Soul singer and songwriter Siobhan Brown (50), from Manukahunney, is director of the Cairde Community Choir which has recorded a Nina Simone song to raise money for an operation for her friend Naomi who has scoliosis. Siobhan, a mum of two, is a conservation architect, director of Flamma Fire protection services and culture awareness trainer.
: Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?
A: Yes. I could see myself gradually becoming very inactive with the lockdown in 2020. My frustration was that even if I did start an exercise regime, I inevitably would give up after about three weeks. So in June last year I decided to see if I could get myself into a exercise habit that I would stick to. My challenge was to get past three weeks and do any form of exercise each day. I challenged myself to exercise every day for four weeks. I am delighted to say I am now on week 41 and still active – I don’t get to exercise every day now but I try and make sure I exercise at least three times a week. I also started cycling in 2020 after getting a great bike as part of my 50th birthday present from my hubby.
Q: What is the worst illness you’ve had?
A: In 2010 I found myself with constant pains in my legs, not able to move quickly, heart palpitations and out of breath, all caused by an overactive thyroid, which affects your autoimmune system. I got over that without having to take medication by changing to a vegan diet and doing gentle but regular exercise. However, in 2019 I found a lump in my thyroid and had to have an operation to have it removed. I was told there was a chance I wouldn’t be able to sing because the lump was right next to the nerve that affects your vocal chords. But the surgeon did an amazing job at protecting my vocal chords.
Q: How healthy is your diet?
A: Quite healthy. I am predominantly vegetarian but I eat small amounts of chicken and occasionally a little fish. But my preferred food is healthy vegan or vegetarian food – fresh food, salads, fruit, nuts, beans etc. I am a believer in food being used to heal the body, so the better we eat, the better the body can function.
Q: Any bad habits?
A: My big things would be eating too many sweet things from time to time and not drinking enough water.
Q: Do you drink and smoke/ if so how much?
A: I don’t smoke, I never have. I don’t really drink either and have never had a desire to. I can relax and have fun without drinking so it’s never been my thing.
Q: Do you take any supplements?
A: Yes I take vitamin D, magnesium and zinc.
Q: How do you take time out?
A: I love going for walks , listening to music, singing and socialising with my family or friends. I also meet my choir each week. I recently created a musical arrangement of the Nina Simone song ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free’ for my choir. The arrangement has been created to raise funds for Naomi, the daughter of a member of the choir Lorraine Shields. Naomi has scoliosis and needs an important operation. A Just Giving page has been set up for people to donate.
Q: How well do you sleep?
A: I sleep like a log, I always have. I’m a very busy person and I pack a lot into a day, but once I stop and sit down that’s usually me out for the count.
Q: Do you worry about getting old?
A: No not really, I accept it as the cycle of life. The important thing for me is to stay as fit and as healthy as I can, so that I can enjoy old age with my husband and enjoy my family, my friends and be there for as long as I can for my kids and their families.
Q: What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?
A: I don’t have a particular go-to product actually, but I do love good moisturisers. I don’t mind the brand as long as it’s good.
Twitter: @manukahunney; Instagram: @manukahunney; Facebook: @manukahunney. The Cairde community choir fundraising video can be seen on the manukahunney channel https://youtu.be/vubg9UBkoVk or Cairde Community Choir Facebook @cairdecommunitychoir. For info visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gotyourbacknaomi