Being the longest serving female on the beloved Australian soapie requires long hours on set and evenings spent reading over the next script. However, Lynne still finds time for lunch with her adult daughter Clancy (born 1991), Pilates sessions and sit-down family dinners.
We spoke to the 65-year-old to find out how she manages to find balance in her life – and the energy to play such a lively character.
You’ve been on our screens every night for so long that many people would identify you more as Irene from Summer Bay than as Lynne. What would people be surprised to know about the differences between you and the character you play?
After 25 years, it’s easy to blur the lines of reality and fiction when you’ve played a character for this long! But Irene and I are very different. Unlike her, I hate confrontation. It makes my stomach turn. Irene loves to ruffle the feathers and calls a spade a front-end loader, whereas I tend to back away from conflict. If there’s one thing Irene has taught me, it’s to stick up for myself.
Your home life would be quite different to Irene’s. What does a day in your household look like?
When I’m not filming, my days are filled with meetings, running errands or trying to track down my daughter for lunch. It’s always busy but it keeps me on my toes!
How has this changed since when your daughter Clancy was little? It must have been a lot more hectic when she was a child and you had such long hours on set.
I’ve been very lucky over the years because I have a supportive husband [Paul McWaters] who took on the role as house husband in the early days to look after our daughter Clancy while I was filming. Being away from Clancy during those pre-school years was tough but we always managed to find a balance (even if it meant them visiting me on set!)
Lynne and co-star Johnny Ruffo are travelling in their van, visiting Aussie families to see what's on the dinner menu. Post continues.
What do you do to relax after a long day of work?
To unwind at the end of the day? A glass of wine and a great chinwag with my family. In the mornings and on weekends, I either do Pilates or go for a morning walk around the neighbourhood. Time spent with family and good friends fill most of my weekends.
Your daily diet would play a huge role in giving you the energy for work. What does a typical day on a plate look like for you?
I try to eat well and make sure that every meal is balanced, which I can certainly thank HelloFresh for! My diet is pretty rich in protein, veggies and always includes healthy carbs. Since using HelloFresh, I’ve really expanded my recipe repertoire (a once very limited repertoire!) The variety of ingredients and recipes they deliver each week means I don’t have to do any mid-week meal planning which takes so much pressure off, particularly when I’m filming.
I do also try to steer clear of foods that are too processed. My rule is, "if it’s man-made, don’t eat it!"
How important is sitting down for a meal together as a family to you?
Sit-down family dinners are a must in our house – it's the life check-in for all of us. Some weeks I’m filming up to six days a week so coming together at dinnertime a couple of times a week is our family time.
What's your go-to dish to cook at the end of a busy day when you just need something simple and quick?
Any HelloFresh recipe ticks this box but, if we’re being specific, my go-to is grilled lean chicken or fish with steamed veggies for the busier days.
And what about a meal that you love to cook if you've got a bit more time or on a special occasion?
A slow cooked lamb with roast veggies and a fresh, green salad – perfection!
Lynne McGranger appears in HelloFresh's three-part online series #TheDinnerDiaries, helping real families cook up great meals. Have a watch of part one in this article!
What's your favourite Irene moment? Do you have any go-to recipes to share with us too? Hit the comments section below and spill.
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