This year, Britain’s Got Talent turns an impressive 10 years old, and with her eldest daughter about to turn the same, we caught up with Amanda Holden, mum of two, to find out more about motherhood in London, upcoming TV roles, and her latest venture into the world of childhood play.
Where do you live in London and what do you love most about it?
We live on the outskirts, just by the Thames. It certainly gives us the best of both worlds as it has a real village atmosphere. It’s nice to live somewhere where I know all the mums from school, but is still easy to get into central – I hate getting stuck in traffic so I try to cycle everywhere.
Describe a typical weekend for you.
We head straight to the park if the weather is nice. We love a pub lunch, we’re proper locals so they know all my favourites. Weekends are important so we try to make the most out of them – focus on the kids and, of course, do any homework!
What’s your favourite family spot in London?
It has to be the parks, we love to go on long walks. I adore Ham House and Marble Hill House.
And if you want to escape the city?
We love going to the Cotswolds. I used to live in the sticks so it’s nice to get away now and again.
Where do you go when you have some time to yourself?
This amazing woman comes to my house and gives me a massage – it’s great because you don’t have to walk around wearing oily clothes. I also love yoga.
How about you and husband Chris?
Chris and I rarely have date nights, it normally ends up with us watching a box set on the sofa!
How has motherhood changed your life?
It opens you up more to the world. You become more vulnerable as the most important thing is the safety of your children. And you certainly become more alert.
Where do you like to shop for the girls?
I like to dress them like children, although Lexie is nearly 10 now, so she is becoming more interested in fashion – she has her own leather jacket. I love Zara Kids and Next, and absolutely adore Sue Hill for gorgeous knitwear.
What are you up to work-wise?
I had been working on the Text Santa campaign, and then had a month off for Christmas. Of course, Britain’s Got Talent has kept me busy, too.
You’ll be centre stage again soon when the hit show returns to our screens. Do the girls take after your performing side?
Lexie often comes across less confident than Hollie, who is much more chatty, but actually, Lexie sang at my dad’s 70th birthday in front of 20 people which I wouldn’t have done at her age.
You’ve just teamed up with Pebli Town. What was it that attracted you to the multi-sensory, interactive pre-school toy?
Technology gets a lot of bad press these days, but what I like about Pebli Town (toysalive.com) is that it’s combined with traditional play. You can play together or on your own, which is a big part of childhood. I like that Hollie has something to hold in her hands. I’m not one for playing Barbies, but I do love memory games, painting and baking, and with Pebli Town it’s so engaging, you’re not clock-watching. As mothers, we’re often thinking about the other things we could be doing.
Children learning to express themselves is a big part of childhood. How does Pebli Town encourage this?
It expands creativity, and there’s loads of memory games with role play – such as going to the shops and remembering what you need. All good practice!
Hollie’s starting starting school this year. How do you feel about it?
Yep, September this year – my last baby! I’m both happy and sad. I sometimes look at Hollie’s little wellie boots and think they’re so tiny, but time goes so quickly. I’ll be shedding a big tear. Kids lose something when they go to school – it changes you. She’s a bright little girl and will do great. I often wind Lexie up on the school run, shouting out the window, “I love you!” with the music blaring.
Have you any exciting plans for 2016 that you can share?
I’ll be doing a programme that I’ve always wanted to do – a real knock-on-the-door type of show, which is what I love. It’s fun getting out and chatting to real people. It’s all top secret at the moment, but watch this space!