‘Your Life’ (or more accurately, it’s ‘My Life’) in Sainsbury’s Magazine

This portrait was notable as the first time I’ve ever worn false eye-lashes – and it could well be the last time too, nasty spidery things they were!

‘Your Life’, Sainsbury’s Magazine, p. 25, June 2012

Having a sense of vocation is both lucky and valuable. When I was nineteen I visited a National Trust property in Salisbury called Mompesson House.  As I walked around, it suddenly hit me that people worked there, and I thought ‘that’s what I want to do’.

I like evidence that I’ve caused a changed in other people. I feel proudest when someone writes to me and says ‘I think history is more interesting now’ because of an exhibition I’ve done, a book I’ve written or a television programme I’ve made.

With effective time management, nothing should hold you back. That’s something my mother has taught me.  She’s fearsomely efficient and, put in charge of something, she’ll shake it up and improve it in no time at all.

Getting a good work-life balance depends on your definition. A lot of people would say I have a dreadful one, but when I’m sitting in the British Library on a Saturday morning researching, I’m really enjoying myself.

When I’m working, I aim to get into ‘the flow’, a state of being where I’m so absorbed in what I’m doing that I don’t notice the passage of time and don’t want to stop.

Getting out and exercising can help to solve anything, as far as I’m concerned. I hope I never had a problem that doesn’t look smaller after an hour of running and an hour of yoga.

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