Made In Chelsea’s star cast member Jane Felstead chats to Celebrity Secrets about her very own battle with multiple sclerosis (MS), a fetish for Waitrose own brand chocolate biscuits, and life as a grandma
You’re launching a campaign called Kiss Goodbye to MS, asking people to give up their ‘guilty pleasure’ to raise money for research, what’s your guilty pleasure?
“I’ve got a thing for Waitrose own chocolate biscuits – I’m obsessed with them. Binks said to me: ‘You’ve got a problem, you need to knock this on the head.’ I eat a packet a day and that is something I’ve got to give up!”
What was it like being told you had MS, after believing you had fibromyalgia?
“It was frustrating. On the day they told me I had MS, the neurologist said there were lots of elisions in my hair. I sort of knew what she was going to say, so I was cross, of course, but relieved. I was getting so bored of struggling around without knowing what the problem was. My aunt died of MS, and I had mentioned that so many times, but that’s life. Now, I’m just learning to live with it.”
Now that you know what it is, is it easier to deal with day to day?
“Yes, much easier. I asked the neurologist if I was going to end up in a wheelchair and she said, ‘no Jane, you’re not.’ Since then I have tried to think positively. I’m researching everyday and I’ve found that nutrition is essential. I’m lucky that I can afford to spend my money on good food, but we can all try to eat healthier. The doctor told me to avoid processed foods because they’re so hard for the body to break down and instead, I take vitamins 3, 6 and 9.”
Your lovely Binky has been doing so well with adjusting to life as a new mum, what are you most proud of her for?
“She’s a natural mother, I’ve always known that. My cousin would come over with her her two kids when Binky was younger, and she would always have one of the children on her lap. But with India I love how she’s managed to incorporate her into her life, and remain exactly the same. Binky is still Binky, she still struggles with a washing machine, and she’s still as barking as she always was!”
What has been the most life changing thing for you since becoming a grandma?
“The MS diagnosis gave me relief because I understood what it was, and a determination to try to crack it. Having grandkids has given me even more of an incentive to fight it because I don’t want to be a grandma in a wheelchair, I want to be a granny on the beach and making sandcastles! I have another grandchild on the way in June and I don’t want to miss out on that.”
What would be your advice for someone also struggling with MS?
“My grandma died of MS, but I hadn’t really looked into it before being diagnosed. I would recommend meditating to manage stress. I wish I’d known that less stress, more meditation, better food, more sleep and more joy can help. If you’re feeling low, go and see a funny film and forget the ironing. Focus on doing things that lift your energy, because when you have more energy you can cope better.”
You suffered from anxiety and depression when you were pregnant. What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with their mental health?
“When I was pregnant with my first child, I moved away from home for the first time. We moved somewhere miles away, and my husband worked long hours, so I was lonely. I remember my mother in law saying to me: ‘Dear, can’t you just pull yourself together?’ That was the worst thing to hear, so I would always recommend finding someone that you can talk to. Josh [Joshua Patterson] is raising awareness by speaking out on his social media channels. I think that’s great because if the young and gorgeous start talking about it, then it’s alright for everyone to do so!”
What was it like being on MIC?
“It was brilliant. Made in Chelsea gave me a platform for positive things. I never felt fulfilled before that. I wanted more but I never knew what more was, because I was never educated properly. I was a bit shocked with all the support I received from it, but I think it’s because people love straight talking, and I’m too old to do anything but! Perhaps that’s one of the main reasons that young people have written to me for help with their problems, because they know I’m not going to tell anybody.”
You look so glamorous all the time! Could you give us one of your beauty tips?
“Ponds Cold Cream is the most amazing cream in the world. When I was young I really was the ugly duckling of the family, because I had a spotty face. One day I took myself off to the chemist and I picked up some Ponds Cold Cream for dry skin. I remember that after a few days of using it, the spots started to disappear. Nowadays, both of my girls use it. It’s amazing!”
How do you stay fit and healthy?
“I’ve got a dog called Ted and a house in Sussex, as well as a flat up here in Chelsea. I spend my life between the two. Running after kids and grandchildren is quite a task in itself, and I love walking around London. I do have a gym membership, but I haven’t used it very much since I was diagnosed with MS.”
Could you tell our Celebrity Secrets readers one thing that they don’t already know about you?
“I’m obsessed with the Backstreet Boys and Bruno Mars – I love their dancing. I did a dance class in London once, but what I didn’t realise was that I’d signed myself up for a break dancing class! Me, break dancing! Of all people!”
Kiss Goodbye to MS aims to encourage younger women affected by MS, as well as their inner circles – partners, friends, children, parents, or colleagues – to raise money for research by giving up their guilty pleasure. To find out more visit mssociety.org.uk