We last saw you salsa-ing across our screens in Strictly Come Dancing. What have you been up to since then?
Well after the show I did the Strictly Come Dancing tour which only finished in February. After that I took my youngest son away on holiday. My eldest son is working now. And since then I’ve just been savouring being a mum and I’m finally getting to do the school run.
You looked like you were having loads of fun on Strictly and you talked about how much weight you’d lost. Would you recommend dancing as an exercise for getting rid of the baby weight?
I went into Strictly with absolutely no confidence. But it was the best time of my life. It was terrifying but it was so much fun and I was so grateful. It was just the right time for me, I was just leaving Holby and it was the best thing for my body. Dancers are just so inspirational. I’m so glad I did it.
You have two sons, James (19) with Jim Kerr of Simple Minds and Lennon (11) with Liam Gallagher of Oasis. Would you like any more?
No. My family is complete. My youngest is going to be 12 in September. They have wonderful dads and my step daughter Yasmine has twins. That’s enough for me.
What changes are you most aware of now your boys are growing up?
Now when I’m dropping Lennon off at school he’s not quite as chatty as he used to be. So when he’s showing me his Lego I try and take time out to concentrate because you don’t know how much longer it will last.
James went to bed the night before his 13th birthday and came downstairs a man the next day. Puberty is God’s way of preparing them to leave home.
Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
Having this time now, being at the school gate. I wish I’d been there more for James like that. But then he says to me: ‘It was great, you were always there,’ so he doesn’t seem to have noticed. And then I remember that when I was 11 I used to come home from school and mum was out at work so I’d be cooking dinner.
How are your cooking skills? Do you cook for the boys?
Yes. I’m a pretty good cook. Mostly mummy food. I make a really good roast. I’m lucky because the boys have always loved vegetables. I mealplan. I know what we’re having for the next five nights.
Apart from cooking, what else has being a parent taught you?
It’s taught me you have to listen as parents. Because once those doors of communication close it’s hard to get them open again. James has told me things that make my toes curl but I keep listening.
You’re fronting the Boots Opticians campaign to protect children’s eyes from UV damage. Why is it something that’s important to you?
I grew up in the 70s when we used oil instead of cream on our bodies. Now we all know the importance of taking care of your skin in the sun. But we need to learn about the importance of protecting our eyes too.You can’t put a price on your eyesight and most UV damage is done to your eyes before the age of 18. Boots has this incredible range of sunglasses for kids that’s really cool and value for money. But you know, think of other things too for really young ones like putting them in a hat with a brim to cover their eyes.
For more information on eye health visit www.webmd.boots.com/eye-health
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