Clodagh McKenna Home Truths - and why the country has become her favourite place

Chef and author Clodagh McKenna gets up close & personal with her home

clodagh mckenna standing with a bowl of food in her hand
(Image credit: Dora Kazmierak)

Chef, author and ITV's This Morning regular, Clodagh McKenna lives in Hampshire with her husband Harry, their two dogs and six chickens.

What’s your favourite time of the day at home?

Definitely really early in the morning, around 6am. I love being up just before the sun breaks. That silence and stillness before all the world kind of wakes up. There's a really lovely, gentle energy to that time of day. 

I never used to be a morning person but because of This Morning, I’ve learned to embrace it!

Where’s your happy place at home?

We're very lucky that we have beautiful woodland surrounding our home. It has the most beautiful lime trees and cedar trees - I just love being out there. 

I’ll sometimes even lie down in the middle of the woods and just look up to the sky through the trees for about ten minutes and completely relax.

clodagh mckenna standing holding a quiche in her hands

(Image credit: Dora Kazmierak)

What’s on your bedside table?

Well, there’s my portable phone charger which I bought about a month ago - I honestly don't know how I lived without it! I usually have a couple of magazines by my bedside, too. 

I know everybody looks at everything online now but I just love magazines, I just love the experience of reading them.  

I’ll also have a smelly candle on my bedside table, too. My house is full of candles and they’re all Diptyque - my favourite is called Baies - I feel like I should have shares in their company!

What’s your home shopping addiction?

Oh that’s easy… plants. I am totally addicted to buying plants, especially in spring and summertime. I try to hold myself back from going to the garden centre more than once a week! 

This year, I became slightly obsessed with lots of planted up pots beside each door, you know... almost like they’re flowing out of each doorway…? I love being surrounded by big groups of pots and planters, all with similar plants growing out of them. 

In the springtime, I'll have just tonnes of daffodils, all different varieties in pots and planters everywhere. Summertime is for cosmos, while in wintertime, I plant up heathers.

Do you think you’re a good host?

Yes, I do, absolutely. I've definitely learned over the years what the important things of being a good host are, which is simply about being really happy about people arriving. 

That's the most important thing that a host should be - in a good mood when your guests arrive. Because otherwise there's really no point of having people around!  

No matter what you’re serving them, no matter how gorgeous your house looks, you have to be happy!

Buy Clodagh's latest recipe book here...

What do you miss the most about your home when you’re away?

Everything. I miss the quietness, I miss the quality of air because we live around so many trees. I miss our animals and all the wildlife. We moved to the countryside three years ago - I honestly don’t know how I lived in the city before!

Quick fire questions with Clodagh McKenna

clodagh mckenna cuddling her hen

(Image credit: Dora Kazmierak)

1. Shoes – on or off? Off. Slippers in the house!

2. Eat – table or on laps? Table.

3. Lighting – bright or moody? Moody. With lots of candles!

4. Quick shower or long bath? I have a long bath every single day.

5. Room decor – colourful or neutral? It depends what the room is used for.  Our bedroom is more neutral than any of the other rooms in our home. I definitely have decorated with bolder, more primary colours elsewhere in the house.

Ginevra Benedetti
Deputy Editor (Print)

Ginevra Benedetti has been the Deputy Editor of Ideal Home magazine since 2021. With a career in magazines spanning nearly twenty years, she has worked for the majority of the UK’s interiors magazines, both as staff and as a freelancer. She first joined the Ideal Home team in 2011, initially as the Deputy Decorating Editor and has never left! She currently oversees the publication of the brand’s magazine each month, from planning through to publication, editing, writing or commissioning the majority of the content.