What do you think of when you think of Emma Bunton? Do you picture the smiley, blue-eyed, sweet-natured girl who made up one fifth of your favourite girlband, the Spice Girls? Since then, Baby Spice has done some growing up.
She’s gone on to have solo success, two children, a fiancé, a hit radio show and is in her second year of working with Pampers-UNICEF on their mission to eliminate maternal and newborn tetanus. We caught up with her to hear all about her important trip – and we’re pleased to say, she’s just as smiley, blue-eyed and sweet-natured as ever.
goodtoknow: So, you’ve just got back from Madagascar, how was it?
Emma: It was an amazing trip. I’ve been involved with the campaign before, this is my second year now. We’ve been working towards eliminating maternal and newborn tetanus. Last year when I worked with the team, we’d eliminated it in 10 countries, this year it’s gone up to 15, and just before I left, they said that one of those countries was Madagascar. So, incredible! I got there and headed about two hours out of the city to go to one of their hub clinics where all the mums and babies come for their vaccinations. For some of them it’s a two hour walk, pregnant, with their siblings. It’s one of those things where you think, ‘Oh my goodness. The things that I take for granted… the things I moan about!’ – completely humbling.
Emma travelled to Madagascar to see the success of the Pampers-UNICEF 1 pack = 1 vaccine
campaign earlier this year.
I met one mother who was two weeks overdue, staying in one of the labour wards with all the family but it’s tiny – just brick walls and floor – and she’s just sitting there so calm. If I was two weeks overdue I would be panicking and uncomfortable. She’d made that trip a few times to have the vaccination for maternal and newborn tetanus, to have her check-ups, and now she was there to have her baby and it was just amazing that she’d done all that because she wants her baby to be healthy. That’s all I ever dreamed of, for my children to be born healthy and happy. Everyone deserves that. Everybody. That’s our aim throughout the world, to eliminate maternal and newborn tetanus.
g: Has it changed the way you view your home life and your family?
E: As soon as you do one of these trips your outlook changes. A lot of things are not accessible there, we saw a lot of siblings carrying siblings, feeding their brothers and sisters, bringing them clean water. I got home, I sat my children down and my three-year-old was just looking at me like *pulls gone-out expression* and my six-year-old was just asking me questions. I said Beau you need to look after your little brother, it’s so important, and I showed him the pictures [of the siblings in Madagascar].
It completely changes your outlook. I know everyone says that, but you just feel so lucky. I want my little ones to know that the world does work differently, you are very lucky, things are accessible to you, we can go to our local doctors. It’s just been amazing to see it all first-hand.
g: How did you find your life changed when you became a mum?
E: Oh it changed completely. My priorities changed as soon as I fell pregnant. I used to be very ‘all about me’, where I was going out that weekend, what I was wearing. I was a lot more self-conscious before but as soon as I became pregnant I let that go. Jade was like, ‘Wow, you’re really cool!’ I think straight away you immediately know that you’re looking after other things now, it’s not just all about you anymore.
Madagascar is the 15th country to have eliminated maternal and newborn tetanus since the Pampers-UNICEF campaign began.
g: Have you got any plans in the pipeline for any more kids?
E: No! (Laughs). Not as yet, I feel like my three-year-old is still very young. There’s a long way to go. They’re very warm still, and I know that’s going to change soon, they’ll be like, ‘Mum, don’t kiss me!’ and I’ll be like, ‘Mwah!’ at the school gates! So I’m just holding on to that. They’re still my babies.
g: So Beau’s turning 7 this weekend, what are you planning for that?
E: We’re just having some of his friends over, Laser Quest, pizza and a normal boy’s birthday party.
g: What’s your favourite thing to do with your kids in your free time?
E: We love being in the garden. I was playing football with them last night. We went to the local farm the other day with my youngest and did the petting zoo – he loved that. We were holding little guinea pigs and feeding the donkey and it was just so nice. They love the parks and always like going on their bikes or their scooters.
g: What do they think about seeing you on the TV and hearing you on the radio?
E: It doesn’t register at all with Tate yet, but Beau is starting to understand it. I think his friends come up to him and say ‘Is your mum a Spice Girl?’ and he says ‘Yeah, I think so…’ Although he thinks we’re called the Spicey Girls – it’s all very innocent!
Emma on stage with eldest son, Beau, Victoria Beckham and her three boys during the Spice Girls reunion tour in 2008.
I love it because Tate, my youngest, thinks I’m on telly all the time. He thinks I’m one of the princesses off Sofia – he thinks I’m a princess! We were watching something the other day, just an advert, and he went *makes pointing gesture* ‘Mummy!’ Anyone blonde. He’d probably come in and come up to you *gestures at goodtoknow’s blonde hair* ‘Mummy!’
g: What’s been your savviest mum purchase?
E: The main things that’ve been just amazing and handed down to me are Grobags. They’re just incredible because they’ve gone through both my boys and they sleep well in them, they’re comfy and you don’t need duvets. As a mother, another thing that comes along is worry and I’ve always worried about them having blankets in their bed and they’ve just been brilliant for me.
g: So, what’s it like being a Spice Girl?
E: *Face lights up like a kid at Christmas* It’s great! I think, god, I was part of that. Everyday someone mentions it or comes up to me – and it was 18 years ago. I had the best time. I had a ball. I mean can you imagine being on tour at 19 with girls, travelling the world? It was incredible. I feel very lucky.
g: You’re such a busy person, how do you find down time?
E: It’s important. I love having dinner times at home with my kids. I like date nights with Jade, all those things really, watching films, chilling out. I love having baths when I’ve got the time. You’ve just got to kind of make time. It’s about juggling. You juggle lots of things but work it around the kids and make sure we have date night.
g: The one beauty product you couldn’t be without?
E: My goodness… A good moisturiser. I’m really big of my Factor 50 moisturiser. I didn’t start doing it until recently but it’s now something I do every day.
Emma has been dating singer Jade Jones for 14 years. The pair became engaged in 2011.
g: If we opened your fridge right now, what would be in there?
E: There are always lots of grapes and strawberries because I can still sway the kids – it’s not going to last for long – but there’s still kind of that sweetie kinda thing. ‘I want some sweets!’ ‘Ooh how about some grapes?'[Laughs]. I’m still getting away with it! We have quite a lot of fruit, hummus, chicken, my little one quite likes cheese. Now and again we’ll go on a big shop but generally not. I’m lucky that my little boys love fish.
g: Not just fish fingers…?
E: No! [Laughs] Salmon! And Jade cooks, so generally we eat quite healthily, which is good.
g: Is making sure the kids eat healthily a worry in your house?
E: Not a worry so much, but I want them to try things. I don’t mind them having fish fingers and chicken nuggets as long as it’s spread out. They love pasta and, as I said, they love fish. They’ll really try everything. We generally eat the same meal.
g: How would you describe your parenting style?
E: Jade and I are quite together on most things like rules. We don’t go against each other, which is good! We’re strict in the way that we have a bedtime routine. My kids love their sleep and it makes them better for the next day especially because they’re so manic, both of them, from seven in the morning until 7:30 at night they are On. The. Go. There’s no sitting down for them, it’s just constant. So by night time they are they’re usually ready. They enjoy that routine.
Emma and Jade have two sons together, Beau, seven, and Tate, three.
g: And do they get on?
E: Yeah they’re good at the moment. They have their little things when one wants something, but they generally work it out between themselves.
g: Who do you go to for parenting advice?
E: The thing is everybody is different, everybody works out differently how they’re going to be with kids and you just kind of go with your instinct. I have the experience of my own parents and I really respect both my parents. My mum is just brilliant, warm, funny and wasn’t too strict with me. I’ve taken little bits from that, but I think you’ve just got to go with your own instincts on how you are with your own children.
g: And a question that goodtoknow’s dying to know… What’s your favourite Spice Girls song?
E: I’d have to say 2 Become 1. (goodtoknow shrieks with joy). I loved Say You’ll Be There because of the video, but 2 Become 1 every time. I just love it. I loved performing it as well.
g: Do your kids know it?
E: Not yet. I think Spice Up Your Life would be their favourite!
As we wrap up our interview Emma tells us we have amazing eyes. God we love her.
Emma Bunton travelled to Madagascar with Pampers and UNICEF for the launch of the ninth 1 pack=1 vaccine campaign. For every specially marked pack of Pampers bought, Pampers will donate the cost of one vaccine to help UNICEF in the fight against Maternal and Newborn Tetanus (MNT). You can see the video of Emma’s trip here. Visit Pamper’s Facebook page to find out more.