We catch up with the TV presenter, author and mother-of-two to talk about her new book and family life in the capital
Where do you live in London?
We live in Shepherd’s Bush. It’s so quick to get into town, and I love that’s there’s so many parks. It’s got a little bit of everything.
Describe a typical weekend for you.
My children and I like to have lazy mornings watching back-to-back SpongeBob in our pyjamas, followed by croissants or pancakes. We try to be more active in the afternoon; my daughter [Coco, six] will go riding or we’ll hang out with another family. I don’t wear any make-up, I pretty much only wear dungarees, and there’s not too much planning involved.
What do you like to get up to in the summer time?
We go to tons of parks! We’ll do lots of outdoor activities; I’ve got a bicycle – my son, Bear [aged two], sits in a seat in the back – and Coco’s got her own. We live near tennis courts, too, so I’ll often play in the mornings.
Where do you go if you want to escape the city?
I have to say, it’s very rare that I want to escape. I feel like London is one of those places that can accommodate anyone – if you want to get lost, you can go to Richmond; if you want the hustle and bustle, head to Soho; if you want trendy and interesting – Shoreditch. But if I did want to get away it would definitely be by the sea.
What about if you’ve got some time off from the kids?
I’ll do a yoga class or a dance session – I love exercise! In the evening I might meet up with friends over prosecco at Ceviche and then find somewhere to dance the night away.
How has motherhood changed you?
I’ve had to become a lot more organised. If I’m away working, I’ll try to make sure I’m on top of what’s going on; I don’t always get it right but I do try.
And what’s the best thing about being a mother?
Cuddles, bath and bedtime – it’s just lovely.
Where do you shop for your little ones?
At the moment it’s pretty much just Little Bird by Jools at Mothercare for Bear. My daughter is now at the age where she likes to pick her own clothes, so there’s lots of pink shorts and little black boots. It’s fun watching her style evolve.
Tell us a bit about your new memoir, Letters to my Fanny.
I’m so excited that it’s finally here! It’s taken about two-and-a-half years to write. It’s about trying to decipher what it’s really like to be a woman – not what’s expected, but what it’s actually like. I’ve always wanted to write a book, and keeping diaries over the years helped me to write truthfully.
Did you find the writing process easy?
Some days it would pour out of me like water, other days it was like pulling teeth. I did receive some really good advice, though – on the days that you can’t write, write anyway. It’s a bit like being an athlete, you need to build up your muscle and you need to build up your capacity for concentration. And of course, sometimes you end up writing something quite good!
The book focuses a lot on body image. Do you hope that current attitudes will eventually change?
Obviously there’s a responsibility from the media to portray more real women. I remember growing up looking at pictures of only very skinny models and wondering what was wrong with me. It had a huge impact. We only live this one life, so trying to achieve something that doesn’t exist is a waste of time. If my book can help another woman break that illusion, I’d be really happy.
How do you juggle your work with motherhood?
We have a wonderful au pair, and my amazing mum often steps in. It’s a big job carrying two people through life, so I’m doing it with as much love, care and attention as possible.
What’s the best thing about your job?
How unpredictable it is. We got a tour recently around the Tata Steel factory, which was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. So, it’s long hours, but I get to have the most incredible experiences.
Is there anything else in the pipeline?
I’m about to start filming a show for BBC1 with Tom Kerridge – very exciting!