) girls. Now I am in no position to talk about it. It will never change in my lifetime - so I just went out and found a new challenge to tackle.

It’s important to work at a marriage. Don’t give up

I’ve been married for 23 years now, and my marriage to Alex works really well. We do respect each other and we both believe that marriage is for life. You shouldn’t give up on it. We are both the youngest of two big families and we share the same ideals. Both our parents were married for more than 50 years and both died still married to the same person.

Juggling lots of plates keeps me happy

I can never be a person who just lunches. It’s fun but if I did it all the time, I think I would go bonkers! My three children have always been really cool about me working. I am lucky as my job means I am around for my children more than most full-time mums. They know it is part of who I am.

Walking the dogs helps me have head space

I do like to walk my two Labradors every day for an hour. It’s my way of clearing my head. They are an extension of my family – plus they don’t get drunk, they don’t answer back and they just adore you! I am not really a sporty person though. My friend, Annabel Croft, is my arch nemesis. She is Mrs Sport and I am the opposite!

As a nation, we are still afraid about talking about taboo subjects

I set up a company, Diary Doll, with Annabel two years ago selling special pants for girls. Periods are the most normal thing in the world but I completely under estimated the level of taboo it still is. But it’s been exciting to do and I am really enjoying the new challenge. You don’t need to be ruthless to get on with running a company. It’s taken over my life but I am loving every minute. Will I launch another product in a taboo area? Err, no! I think one is enough for now...

Who or what made you the person you are today?

My husband Alex has made me who I am today. He is my best friend and he is such an inspirational person. We gee each other along. He is very good at handling me. I need a strong hand sometimes and he will sometimes say, ‘oh gosh you are not that good’! But he is so supportive of everything I do.
Carol Smillie has become the newest face of British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) Furniture & Electrical stores. Taking on her role as the latest BHF ‘Homes Expert’, Carol has selected her favourite pieces and styled them. To find out where your nearest store is, visit