Lilly Higgins: I’m not fussy about breakfast as long as I’ve my cup of Barry’s Tea

Lilly Higgins: I’m not fussy about breakfast as long as I’ve my cup of Barry’s Tea

Lilly Higgins is chasing around her new golden retriever- Irish setter mix puppy Lois when we talk on the phone. 

“If I sound breathless, that’s why,” she says apologetically.

The food writer, photographer, chef and keen home crafter is speaking to me off the back of the latest campaign she’s put her name to – innocent’s Big Knit campaign for Age Action, which is back for its 13th year this February. 

It’s one of the most recognisable campaigns in Irish supermarkets and shops every year, with tiny hats adorning the brand’s smoothies in the aisles.

The Cobh woman tells me she was involved in knitting the hats herself – though she admits she had nothing on the speed of some of the older women from Age Action.

“When we went up to do the photoshoot with all the women, there was this one woman, Winnie, who was talking to us and knitting at the same time. Her fingers were incredible – she was so fast. She told me she’d knitted something like 1,200 hats the week prior.” 

While knitting might be seen as a hobby of the past, the craft has seen a resurgence recently, with knitting fanatics like Olympian Tom Daly making it ‘cool’ again. There are over 6m videos on TikTok with the hashtag #KnitTok.

“One of my sisters lives in London and says on the Tube you see loads of people knitting… it’s a way of passing the time,” she says. 

And getting your head out of your phone?  “Exactly! And you can have a snood, a baby blanket or scarf for yourself at the end of it. It’s a really rewarding, mindful activity.” 

  • Lilly Higgins is an ambassador for ‘The innocent Big Knit’ in partnership with Age Action. For every behatted innocent smoothie sold, 30c goes to Age Action. For more, see info 
Winnie O’Doherty, Lilly Higgins and Anne Russell pictured as part of Innocent’s partner campaign with Age Action

How do you keep fit?

I love reformer Pilates. I discovered it about five years ago and haven’t looked back. Lindsay in The Pilates Studio in Midleton is a brilliant teacher.

Do you have a morning routine?

 I’m not too fussy about breakfast but my first cup of tea has to be Barry’s and I’ll happily have green tea or rooibos for the rest of the day. My main routine is organising my three kids for school then I settle down at my laptop for an hour, get cooking and filming, or I might be cooking on TV, heading to Dublin for a photocall, every day is different.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I love my juicer. Celery juice with lemon is just the best and I always feel revitalised after it.

What are your guiltiest pleasures?

I love sticky medjool dates. Natural red wine, great farmhouse cheese and real butter. A Twix or Snickers dipped in tea is great too. I never feel guilty about having something I want, I just enjoy it. 

What keeps you awake at night?

Ideas running through my head for recipes I should make, reels that I should create for my Instagram or ideas for brands and ways to communicate through food.

Who are your sporting heroes?

Sonia O’Sullivan is from my hometown Cobh, so she’s always been a hero.

Winnie O’Doherty and Lilly Higgins photographed as part of the Innocent and Age Action Big Knit 2023 campaign

What is your favourite smell?

Honeysuckle, Damascus rose, fresh herbs like mint, rosemary, verbena and lemon balm, Eucalyptus and clove-scented carnations.

When was the last time you cried?

I cried laughing at a recent Alison Spittle gig in Coughlans.

Do you pray?

Never. I love nature and find being out in the fresh air to be grounding and spiritual in its natural way.

Has climate change impacted how you live your life?

Yes, I’m more conscious of our energy and meat consumption, where our food comes from and more efficient ways to cook. 

The air fryer and slow cooker are fantastic and use so much less energy than a regu

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