Former Strictly Come Dancing star Flavia Cacace-Mistry has admitted she and husband Jimi Mistry “didn’t have a clue what we were doing” when they started a new life in the countryside.
The professional dancer and the ex-EastEnders star, who met when they were partnered on the show in 2010, swapped their bungalow in Guildford for a seven-acre smallholding in Devon after their new online fitness and nutrition business floundered during the Covid-19 pandemic as they were faced with competition from free online workouts.
They now live in a converted stone barn, sell eggs from their flock of hens, keep three rare breed sheep and grow their own fruit and vegetables, including potatoes, onions, pumpkins, tomatoes, apples, plums and figs.
Cacace-Mistry, 42, told Hello! magazine: “It was hard because we’d invested a lot of time and effort into our business but then we thought, how do we turn this whole thing into a positive?”
“We didn’t have a clue what we were doing.
“We bought some books and didn’t intend to grow anything or get any animals for the first year, but then Jimi’s mum said, if you water it, it will grow, and we thought, hey, we can do this.”
Mistry, 48, added: “In the past, we couldn’t even keep a houseplant without killing it because we were never home.
“It’s second nature to me now to pick a vegetable or collect an egg and cook it. I couldn’t imagine buying them in the supermarket.”
The couple now plan to set up a farm shop and open a guest house and Mistry said: “We haven’t looked back once.
“The ambience, the feeling, the energy that has been created here has made us feel so much calmer and better about life.”
Cacace-Mistry added: “We feel calm and stress-free and our old life feels alien.
“We did it for years, but it’s amazing when you come out of it and realise you can finally breathe.”
The full interview is in Hello!. out now.