Carole Caplin: You Ask The Questions

Have you ever scrubbed toxins off people's naked bodies in the shower? And which politician could do with your professional treatment?
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The Independent Online

Carole Caplin, 43, was born in London. Her parents divorced when she was two and a half. A health therapist, since the mid-1990s she has run a training company called LifeSmart which advises clients on fitness and wellbeing. She came to public attention when Cherie Blair became a client. Their relationship came under scrutiny in 2002 after Caplin's then boyfriend, Peter Foster, a convicted fraudster, helped the Blairs to buy two flats in Bristol. Caplin is single and lives in London.

Carole Caplin, 43, was born in London. Her parents divorced when she was two and a half. A health therapist, since the mid-1990s she has run a training company called LifeSmart which advises clients on fitness and wellbeing. She came to public attention when Cherie Blair became a client. Their relationship came under scrutiny in 2002 after Caplin's then boyfriend, Peter Foster, a convicted fraudster, helped the Blairs to buy two flats in Bristol. Caplin is single and lives in London.

Have you always been well-organised, well-exercised and well-dressed?
Ian Palmer, by e-mail

Well-dressed is a matter of opinion, so I'll leave that for others to answer. But I am very organised and I always have been. As a child, I was always very sporty, but after I went into business in my early twenties, I developed a serious back problem and had a complete breakdown. I got acne, candida and could barely move from the waist down. I went from being Little Miss Bendy to being a wallowing, red-faced, smelly, fat, pain-racked woman. The process of coming back from that is how I developed my ideas on health, fitness and wellbeing. It took me three-and-a-half years to turn the corner. I couldn't have paid for that experience.

What's the last thing I should do at night to make sure I wake up feeling refreshed?
Georgina Henry, Eastbourne

Immerse yourself in water, preferably in a bath, even if it's just for five minutes. Having a bath allows the day - and all the chemicals that have grabbed on to you - to be washed away.

Does it hurt you when people are unpleasant to you just because they want to attack people you are associated with?
Sue Reed, by e-mail

Yes, I'd be a liar if I said it didn't. But what's hurt me most is what the press has done to my mother, Sylvia. They have said some extraordinary things - mainly because Peter Foster has been such a fuckhead - for example, that she talks to the dead. She doesn't, otherwise I would have had something to say to my father through her, but I never got the opportunity. If you met my mother, you'd just burst out laughing at those allegations.

What common wardrobe error do most British women make?
Julia Benn, by e-mail

Wearing too much black. It just doesn't suit some people.

Which British politician, past or present, would you most like to turn your professional attentions to?
Johnny Smith, Bolton

All of them. The extraordinary thing about politics is that there is no proper training for people going into it. The whole system needs to change. And individual politicians need to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. It's no use being scared of going to the doctor for a check-up because you're a politician in the public eye. The prime minister should only serve for a maximum of eight years as in the United States. And before MPs enter Parliament, they should all have a medical.

Do you consider yourself beautiful?
Pippa Woods, London

No. I consider myself attractive with really nice skin. I've made the best of myself. I was incredibly self-conscious for my first 25 years. I had a real problem with my face. I think that probably came from the time I was a very geeky 13-year-old and I said to my father that I wanted to be a model. He said, "Well, I guess some of the ugliest girls have made the best models."

Do you have any political leanings?
Karen Eccles, Manchester

I have never found one party or one religion which has all the answers. Each offers you something that makes sense. I have voted in the past, but I don't want to tell you who I voted for. I tend to get fired up by single issues like MMR and obesity.

Is being in the public eye good for your wellbeing?
Tim Stevens, by e-mail

No, I have had to draw on all my resources. When I open a newspaper and see myself compared to people like the Vanity Fair heroine Becky Sharp, I do find it difficult. I'm a sensitive creature. Articles like that just make you want to go to sleep. There have been times when I've been very depressed. But I've not changed anything in my life and I think that's helped me. My day job is the same. I haven't gone on reality TV shows. I haven't done what people thought I would do. I haven't taken the million pounds to write a book on my experiences. But the last few years have certainly made me more careful. I've certainly changed the way I judge men. It's been like dodging bullets.

Let's clear this up: have you ever scrubbed toxins off people's naked bodies in the shower?
Hillary Moran, by e-mail

Honey, you couldn't pay me enough money. That allegation came from a News of the World article, which was full of some prime nutty statements. So, no I don't scrub toxins off people's naked bodies. However, I do advise people that it's very good to brush their skin.

What is the secret of long-lasting female friendship?
Amy Turner, London

Never forgetting to be honest with each other. If a friend is upset about something, instead of just saying "there, there", if I honestly think that there's something she is doing that's contributing to her problems, then I will tell her. And I expect my friends to do the same for me. But you must always do it with respect. I'm lucky to have a really close circle of male and female friends who I've known for 15 to 20 years.

What TV offers have you turned down?
Chris Owen, Leicester

I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, The Farm and Celebrity Big Brother. Several papers reported that I was doing Celebrity Big Brother. I issued a press statement immediately saying those reports were untrue, but no one paid any attention. That's what my life's been like for the last two years.

Which alternative remedy, if any, do you consider absolute rubbish?
Katie Jones, by e-mail

There are many that are rubbish, especially some health supplements, which are made up mainly of chalk. They are impossible to digest and don't do you any good.

How much chocolate can you eat in one sitting?
Jo Kirkby, Knaresborough

I'm a complete pig. I can go out and buy six or eight chocolate bars and they can be gone in two to three minutes. I like Dime bars, Flake and anything with caramel in the middle - that is my orgasmic favourite. And then I'm so sick that I don't do it again for nine months. My other weakness used to be trying to rescue people. People don't always want rescuing and so I've learnt in the last five years to stop doing it.

The last few years have been turbulent for you. What advice are you giving yourself for 2005?
Helen Grove, Coventry

When you go through something like I have, you can become very closed, very cynical. People tell me not to be so trusting. So, this year, I need to get the balance between being who I've always been and being silly.

'LifeSmart: Get the Facts, Follow the Steps, Feel the Difference' by Carole Caplin is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, price £16.99

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