I’m really excited to be taking part in the Strictly Christmas Special this year. I absolutely LOVE Christmas and I love Strictly so it’s a perfect match. I’m so lucky to have been paired with Pasha again who was my partner when I took part in the main show 5 years ago. We’ve started training this week and it’s definitely been a shock to the system as I haven’t danced for so long. It’s like a Strictly bootcamp to get ready for the Christmas show but we’re working really hard so hopefully we’ll get there! Doing the Christmas show is just pure fun without the pressure of the real competition so I’m gonna just enjoy it. It’s gonna be fun for Bobby to watch on Christmas Day cos he’s never really seen me perform. I’ve shown him a few videos and he watches Strictly with me on a Saturday now so he’s gonna love it.
It’s gonna be strange getting back into a Strictly costume after so many years. I certainly won’t be rocking the shorts and crop tops that I wore five years ago after having two children that’s for sure! I’m really excited to get all dressed up though and get some sequins on for Christmas. I think Vicky Gill who does all the Strictly costume designs is amazing. We actuary worked with Vicky on the Girls Aloud tours, she did all the sparkly numbers for us so she knows my body shape and what I’m comfortable with so I’ve no doubt so she’ll come up with something fabulous!
Cole is almost a year old now and this week is my final blog. It’s been lovely documenting his first year and sharing my life with you all. The year has gone so incredibly fast and Cole is growing up so quickly. He’s close to walking now and getting braver every day so before long he’ll be running around with Bobby. I can already see his character coming out and what a cheeky little personality he has, I’m definitely gonna have my hands full for a few years but I absolutely love being a mum and all that comes with it.
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!
I went up to Skipton in North Yorkshire for my friend’s wedding last week and left the boys with family. I considered taking the boys but it’s such a long way for them to travel for one day. It’s the first time I’ve ever left Cole at all and he’s nearly 11 months so it felt very strange. To be honest I was really anxious about it for the whole week leading up to it and was losing sleep over the idea of it. I just find it really hard to let go. I’m always the one who puts Cole to bed and he’s still so young I just can’t bear the thought that he would want me and I’m not there. We had to stay away two nights cos the wedding was early so we couldn’t risk travelling all that way on the day. It was my friend Simone’s wedding and we’ve know each other since school so I really wanted to be there and celebrate with her.
My mum and my little sister Amy had them the first night and then Justin’s family came down to have them the second night as we were going out to celebrate his mum’s 60th the same weekend. I knew the boys would be fine and probably love the excitement of having everyone staying especially Bobby but it didn’t stop me missing them terribly and thinking about them every second. Don’t get me wrong, a bit of a break is probably a good thing and it was really nice to spend some time with Justin on our own but we did spend a fair bit of the time looking at pictures of the boys and talking about them. It’s so funny how sometimes all you want is a break from them but after a few hours away you want them back. It was a beautiful wedding and lovely to catch up with some of my old school friends and reminisce. We all have families now and it’s lovely seeing how we’ve all grown. The boys were obviously fine while we were gone even if I wasn’t!
It’s Pride Of Britain again on Tuesday, I can’t believe how fast it’s come around. I was heavily pregnant with Cole when I attended last year and it honestly feels like yesterday. I’ve been enjoying looking for a dress to wear this year without having to worry about the bump and fitting in to my shoes! I’ve got a couple of dresses to choose from and I haven’t decided yet but they’re black. One is very simple and chic and the other has much more detail but I love them both, just depends what mood I’m in! Justin’s coming with me again this year, he really enjoyed it last year. It’s such an inspiring awards ceremony and so lovely seeing people out of the public eye being recognised for doing amazing things. They really get the chance to get the recognition they deserve and I love being a part of it.
It’s almost Halloween and Bobby’s pretty much been waiting all year for it. He got really into it last year and has been loving watching all the kids Halloween cartoons on YouTube for the whole past year and asking me constantly when he can get his costume. My friend Jenny threw an early Halloween party last weekend and in true three-year-old form this was the time Bobby decided he no longer liked Halloween and no longer wanted to wear the skeleton costume he had asked me to buy. Kids are so fickle at this age, it’s so funny. I finally managed to persuade him to wear his not so scary spider costume from last year and once we got to the party he was absolutely fine and had a ball playing pass the pumpkin and bobbing apples. We’re gonna do some pumpkin carving today, ready for tomorrow and then I’ll go over to my sisters on Halloween so he can go trick or treating with his cousins Billy and Alfie. Hopefully I’ll get both of the boys in their skeleton costumes then!
I can’t believe I’m sitting here at home on Sunday evening writing the blog again, I don’t know where the weeks are going at the moment. It’s been another busy couple of weeks but I wanted to start off setting the record straight on a story which I very rarely do but it annoyed me last week.
When I was on the red carpet at the Everyday Heroes awards a few weeks ago I was chatting away to the press about bodies post-baby. I was saying how I still needed to lose a bit of weight to get back to my normal size and then as a joke, I said my best friend Alix was able to fit back into her jeans a week later and it ‘makes me sick’. I was laughing as I said it as did the journalist. It was very clear I was joking. I then saw a magazine run the story saying ‘friends snapping back into shape makes me sick.’ That was not what I said at all.
I’m so happy with how I am right now and the progress I’ve made and I would never be envious of any other woman’s body, that’s not how I am. We’re all different sizes and shapes and there shouldn’t be any pressure on mums about the weight they haven’t lost or have lost. Every woman’s body adjusts differently. I don’t normally get wound up by stories but this got to me as it made out I was critical of my best friend, Alix, when I was clearly joking and just pointing out how different we all are as women.
My Dad came down from Bradford to visit at the weekend so me and my siblings all got together with the kids and I made a big roast dinner. It made me realise how lucky me and my sister Sally are having five gorgeous boys that are so close in age. They have the best time playing together and it’s so special. Don’t get me wrong it’s loud and there’s never a dull moment but I wouldn’t change it for the world. We spent about half an hour trying to get one decent picture of them all together which was extremely challenging and very funny.
I recorded an episode of Denise Van Outen’s The Show for Matalan last week which was fun. George Lamb was also on the panel who is such a lovely and very funny man. He was promoting his documentary where he and his Dad Larry cycle around England. He visited some parts of Yorkshire I’d grown up visiting so we were reminiscing, I’m going to have to watch it as it’s just started on TV. It was lovely to catch up with Denise too as we find it more and more difficult to get together these days as we’re both juggling looking after kids and work.
I’ve just started reading Katie Kirby’s new book The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams. Her first book Hurrah for Gin was totally brilliant and I’m loving this so far. It’s basically the perspective of life from a 2 year old and it’s hilarious. Bobby has only just turned three so I can definitely connect with this book right now. Toddlers are totally irrational and extremely challenging but reading her book actually helps you see their perspective on things and find the humour in it all. Parenting is tough and we need people like Katie who give an honest and funny account of what we all go through to keep us sane!
I’m really happy to be fronting a new campaign called “Give Up Clothes for Good” to support Cancer Research UK for kids and teens along with TKMaxx. It’s a brilliant campaign and so easy to get involved. You basically just drop off your unwanted clothes, homeware and accessories to your nearest TKMaxx store and the money raised goes towards Cancer Research. It’s such an incredible charity that desperately needs funding. What these children have to go through is just heartbreaking and since becoming a mum myself I feel so strongly about supporting a campaign like this. It’s always great to have a clear out at this time of year so why not drop it off at your local TKMaxx!
Cole is doing great and growing up far too quickly! He’s pulling himself up to stand on anything he can find and he even stood on his own for a few seconds this week but then he loses his balance and falls on his bottom. He LOVES being free to crawl around and play, he’s in to EVERYTHING. He’s got his top two front teeth coming through too but he seems to be coping pretty well and it’s not affecting his sleep too much which I’m happy about cos running round after him all day is pretty exhausting! He’s laughing a lot too and finds Bobby particularly amusing which is lovely to watch. It gives me a snap shot into the future and how much fun they’re gonna have together… when they’re not fighting over toys of course!
I’m loving having Bake Off back on TV. It always takes a minute to adapt to new presenters and judges but to be honest I watch it for the baking and I love it! The challenges are harder than ever and the standard is high which makes it great TV. I actually took part in the celebrity Bake Off for Sport Relief a few years ago so I have a real insight as to how it all works and it’s weird watching it now after having been in the tent and going through it myself. Obviously they are working at a completely different level but it’s crazy how the time flies by so quickly in the Bake Off tent and things always go wrong when you’re under pressure. It’s a tough show to do but so much fun to watch.
Bobby is three today! I honestly cannot believe how the years have flown. We had a fab party for him at the weekend and we were so lucky with gorgeous sunshine all day! In the last blog I told you how I was planning a Three Little Pigs themed party because Bobby is literally obsessed with the story and watches it every day. He also spends hours acting out the story and playing the Big Bad Wolf so we really went to town on it. I made a Three Little Pigs themed cake and Justin made houses for the kids to play in.
I was expecting a few bales of hay and a pile of sticks but Justin doesn’t do anything by half so he made proper houses, they were brilliant! We had 3 pig balloons, I made piggy biscuits, piggy buns and Justin even made an appearance as the Big Bad Wolf. I have to be honest I had a lot of fun planning it cos it was such a fun theme but it was so lovely to see the kids enjoying it so much. Bobby absolutely loved having all his friends there and totally loved being the birthday boy, he’s such a sociable little thing. I honestly can’t believe what a little character he is, he cracks me up daily and I’m very proud of the little person he’s become. My baby has gone but I’m looking forward to watching him continue to grow and entertain us all.
Cole is 8 months now and I’ve finally got my head around working out again. Bobby certainly gave me an incentive to get back to it when he told me to put my squashy belly away one day! It made me laugh cos kids are so honest but at the same time I think it gave me the kick up the bum I needed. I think I’ve just been far too tired up to now but Cole’s been sleeping well so I’ve actually enjoyed working out again. There’s no denying there are days where I just know it’s not gonna happen but I’m definitely trying to make the effort to do more even if it’s only the 7 minute work out app while the boys are watching. They actually find it quite entertaining watching me jumping up and down like a mad woman and Bobby even acts like a personal trainer, it’s hilarious.
The Strictly contestants have been announced and I think it’s gonna be a good one! I get so excited when Strictly is back on TV and it brings back so many wonderful memories. It’s such a brilliant show and it will be interesting to see the new dynamic without Len. I just love the whole atmosphere of the show and the feel good factor. I know a few people on the show this year too which always makes it even more fun to watch! I’m rooting for Mollie King as she’s such a lovely girl and us girlband members stick together!
So literally the day after I wrote my last blog Cole started crawling and it really is a game changer! He’s totally loving his new found freedom and isn’t content with just crawling, now he wants to try and pull himself up too. He’s definitely a very determined little thing and when I tell him to stop doing something he gives me a cheeky face and just carries on doing it. Thankfully I invested in a huge playpen when Bobby was at that stage which is a life saver. It’s completely takes over my living room but it’s worth it to know he’s safe. There’s just too many dangers when they start crawling so at least he can have some freedom in there.
Bobby is gonna be 3 in two weeks and I can’t actually believe how time flies! He’s decided he wants a Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf themed party so I’ve turned party planner to organise that. It’s not the easiest theme to be honest as there’s nothing in the shops already so I’m having to get quite creative! I’m looking forward to making his birthday cake though cos I really love baking, I do lots of it with the boys. I have got some ideas for decorating it too and I’ve looked on Pinterest for some help to make the Three Little Pigs houses so hopefully it will turn out ok. I’ll have to draw on my Celebrity Bake Off experience for this one! I’ve set Justin the task of making some large Little Pig houses for Bobby and his friends to play in so let’s hope he delivers! Bobby has also requested for the Big Bad Wolf to come to his party so I’m probably gonna have to bribe my brother to make an appearance in a Wolf costume which will be highly amusing! Lots of planning to keep me busy.
I’ve had lots of great meetings about my children’s clothing range Kimba Kids over the last few weeks. I’ve had some offers from some big retailers that want to take the range which is great! I’m really hoping that our factories can make all the deadlines for autumn/winter this year so I can finally get it out there but we keep running into a few little teething problems as we are a new company. The most important thing is that everything is perfect and that we are ready. If that means we have to delay the launch a few months then that’s what we have to. The whole process has been so different to anything I’ve ever done before and has been a huge learning curve. I really do feel like I’ve put my heart and soul into the range. I’ve only ever endorsed brands before which is very different to creating and launching your own product from an idea I had one day. I’ve really loved being part of every aspect of it though and I really can’t wait for it to be out there for people to buy!