One Smart Thing: Zoe Ball


When it comes to technology, TV and radio star Zoe Ball is glued to her smartphone, but still struggles with streaming Spotify. Good job her kids and husband – DJ Fatboy Slim – are on hand to share their know-how.


What one piece of technology has changed your life for the better?

My iPhone – as a camera, telephone, office on the go, information hub, traffic and weather provider – it’s a total lifesaver. At the same time they can take over your life and I do have to be told (usually by my kids) to put it down sometimes.It’s great that when I'm away from home working I can Skype or FaceTime the kids twice a day, so they never feel far away. Also, I can always answer any impossible questions with a quick Google search. The kids can use all electronics so much better than I can. Often they help me while rolling their eyes and saying “Mummmm, you're so useless!”

My husband is also very tech savvy as he uses all kinds of computers and machines for his work. I’m supposed to be having a Spotify tutorial from him soon.

Iphone home screen showing social apps

If you were to recommend one piece of home technology people need in their life, what would it be?

A proper record player so you can play all your old vinyl. I love my old records; no sound or smell is ever as good. Also, when you buy music online there are no lyric sheets or photographs or a list of musicians who feature. Every single one of my records tells a story about a time in my life – they are treasured, plus they sound so good. 

close-up shot of record player

And what’s one item of home technology you don’t regret buying?

My cross trainer – it’s the only piece of electrical exercise equipment I've always used. I stick a disco album on – or Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix – and go go go. I try to do 30 to 40 minutes five days a week – it totally burns the calories and I can multitask, doing emails whilst hiking along. I can't run due to hip and knee issues so it’s the perfect solution. I love it.


Tell us one golden rule you’ve learnt from using modern technology at home

There are times to turn off the smart phones and chat, sleep or just be. Sometimes when you've got no battery or no signal – once the initial panic is over – it’s really rather glorious to be un-contactable for a little.


Is there one defining home technology moment you can remember from your childhood?

Dad bringing home our first video recorder (a Betamax) was quite a moment. I remember thinking we were quite flash.


And what about one piece of home tech that you’d love to invent?

A teasmaid that makes coffee, with a radio alarm. We still have a teasmaid that the Chemical Brothers bought for us as a wedding present.

a teasmaid in a bedroom


If you could only have one app on your phone, what would it be?

Something that stops me snacking late at night. I bet there already is an app for that. I need to be zapped. 

someone opening a fridge door


Finally, is there one piece of home tech you own that you think you could live without?

Obviously communication, telly and music are core parts of our lives both at work and at home, so those would have to stay. I’d like to think we could survive without too many gadgets if we needed to. Could be an interesting experiment. Scrap that – I think we'd all go mad quite quickly!

We have some rules though. No devices allowed at breakfast or before school and devices off by 9pm. I try hard not to break these – not always successfully…

zoe ball on her phone in a crowd


Looking to learn more about the latest tech? Take a trip to Smart Street and find out how three families are seeing their home lives transformed, one smart gadget at a time.


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