Cooking legend and TV personality Mary Berry lives in Henley, Oxfordshire with her husband Paul and two dogs Darcy and Freddy.
What is the first thing you do the second you walk through your front door?
Tell the dogs to be quiet! If I’ve been away, the first thing I do is go into the garden and see what I can pick to make the house home.
There is always something in the garden to pick – we’ve got some irises and they’re on the kitchen table now.
What’s your favourite time of the day at home?
At the end of the day, you know when you’ve achieved what you’ve set out from your list for the day, and the door closes.
I think six o’clock is about my favourite time, sitting down, perhaps having a drink and thinking I’d better get on with some supper.
Where’s your happy place at home?
I love my kitchen. We now live in Henley and the house is just what we want. We have a main family kitchen, then we have a little kitchen where we do all the testing.
People say my recipes work, it’s because they are tried out until we’ve made them perfect for everybody else to make.
What’s on your bedside table?
A clock, a picture of the children, my book of the moment. I’m reading Diary of a Modern Country Gardener by Tamsin Westhorpe. It’s a diary of each month, and I’m looking at each month and what I should be doing in the garden.
What’s your home addiction?
I can’t resist buying jugs to put flowers in, and I’m always looking out for antique mugs. In my English Garden range, I have mugs and jugs – they’re very simple and beautiful china.
From the very beginning when the signature range was produced, I wanted china which was very good quality, dishwasher proof, you can heat it so you can have hot plates, but a very simple design. I’ve used it every day, particularly the dinner plates and I haven’t cracked any.
What’s your home pet peeve?
I don’t like to go to bed without a tidy kitchen, because I can’t bear coming down in the morning to mess.
What smell says ‘home’ to you?
I love the smell of a good rose, like Chandos beauty. And I love the smell of melting butter for an omelette!
Do you have a bad home habit you’d like to quit?
I like everything back in its place – I think that must infuriate people. I’ve got a lot of hooks near the cooker and there are sieves on one, a ladle on another and everything has to be put back in its place, so I know where it is.
What chore do you love doing?
I don’t call it a chore, but something I enjoy is always having flowers in the house. I try to have some in the garden all year round. I do like to have something to pick.
…and what chore do you hate doing?
Making up a bed from scratch. I really find that frightfully boring! I learnt my hospital corners early on at college, and I don’t like it anymore now.
Do you have any routines at home?
Every morning I get up and I make a fruit salad for breakfast. I have done it every single day of my life. Then we walk the dogs.
Do you think you’re a good host?
I hope I’m a good host. To me, the secret of being a good host is to have done a bit of organising beforehand. If you’re having a few people round for drinks, it’s essential to have everything ready and prepared so you’re not spending all the time in the kitchen.
I had all my children and grandchildren round on Monday and I made three curries. All that was cooked ahead, everything was done before they walked through the door.
It’s important to spend time with your guests and if you have prepared things well, and maybe you’ve frozen the food if it’s suitable, or cooked it the day before or earlier in the day. Then you can enjoy your guests.
What do you do if you have time at home on your own?
I’m more than likely, if it’s a nice day, to be out in the garden, or if I’m on my own I’m very likely to think ‘oh I’ll do a bit of batch cooking for another day.’
What do you miss most about your home when you’re away?
I miss the dogs, really. We don’t take them with us usually. We have two, Darcy, named after Darcy Bussell, and Freddy, her son. I love them a lot and they’re lovely to come home to.
Quick fire questions with Mary Berry
1. Shoes – On or off in the house? Definitely on.
2. Eat at the table or on laps? At the table.
3. Lighting – are your rooms usually bright or moodily lit? Depending on the time of day, and what we’re doing. Bright if I want to read, if we’re relaxing and having a meal a little bit lower.
4. Quick shower or long bath? I hate showers, I love baths.
5. Room decor – Colourful or neutral? Fairly neutral.
6. Are you a neat freak or do you prefer to be surrounded by creative chaos? I like to be tidy. But I do have certain drawers that are a mess.
7. Do you tend to have music/the radio/TV on at home in the background or do you prefer peace and quiet? I love peace.
Mary Berry’s latest tableware collection is available to buy from Harts of Stur (opens in new tab). Watch Mary Berry’s Cook & Share (opens in new tab) on BBC iPlayer and her latest book, Mary’s Baking Bible (opens in new tab) is available now at Amazon and other good bookshops.
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