We speak to Jo-Anne Dobson nine weeks after her brave kidney transplant surgery

Jo-anne is pictured with her son Mark one day after their transplant, with their Consultant Surgeon Tim Brown
Jo-anne is pictured with her son Mark one day after their transplant, with their Consultant Surgeon Tim Brown

In March Jo-Anne donated a kidney to her son Mark who had been on dialysis for seven months after losing his previously transplanted kidney in August last year

Jo-Anne Dobson lives on her family farm in Waringstown, Co Armagh with her husband John and son Mark. Her eldest son Elliott is a commodity trader living and working in London.

Jo-Anne on holiday in January in Gran Canaria

Jo-Anne on holiday in January in Gran Canaria

Jo-Anne is a former Councillor and Upper Bann MLA and is currently Northern Ireland Ambassador for Kidney Care UK, the leading kidney patient support charity. In March Jo-Anne donated a kidney to her son Mark who had been on dialysis for seven months after losing his previously transplanted kidney in August last year. Jo-Anne has been a life-long campaigner for Organ Donation as well as bringing forward Northern Ireland’s first Opt-Out Organ Donation Bill to the Northern Ireland Assembly. She sat down to answer our questions:

How would you describe your personal style?

I like to keep up with the latest fashion trends, always enjoying bright and colourful clothes. I believe that this gives a more open and approachable style. It’s always important to stand out, rather than blend into the background whatever the situation and following the latest fashion trends helps me to do this.

I’ve been dressing a little more casually than usual as Mark and I have been attending the Renal Unit at Belfast City Hospital for regular appointments following our kidney transplant just nine weeks ago.

With Ruth Dudley Edwards and Lord Trimble

With Ruth Dudley Edwards and Lord Trimble

Just as well that sports wear is in fashion as its been necessary to be as comfortable as possible throughout our post-surgery recovery.

However I have been out and about speaking to groups about our transplant experience in my role as Northern Ireland Ambassador for Kidney Care UK which has given me the opportunity to get out some of the new-season colourful blouses and jackets I hadn’t yet managed to wear! I’m quite confident in my clothes. I studied interior design so I have a good eye for colours.

How often do you tend to go shopping and how much would you tend to spend on clothes (on average) per month?

I won’t deny that I do like a good shop and always try out new styles, choices and matches - I don’t actually buy anything every time I go, or I might buy just one or two items.

I suppose on average I would spend around £200-300 each month on my clothing and accessories.

Where do you tend to buy your clothes - do you prefer to shop in high-street, designer, or independent shops?

For me it would be a mix of all three including the low and high-ends of the high-street and I like boutiques too. I’m a big fan of House of Fraser and the choices they offer – however no better choice available than on Regent Street and Oxford Street in London when I am visiting my son Elliott. I can never resist spending some time in Selfridges!

I also like some of the up and coming lesser-known brands from the smaller retailers. I particularly like places like Zara and H and M because they’re great for basics.

How long do you spend on average getting ready every morning, and how does this change for an evening look?

This would probably vary depending on whether you ask my husband or myself! I do like to take time in the mornings to look good and if I can manage to do my makeup on the move I do so, which cuts the time down.

On an average morning I imagine it takes me around 20 to 30 minutes to get ready in the morning. Changing and getting ready for heading out in the evening probably takes something similar.

What is your beauty routine in morning and night?

In the mornings I always shower with Jo Malone products as I love their silky feel and freshness. I’m also a big fan of Estee Lauder and Mac products which would make up the majority of my everyday make up bag.

After cleansing and moisturising I always use Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation in Ivory Beige as it lasts all day followed by a dusting of Mac Bronzer.

I would never be without mascara but always pick it up in supermarkets when I am doing my grocery shopping.

In the evenings I always remove my make-up and I suppose a little secret that I will share is that for many years I have been using Nivea crème – perfect for the job!

How often do you buy new beauty products and makeup items?

I always like to keep up with new products on the market and am a regular experimenter of new trends often recommended on social media or recommended by friends.

Would you ever leave the house completely makeup-free?

I certainly would – but this would likely be at around 2am if my husband and I were doing a calving on our family farm!

How would you describe your approach to fashion and beauty?

Relaxed but always focused on looking my best whatever the situation.

What is one beauty item you cannot live without?

Perfume-wise it would have to be Kenzo Jungle which is an amazing all day perfume!

Do you have a style icon?

Holly Willoughby always gets it right as she is effortlessly elegant and stylish in every situation.

If you had to give one piece of fashion or beauty advice you swear by, what would it be?

Aways be confident no matter what the situation or whatever you are wearing. You never know what is going on in someone’s life when you meet them and a smile and a confident, positive attitude always wins the day!