When she's not on our TV screens for BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing, Motsi Mabuse lives near Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and young daughter.
What's the first thing you do when you walk in your front door?
Shoes off, breathe in, breathe out. Then I drop myself on this big, big bean bag – it’s my place of relaxation.
What's your favourite time of day at home?
Between six and eight in the evening – that’s when I have some of my ‘me’ time. I get to work out, chill or meditate. I can maybe watch a movie, or just lie there and have time by myself.
Where's your happy place at home?
The bean bag! But, really, my whole place is my happy place. We live in Taunus, which is the forest close to Frankfurt, so I love it when I'm driving back there, feeling like I’m leaving everything, all the stress behind me and I’m focused on being home.
What's your home addiction?
Candles, for sure! I really love vanilla-scented ones, which remind me a little bit of home. I also like to have candles when I’m meditating and I prefer bergamot for a more earthy kind of smell.
I love the German brand Engels Kerzen, which has these big outdoor candles. It’s wonderful being able to sit on the terrace at night and light the candles.
What's your pet peeve?
I wanted a home that I would live in forever, with no stairs or anything. So that’s what annoys me about this place – the stairs! It doesn’t feel future-proofed enough.
Do you have a bad home habit you'd like to quit?
I leave my slippers everywhere I go. When I get in the house I take off my shoes and put slippers on, but when I go into another room I take those slippers off and put another pair on – so there’s literally a pair of my slippers in every room!
What chore do you love doing?
Cooking. If it even is a chore, because for me it’s meditation and I love doing it. I’ll cook everything, absolutely everything. I love exploring, cooking and feeding my family. I have the pleasure of loving food.
...and what chore do you hate doing?
Cleaning up. And ironing - I hate ironing. I just don’t do it!
Do you try your hand at DIY, or do you get someone in?
I get people in, but there’s one room I have left to do and I have this urge to do it myself. This room has got all my working-out stuff and my meditation corner, so I want to make it comfy and nice. My husband is fighting with me because he says I’m turning the house into a fitness centre, but I want this room to have a Motsi energy.
Do you think you're a good host?
I don’t host a lot, but when I do it, I go all out. I want everything to be perfect. I want to get people to that point where they just relax and have great conversations.
Because of Covid, I’ve been trying to have a 39th birthday for two years now and it’s something that I really want to host. So I’m going to have a combined 39th, 40th, 41st and 42nd birthday with all my friends and family!
What do you do if you have time on your own?
That hasn’t happened in a while – I have a toddler! But I would relax, watch a movie, write, just sit and think… it’s nice to have that moment of silence and chill.
What do you miss most about your home when you're away?
The side of you that only your home gets to see. You kind of let everything go and feel completely yourself. So I miss that quiet, that stillness of being me.
Has anything changed in the way you live your life since Covid?
I love my home even more since Covid. We bought our house in November before lockdown, so we felt lucky to have made that move when we did. The first thing we renovated was our terrace so we could enjoy some outdoor space.
Does anything change at home when you're working on Strictly?
Nothing changes, it just becomes a sacred place because it’s where I run away to. The energy at Strictly is intense, so it’s amazing to have this place where nobody can touch me. I think for everyone who stays in the UK it must be extra intense, day in and day out. But it’s just a two-hour flight, so I come in late, I go to the studio and I leave very early the next morning. One night a week – girl’s night out on Strictly!
Quick fire questions with Motsi Mabuse
- 1. Shoes - On or off in the house? Off – slippers on!
- 2. Eat at the table or on laps? Table, always. The only person who eats on the couch is my daughter because she’s somehow convinced us!
- 3. Lighting - bright or moody? Always dimmed, ideally candlelight.
- 4. Quick shower or long bath? The way life is, it’s often the quick shower!
- 5. Room decor - Completely neutral: white and grey. People think I’d have a colourful space because of Strictly, but no!
- 6. Are you a neat freak or prefer creative chaos? - I’d love to be neat, but with a toddler I’m trying to be okay with chaos.
Finding My Own Rhythm: My Story by Motsi Mabuse | £11, Amazon
Read about Motsi's life, from her beginnings as a dancer in South Africa where she went on to study law, moving to Germany to dance professionally and eventually joining the team of judges on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing in 2019.
Her autobiography, Finding My Own Rhythm: My Story by Motsi Mabuse is available now (£11, Ebury Spotlight).
Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC One from late September through to Christmas every year.
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Thea Babington-Stitt is the Assistant Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for nearly 10 years.
She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.
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