'It can be quite lonely as a new mum' - Rachel Stevens opens up on family life

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Rachel Stevens
36-year-old Rachel Stevens is one busy lady!

Mother to four-year-old Amelie and nine-month-old Minnie, judge on The Voice of Ireland, currently working her way across the United Kingdom with the Strictly Come Dancing tour and voted FHM's Sexiest Woman of the Year in 2014, the yummy mummy is now turning her attention to a cause close to her heart. She's teamed up with Dettol to launch a new campaign to help less fortunate babies across the world have a blanket of their own.

Rachel's asking for parents everywhere to donate their unwanted blankets for the good cause. Each blanket will be washed using Dettol's Antibacterial Laundry Cleanser and sent out to babies in need across the world. What's more, Dettol will donate £1 to children's charity Sparks for every blanket sent in, to help fund more research for healthy births and babies.

We caught up with Rachel to find out she successfully spins so many plates!Rachel's encouraging parents to donate unwanted blankets for a good cause

As a new mum you'll know all about the sleepless nights and feeds in the middle of the night! How did you cope with them?

Nothing prepares you for those sleepless nights, although the second time around with Minnie it wasn't quite as much of a shock to the system! Alex and I can be really grumpy with each other in the middle of the night when we have to get up but by the time the morning comes, it's like it never happened!

I'm really rubbish without my sleep and during the first three months I was shattered all the time - you know that's the way it's going to be and it's just a phase plus on the flip side, those first few months are also some of the best. That first smile; there's nothing like it.

What are your little ones like? Are they similar/opposites?

They're similar in lots of ways actually. They're both feisty! Minnie is 9 months now and is a little diva and they're both strong willed, although Amelie is much more sensitive - even to noise. Maybe being the youngest, Minnie is much more used to sound and people. She even follows the hoover around!

What does Amelie think of being a big sister?

She absolutely loves it. Amelie was three and three months when Minnie was born so she was so ready for a little brother or sister, although she told me that I had to have a little girl, so that was lucky! They're gorgeous together, Amelie is so in love with Minnie. She helps with the feeds and loves being the big girl. It's really lovely to see them together.

If you had one piece of advice for a new mum, what would it be?

My advice would be to get as much advice as possible! Whether it's from family or friends, the more tips and handy tricks you can get, is great. It can be quite lonely as a new mum when you feel like you don't really know what you're doing and you want to do the right thing, so I'd recommend finding a good music group or another baby group. It's a really good way to get to know other new mums to share things with. And don't be afraid to do what works for you and your baby, not everyone is the same. If it's working, that's a good sign!

You're currently helping Dettol's baby blanket campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of bacteria on baby blankets. What dangers do you worry about as a parent?

I don't think you ever stop worrying when you have kids, do you? I worry about all the things that mums worry about , but hygiene is a big one for me. I like to make sure that everything is clean and safe for the girls to be around.

I've always been really conscious about cleanliness and hygiene but even more so since having them. I love a good anti bacterial wipe for when I'm out and about and when I'm at home, Dettol Anti-bacterial laundry cleanser is brilliant. As a mum, your washing load seems to get 10 times bigger than before, but I know that when I wash with the cleanser, even on a quick wash, all of our clothes will be bacteria free and clean (even if they don't stay that way for long!), which is a weight off my mind!


Rachel is currently taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour in place of pregnant Frankie Sandford

To the untrained eye we'd think you're always your glamorous, red carpet-ready self! What does an 'off-day' look like in your household?

Anything that's quick! I usually have my hair in a bun when I haven't had time to do it properly, put on some mascara and lip-gloss and I always have my sunglasses at the ready! As a mum your usual 'getting ready' routine has to change because you just don't have the time that you had before, but it's nice to still feel good. I try to get my clothes out the night before so that I can be as quick as possible in the morning. I do have to have my cup of tea before we get going, it sets me up for the day, so that goes straight into my take away cup ready for the nursery run!

If we opened your fridge right now, what would we find? Be honest...

Loads of milk, eggs and vegetables, salmon for a quick dinner, fruit and yoghurt ready for packed lunches! I try to keep the fridge as healthy as possible but I do love dark chocolate, so there's always a bar (or two!) lurking in there somewhere!

What's the best mum-purchase you've ever made?

I'm in love with my TrippTrapp high chair from Stokke, it's great and will last for years. I only wish I had one when Amelie was little too!

What's the most important thing in your handbag? And what's the most shameful?

The most important things in my handbag are my phone and my diary, I'd be lost without them! I don't think I have anything particularly shameful... maybe a mini bar of dark chocolate to hand, just in case! And a backlog of receipts and papers. When do they all build up and when do you get time to sort them out?

How do you and your family spend your free time?

During the week everyone's off in different directions at different times so it’s hard to all get together so when we do, we love having family breakfasts in the mornings. We tend to see friends, go to the park or the zoo, anything that keeps us all active and that the kids really enjoy too. The weekends also evolve around food a lot too - Alex and I love eating out and trying new places and foods.

The girls are always in bed by 7pm so that gives Alex and I some time to catch up - dinner with friends, the cinema that kind of thing but Saturday nights are usually spent with a take away, a glass of wine and the TV or a movie. We love spending time together as a family; it's a really special time.

Last year you were voted FHM's sexiest woman of all time? How did that make you feel?

It was great! Especially when I was getting up in the middle of the night feeling completely 'unsexy', I'd just had Minnie at the time. I've always had a great relationship with FHM and did my first cover with them years ago when I was in S Club 7 so it was great to have been voted for. I'd just found out I was pregnant when I was did the shoot, so it was touch and go on the day!

What's your favourite anti-ageing tip?

I'd say to always make sure you look after your skin, eat healthily and drink lots of water. I think it's largely down to your genes but exercise and wearing SPF really helps too. I wear sun protection all year round, even in the winter in my moisturiser - I think it's really important to keep your skin healthy. Wearing a lighter foundation helps too as heavier ones tend to go into your lines more!

What's the best piece of advice your mum has given you?

Trust in your instincts, and to always try your best.

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