When she attended the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards (Baftas) earlier this year, Alexandra "Binky" Felstead knew exactly what was going through the minds of the winners, having been one herself in 2013 when her former show Made in Chelsea was crowned best reality and constructed factual show. "That, sadly, was in the days when I didn’t have great hair and I had awful dress sense," laughs the star as she chats exclusively to HELLO! in her luxury suite at London’s Mondrian hotel while getting ready for 2018's glittering ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall.
Speaking about how much her beauty regime has changed since giving birth to baby India, Binky says: "Now I'm a mum, I don't have time. Two-hour blow-dries just don't happen anymore. I've also ditched the eyelash extensions. These days I'm a lot more natural. Usually I wear my hair in a messy bun – either India's sick in it or she pulls it all out – so this is a real treat and I love the Charles Worthington products. They smell delicious."
Binky pictured just before she attended the TV BAFTAs
Binky, whose little girl with her partner Josh "JP" Patterson was born in June 2017, often takes India to the salon when she’s having her hair done, but the tot isn’t showing any signs of being a girly girl. "She’s a tomboy, like me; a real country girl. Josh will throw her around and she just laughs." Binky may be famous for being a Chelsea resident, but she grew up in the country, and it's a childhood she would like to replicate for India. "The idea is to keep my place or a bigger place in London and then buy somewhere in the country, like West Sussex. I’m going to start looking for houses soon. I want an old English country cottage with an Aga and a beautiful garden.
"I want to be able to pack up the car on a Thursday or Friday night and take India and [dog] Scrumble and get friends over for the weekend. In winter it'll be big log fires and in summer it'll be sitting in the garden with a paddling pool. That’s the dream – the best of both worlds." While her family is now her focus, Binky feels it’s important to make time for herself, too. "I go to the gym with my trainer. There's a crèche there, so that's really good. I feel much better after having a session in the morning – it sets me up for the day – and I go most days if I can. Having a baby is extra incentive. I feel like I lost my identity when I had a baby and it got to me in the end. It wasn’t anything serious – I didn't have postnatal depression or anything – but my friends haven't had babies and were looking amazing. Social media is so annoying in that sense. "But I did it for myself. I feel so much better when I've been to the gym. I suffer from anxiety so, if I haven't been, it doesn't make me feel good. If I go, I feel amazing."
Binky with daughter India
Binky is arguably in the best shape of her life. "I love being able to fit in my old clothes again, but I don't think I'll ever be perfect. It's definitely harder going to the gym when you have a baby because you're exhausted. It's the last thing you want to do, even though the idea of it is worse than actually being there And we're lunching a lot more, going on mummy lunch dates and stuff. So it's food, food, food…" Speaking of which, she is weaning India, so is whipping up a storm in the kitchen on a daily basis. "My child is such an eater, which is good, but I’m like: 'Oh my God. They say carry on feeding a baby until they're full, but she's never full!' "My most popular recipe for her is the simplest. It's basically two eggs, a banana, cinnamon, chia seeds, turmeric and berries, all in a NutriBullet. She loves it."
In her downtime, Binky loves quiet evenings at home. "If India hasn’t pooed in her bath, I top it up with hot water and get in there once she’s in bed. That's my reality. She's a really good sleeper so, at 7 o'clock, my evening begins. Sometimes I'll have a glass of wine or a gin and tonic. I never liked gin and tonic until I had a baby. I feel like it's a grown-up drink." Binky believes in the importance of a good night out, too. "I love date night with Josh, or I go out for dinner with the girls. I’m still only 27 and my life hasn’t ended. Lots of mums think that when they have a baby their life ends, and there’s no time to have a shower or have girly time any more. But that's rubbish. It doesn't need to be like that. You're a better parent if you have your own time."
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