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Hayley McQueen: "I’ve baked about 100 cookies so far"

 Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen talks broadcasting, baking and new daughter Ayla in the latest Lockdown Life 

Hayley McQueen
Hayley McQueen

Baking cookies, countryside walks – Hayley McQueen's lockdown sounds pretty idyllic. 

The Sky Sports presenter is holed up in Buckinghamshire with partner Kirk Newmann (read Kirk's Sharp Notes interview here) and their little girl Ayla.     

Over nearly two decades in the industry (feel old?), McQueen has established herself as one of the nation's most popular and accomplished broadcasters.

Like everyone, she can't wait for live sport to return – and a holiday would be nice, too. 

Life

What upcoming project(s) are you most excited about?

I think just getting back to work after a maternity break is pretty exciting.

I’m equally as terrified about having to leave my little girl so I’m going to ease myself back in and I’ve no idea what awaits me in broadcasting at Sky Sports throughout this summer with so much uncertainty.

I’m also excited about the resumption of live sport to be honest and intrigued about how that’s going to play out.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Someone said to me on an Instagram DM that they looked up to me and respected me, that was lovely to read so hopefully that’s an accomplishment to have got the point of being thought of in that way.

Breaking into a male dominated industry I guess is an achievement and staying here. There are so many more opportunities for females now which is wonderful, and about time too, but there weren’t so many back when I started.

I’ve now worked in football and broadcasting in some capacity for 18 years.

If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?

To be more ruthless in my late twenties and early thirties, I didn’t have the confidence at the time to go to those who had a say in my career and ask to do more and to push myself professionally.

I feel I missed the boat a little. I had such a fun life and great friends, travelled a lot and made sure I spent quality time with family so I wouldn’t take that back but I’d definitely be more brave.

What do you hope to achieve that you haven’t yet?

I achieved my goal of presenting live football at Sky and was given the opportunity to work on Champions League games, then the live Premier League games that went out in Ireland on a Saturday afternoon, and then Scottish Premiership which was a brilliant challenge.

There’s still do much I’d like to do but will just have to see what new opportunities arise.

 Outside of your family, who is / was your biggest inspiration?

My sister is pretty amazing. She is a mum of two young kids, holds down the household and works so hard, we turn to each other with all our problems.

Career wise, there are SO many in our industry both male and female I look up to but it’s my friends in the industry who are my biggest inspirations and we all keep each other going.

I’ve made some incredible lifelong friends who face the same battles and issues and we are very much there for each other – from other presenters and reporters at Sky to make up artists and producers.

In the past some of us have been up for the same jobs but thankfully I found a group of girls that congratulated each others' successes.

Tell us something nobody knows about you…

I was the junior school and senior school sports champion!

Lockdown

How are you finding lockdown?

I’m enjoying spending time at home as we just finished all our home improvement projects and knocked a major wall down before we were shut away so that’s been a godsend to have more space at home.

I’ve definitely struggled though I was at home a lot anyway with a baby and not doing as much as I’d have liked to. I was just starting to be a little more sociable and adventurous with Ayla and then this happened so I feel like I’ve been in lockdown for six months not six weeks!

Best thing about lockdown?

Being happy with the simple things in life and not spending much money haha! Also going on daily walks, we live in the most beautiful area of Buckinghamshire in a little hamlet, and we’ve discovered walks and areas we didn’t even know existed.

Ayla loves being carried around in her carrier and it’s been a great work out for me too.

Worst thing about lockdown?

I hate that people can't see Ayla changing and growing, she’s at the loveliest stage in life but time seems to be flying by.

I feel for her too, she is having the best time ever with full-on attention all day everyday but reckon she is bored of just our two faces.

I’m keen to get her to interact with more people and worry about separation issues all round to be honest.

Top tip for surviving lockdown?

I’m a big fan of To Do lists, write lists of all the things you never get round to doing and with every achievement write a separate list with something you are going to do on the other side.

Also, a well-stocked fridge is also key and don’t be afraid of some home baking, I’ve cooked about 100 cookies so far.

If you could be locked down with one person, alive or dead, who would it be?

I’m pretty lucky I have my other half here and my daughter to keep me entertained but I’d probably bring back my granddad on my mum's side. He was great fun, a proper Yorkshire man and I still miss him terribly.

He loved watching his sport especially F1, he liked a few beers sitting in the sunshine appreciating his immaculate garden, he was so very young at heart and my regret was not being able to spend as much time with him as I’d have liked.

What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?

Getting a manicure and pedicure, getting my hair done, having proper coffee in a coffee shop.

In all seriousness it’s really seeing my family and friends, I’m not so bothered about going to restaurants or bars, it’s the human interaction to those closest to me I miss.

I’m very much looking forward to booking a holiday or two, we’ve missed out on a couple of special holidays this summer with Ayla.

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