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happy milestone Una Healy says she is not scared of turning forty in October and feels 'very lucky'

The ex-Saturdays star says she's thrilled to be living back home in Thurles and why milestone birthdays don't faze her.

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Una Healy photographed by Evan Doherty.

Una Healy photographed by Evan Doherty.

Una Healy photographed by Evan Doherty.

Una Healy is sharing packing tips with Magazine+ from her new (old) home in Tipperary.

The singer joined the growing generation of boomerang kids who moved back in with their parents during the pandemic when she returned to Thurles from Northampton last July.

Between a high-profile marriage split, an overseas move and a global outbreak, all while homeschooling children Aoife Belle (nine) and Tadhg (six), it was certainly a lot to unpack.

But, looking happy and healthy in her childhood home, the 39-year-old is getting there.

"It's lovely," smiles Una over video call. "I missed out on so many years of not being home and I still have some really, really good friends back here that I'm getting to see more now.

"It's one of the nice outcomes that we reconnected and came home, and understood that life can be very fast-paced, unnecessarily, and we can do so much from home now.

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Una Healy looking stunning in her swimmers on Instagram.

Una Healy looking stunning in her swimmers on Instagram.

Una Healy looking stunning in her swimmers on Instagram.

"I've been lucky to have lots of work still coming in, but being at home is great for me because I've got the kids, and the support and the childcare with my parents. I've always been over and back.

"Even while I was living in the UK, I'd always come home for Christmas, Easter, summer, and the kids would always come back with me - so they're very familiar with here and they're really close to my parents.

"This feels very at home, and just really family for them.

"I feel really re-adjusted now. It takes a while, doesn't it, with the boxes and unloading and all that.

"I still have some of my things to sort out, but I do it little by little. I've learned that over the years - never to do anything too quickly, especially when you move.

"If it's in a box and you don't need it, leave it in the box for a while, you know?"

If the flame-haired star was tempted to box away some of the events of the past few years, who could blame her, after a rollercoaster decade and a half that saw her rise to fame with British girl group The Saturdays in 2007; wed England rugby player Ben Foden in 2012; embark on a solo career in 2014, before returning to Ireland as a single mum of two in 2020.

Suffice to say, she's now happily single -not to mention the walking embodiment of 'hot girl summer' - as she strides towards a new decade full of fresh possibilities later this year.

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Una is getting set for the mini marathon.

Una is getting set for the mini marathon.

Una is getting set for the mini marathon.

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"So much happened in those 13 years," admits Una, who found worldwide success alongside Rochelle Humes, Frankie Bridge, Vanessa White and Mollie King.

"When I moved back, I moved back with two children and just boxes and boxes of memorabilia [of] all of the things we had done. I was just going through all the singles - I loved when we had albums and CD covers - just really proud of all the stuff that we've done.

"You almost forget because it is almost like a whirlwind.

"That went gold, I think," she says as she glances over her left shoulder at a framed copy of Chasing Lights, the band's 2008 debut album, which has managed to find its way out of a box and on to the wall.

"It ended up going platinum, I think, as well. I've got loads of different discs. I want to do a whole wall, but in a room that not many people go into because I just think anyone that has them everywhere, it's a bit much - it's a shrine to yourself."

With a string of Top 10 hits including Ego among the four million records sold by the fivesome, as well as a maturing country-pop career which has just seen her duet with Canadian singer Tebey on Song of the Summer, the Tipperary woman - whose uncle is country music legend Declan Nerney - has every right to humblebrag to visitors.

As well as hosting her own Saturday (what else?) morning show on UK station Absolute Radio Country, Una has popped up as a guest presenter on RTÉ's Today Show and Virgin Media's Six O'Clock Show in recent months, something she'd "love to do some more" of.


Now the shoe designer is also lacing up to run the 2021 Vhi Virtual Women's Mini Marathon, taking place on Sunday, September 19, with a brand-new event app available to download as support for those planning to walk, jog or run the 10k for charities across the country.

"We actually do make runners," she jokes of her eponymous footwear collection.

"They're more fashionable runners. I would say you could do a little trot in them, but I wouldn't go flat-out running in them.

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Una is now an IsaDora ambassador.

Una is now an IsaDora ambassador.

Una is now an IsaDora ambassador.

"I've been running a lot lately," adds the former competitive swimmer, who has also been sharing snaps of her sea dips with followers on Instagram.

"I got back into it when the pandemic hit first. It was just a really nice way to get out and get some fresh air.

"I love it. I find for my mental health as well, it just gives me a bit of 'me time'. It's just a release.

"I can switch off, put my phone on airplane mode and just have my playlist going. I have a really motivational playlist of uptempo dance tracks that keep me going.

"I would encourage all women to get involved [in the mini marathon] - just take your time."

Not a runner right now is The Saturdays getting back together, a prospect teased by Mollie King in an interview in March as something that could happen "sooner rather than later".

"There's been no talks about it," shrugs Una. "With something like the pandemic happening, there was just no point because JLS just announced that they were getting back [together] and a big show was planned, and that didn't happen. I think that sort of put a spanner in the works for anyone that wanted to have a reunion."

Magazine+ is struggling to do the maths on the possibility of a 20th-anniversary comeback instead when the singer graciously steps back in: "I don't think it necessarily needs to be a round number.

"I think it's when the nostalgia kicks in and people want to come back and see something that reminds them of their youth. So there hasn't been any chat about it, but possibly down the line we'll do something together again."

In the meantime, Una can't wait to get the Covid-19 vaccine (now open to 30-39-year-olds), after being struck down with an illness that she believes may have been the killer virus last year.

And attending a live music gig is top of her wish list as restrictions finally ease.

"I actually was very sick at the beginning of last year, around New Year's Eve," she reveals.

"For almost the whole month of January, I was really sick [with a] very bad chest infection, and all the symptoms of it really, so I feel like that might have been it, you know.

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The Saturdays

The Saturdays

The Saturdays

"I'm never sick and I said to myself, 'I'm getting the flu jab next year because I don't want to have that flu again,' so it might possibly have been Covid. It wasn't very nice, whatever it was.

"I'm all for it," adds Una of the rollout. "I think everybody should really get the vaccine. I know some people ... vaccines in general, it's a personal choice. But I think overall we're also better protected to protect each other having it."

The health scare is sure to have put her milestone 40th birthday this October into perspective.

"I keep forgetting about that," laughs the singer, who - in a simple black sports top, ponytail and minimal makeup - could easily pass for turning 30.

"[It's] not for a few months, so I'll ride out the summer and then I'll think about that then. But it's nothing I'm scared of.

"I'm fortunate enough to be living these years and feeling great.

"So many people out there have never got to see the day of a certain age - whatever age it is. It's a different birthday, a different decade, but it's just another year. I'm very lucky to still be here.

"I don't even see stages of life being like 20s, 30s, 40s, because when I was 18, I might have thought, 'Oh, when I'm 23 or 24, I'll probably have a house and be married,'" reflects Una.

"You have these ideas of the milestones that you should have achieved, but everyone's different.

"You get your breaks at different times, and different opportunities come to you at different times as well, so I'll just continue doing what I'm doing and work hard.

"I'm actually looking forward to watching my children grow and all the excitement that they're going to bring into my life as well."

  • Registration for the 2021 Vhi Virtual Women's Mini Marathon is now open at vhiwomensminimarathon.ie

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