Gary Barlow found his zest for life while shopping for toothpaste.

The Take That singer – who has children Daniel, 11, Emily, Emily, nine, and two-year-old Daisy with wife Dawn - admitted his years as a solo star after the first break-up of the band in 1996 were tough, and it was only when returning to do normal chores such as shopping he got his inspiration back.

He said: "It was great. I was doing stuff I hadn't done for 10 years.

"I would walk into a supermarket and go, 'Wow, look at all the brands of toothpaste – this is unbelievable.

"I had a year of getting my life back and I watch my son cough, sneeze and walk for the first time."

While he rediscovered his enthusiasm for life, the 40-year-old star admits his ability to write music disappeared following the band's split, and though he tried writing songs, they were all rubbish".

He told The Sun newspaper: "I don't know if it was writer's block because I would come up with stuff but it was just rubbish.

"I've always had a good ear, my intuition is good with new music, but I knew straight away that nothing I was coming up with was any good.

"Most of what you do – the big part of what you do is gone, it's evaporated. Your question is, 'Is it going to come back?' I ended up with no confidence as a writer."