Wilde in the country

Date
Published in
Sunday - News of the world magazine (UK)
Written by
Julie Burniston

How Kim transformed from Eighties pop idol to garden guru and domestic goddess

Kim Wilde is digging in the garden of her converted barn in Hertfordshire. It's freezing, but she's glowing - down-to-earth and beautiful with just a hint of make-up.
"The natural look is more me now, what with the kids and the school run and the gardening", she laughs. "But of course I'm a woman - I still like to look good even when I'm covered in mud!".
An hour later, Kim, 43, is giggling in her farmhouse kitchen as she knocks up her specialty, Thai green curry, dressed in a knock-'em-dead evening gown, with perfect blonde hair and ruby red lips. It's clear she's blissfully happy in her role as wife to husband Hal Fowler, 35, and mother of their children Harry, six, and Rose, four.
"We do a lot of indoor and outdoor entertaining. I grow a lot of food in the garden and Hal usually does the cooking", Kim says. "I do make the odd cake and I also get the kids cooking when I can stomach the idea of cleaning the kitchen up afterwards!"
But Kim's inner pop star still surfaces when it comes to getting glamorous in front of the camera. "It's great getting dolled up for shoots, it shows another side to me", she says. "But as soon as it's over I'll be back in my old jeans. That's the great thing about my life, it's full of contrasts. I thrive on new challenges. So I'm either a gardener, an Eighties sex goddess or a mum".
Returning to her passion for gardening Kim, who enjoyed 20 hits in the Eighties, including Kids in America, says: "Before I married Hal, I concentrated on the interior of my home, but when we had children we thought we had better make a garden for them. I thought growing my own food would be complicated but I bought packets of seeds, looked at the instructions and had a go. Then I wanted to learn more, so I went to horticultural college during the summer when I was pregnant with Harry. Shortly after, I was picked for ITV's Better Gardens. I have to pinch myself when people talk about me as a garden expert. I get insecure sometimes, but what helps is my genuine passion for it."
Kim is the face of Tchibo, a chain of coffee shops that also sells stylish clothing, garden and kitchen equipment, even office and beauty products. Tchibo changes its theme every Wednesday, sending a weekly catalogue to customers. All Tchibo's products can be bought online up to five weeks after the theme is over, depending how long stocks last.
"I like the idea of loads of different products that change every week. It's a great concept to be able to buy a jacket alongside a watering can", says Kim. "If you're as busy as me, that'll save travelling round the shops. Besides, I love a bargain!"