HELLO! DIGITAL COVER STORY

Giovanna Fletcher reveals how her children will be involved in wedding vow renewal party with husband Tom

In partnership with Pandora

She's an author, an actress, a podcaster, and a vlogger, but being a parent remains the most important role for Giovanna Fletcher. Motherhood was always part of her life plan, the mum-of-three and wife of McFly singer Tom Fletcher, tells HELLO! as she stars on our Mother's Day Digital Cover in partnership with Pandora.

"It was a no brainer for me. It was 100 per cent what I hoped for in my future," Giovanna, who welcomed her first son just shy of her 30th birthday, tells HELLO!. "I'm not quite Maria from The Sound of Music. She was my idol. But I've created my own version of her I think."

In our exclusive interview, the 37-year-old star opens up about the highs and lows of motherhood, her down-to-earth chat with fellow mum the Duchess of Cambridge, and what she and husband Tom hope for in the next ten years of marriage.

Giovanna Fletcher stars on our Mother's Day Digital Cover

Giovanna, happy Mother's Day (almost!). What are your plans this year?

"I'd like to think Tom will organise something, but really we ask our mums to come over. This is our first one out of lockdown so we should celebrate it, but in the past, we've got both of our mums and Tom's gran together. And sometimes my sister's mother-in-law as well. Just so it's easy for everyone to be together. It's kind of like what we do at Christmas.

READ: Tom Fletcher shares marriage secrets with wife Giovanna

"But to be honest, as long as I get a lie-in, I'll be chuffed. With Father's Day not far behind, if Tom invests in this, then he'll get a really good Father's Day as well, and a lie-in. Really, it's about doing nothing but being together. That's always got to be the main focus."

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Giovanna wears Pandora's rose pave heart hoop earrings, bracelets, rings and charms

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Was having children always part of your big life plan?

"Absolutely. I was definitely someone who loved playing mums and dads, definitely the maternal person within any friendship group. It was a no-brainer for me that that was 100 per cent what I hoped for in my future. I'm not quite Maria from The Sound of Music. She was my idol. But I've created my own version of her I think."

Have you found that your relationship with your Mum changed after becoming a mum yourself?

"I think my relationship with my Mum has changed a lot over the years. Ultimately you see what they've sacrificed in bringing you up and the overriding one thing was just to bring up three happy, healthy kids who were grounded. Growing up, family was everything. And I think it's a cross between the Essex and the Italian sides.

"You think your parents have all the answers. And then actually when you become a parent yourself, you realise they're just trying their best. They don't know what they're doing. None of us know what we're doing. And we're just trying to get it right. I think I do understand my Mum a lot better now."

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Giovanna wears Pandora's chunky infinity knot chain necklace, charms, bracelets and rings

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Your sons Buzz, Buddy, and Max are now eight, six, and three. Looking back, can you remember those first 24 hours with each child?

"I can remember with Buzz, just first holding him on my chest, and not feeling overwhelmed but it feeling really surreal. It's one thing holding someone else's newborn. It's a very different thing holding a newborn who is fresh and it is just their skin. The whole situation was very raw and real.

"I remember just getting home with Buzz and just sitting there and not really knowing what to do. I remember the first few days thinking, 'Is he going to do anything? Is this what babies do? When do they wake up?' Night time, everything comes alive and that's when all the tears come.

READ: Giovanna Fletcher's kids' playroom has to be seen to be believed

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Giovanna wears Pandora's encircled necklace and earrings gift set, rings and bracelet

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"With Buddy, he came out super fast to the extent that he had bloodshot eyes for the first month. He came out that quickly. And I remember just enjoying holding him. And it was all about Buzz meeting him. That's where your main focus is. How is he going to react to this little human? With Max, I remember just feeling even more relaxed and just making sure Tom got the camera really quickly while I was in the pool. Just feeling calm and completely comfortable with it that time.

"When I was pregnant with him, I felt like maybe I was pushing my luck. That was my overriding feeling within that pregnancy. I had two boys who were happy and healthy – was I pushing my luck to expect to take home another child? So, I think there was a relief that came with meeting him."

What's been your proudest mum moment?

"It's hard to pick one but it'll be the times where the boys are displaying kindness to each other. The times when they really come together, like when we're out for a walk and all three of them will hold hands. The older two are really protective of Max, which is so gorgeous to see. For me, that pride comes from the small moments."

READ: Giovanna Fletcher talks teen love with husband Tom

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Giovanna wears Pandora's chunky infinity knot chain necklace, charms, bracelets and rings

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And what's been the most difficult mum moment that you've experienced?

"There have been many. I would say sleep. I think sleep is one of the most difficult things to navigate. I can remember early days with Buzz, he would just never want you to leave the room. It would get to half nine and you're trying to leave the room and he'd wake up again. Back in those days, when I would work in the evenings and Tom was off on tour, that was really, really hard. And you think, 'Gosh, that's nothing to cry about.' But it's emotionally, physically, mentally draining, night after night. And we all need sleep. We all function better if we sleep."

How confident do you feel as a mum now compared to when you were a first-time mum?

"I think it's really hard because I think the challenges we face as a parent are constantly changing and I think it's all about understanding that whatever you're going through, it will pass. My podcast is about picking up little tools along the way that make you feel like you're more confident in what you're doing.

"I just want people to feel lifted, knowing that they're not alone. And I think that is the most important thing. I think when a mum comes downstairs after all the kids are asleep and she's left feeling guilty like she's failed, like she's the only one getting it wrong, I want that woman to know that she's not, she's not the only one that feels that. Actually, she's doing a really good job, and once you understand those feelings, they don't have as big a hold over you."

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Giovanna wears Pandora's bracelets and charms

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You've had amazing guests on your Happy Mum Happy Baby podcast, including the Duchess of Cambridge. Interviewing her as a fellow parent must have been a good leveller?

"We were talking mother to mother which was really lovely. She definitely delivered. I have never heard her talking that way about motherhood before. And also, looking back, that was a very odd time. That was a month before lockdown so it was quite bizarre really to think that that happened. But she was such a great guest to have on the podcast and she really cares about the Early Years and how children are getting on and what the Royal Foundation can do to support parents."

READ: How Kate Middleton changed plans for Giovanna Fletcher's podcast

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Giovanna wears Pandora's moments O pendant T-bar necklace, freshwater cultured baroque pearl hoop earrings, bracelets, charms and rings

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Do you think her candidness about parental guilt has encouraged other mums and dads to speak openly about their experience?

"I feel like we were talking about it before anyway, but I think having someone like her hold up her hand and go, 'Yes I feel that too,' maybe for some people that makes them think, 'Actually, it's okay to feel like I do.' But I think that conversation has always been there. If anything, it's just really interesting to know quite how far-spread parental guilt is. It doesn't really matter who you are or what you have is, it's something that so many of us experience."

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Giovanna wears Pandora's rose pave heart hoop earrings, bracelets, rings and charms

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You also interviewed Jennifer Garner on your podcast. What was she like to chat to?

"She was amazing, an absolute joy in everything. I think it's always worrying when you have people like that on the podcast, because you think, 'Are you going to live up to what I have in my head?' I think I literally grinned at her the whole time we were recording because she just radiates this warmth, this joy. She's just so grounded as well. She's very open. She was as I hoped she would be. Family is her focus and you get that from her upbringing with her mum and her sisters."

Was there anything you learnt from her in terms of motherhood or parenting?

"There's certainly a fun-ness to her, and actually she'd just finished filming Yes Day at that point, which was something that she and her kids had been doing. So my kids now always ask for a 'Yes Day'. As parents, we're so used to saying no because we worry about all the things that could go wrong, but every so often it's really lovely to say yes and for your kids to hear you say yes. So I guess the biggest thing from her was that it's good to say yes."

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Giovanna wears Pandora's encircled necklace and earrings gift set, rings and bracelet

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You've been able to wear lots of stunning jewellery today at the Pandora shoot. Do you enjoy getting all dressed up and putting on special pieces?

"I do because it's such a rarity. So when it does happen, I really enjoy it. Although I have started wearing earrings at home too because I feel like it's a little bit of a pick-me-up, especially when I'm working or writing. They make me feel brighter."

What is the most sentimental piece of jewellery you own?

"My engagement ring and my wedding rings are the most sentimental. I've got five rings I usually wear in a stack – my wedding and engagement rings and then one ring for each child. They're all platinum with diamonds and then the last one, for Max, is a rose gold one. It has five little diamonds on it."

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Giovanna wears Pandora's chunky infinity knot chain necklace, charms, bracelets and rings

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Your ten-year wedding anniversary is coming up in May. Do you still have plans to renew your vows?

"Our anniversary is only a couple of months away now. We've been so busy that we're already pushing it back and thinking maybe we do something the year that we turn 40 for those big birthdays and for our 13th anniversary. This year, I think we'll do some sort of party, or maybe just us. Maybe we'll get the kids to renew our vows in the garden.

"A couple of our friends got married three years ago and the kids didn't go to that, so we re-enacted the ceremony for them and we all had different roles. I was hosting the ceremony, Tom was a photographer, another friend was the florist. The kids literally sat on their toy seats and they absolutely loved watching this little wedding ceremony. They just thought it was the best thing ever. So maybe something really basic and simple like that in the garden."

giovanna-fletcher-leaning

Giovanna wears Pandora's moments O pendant T-bar necklace, freshwater cultured baroque pearl hoop earrings, bracelets, charms and rings

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How does it feel to be celebrating ten years?

"It really has flown by, but then at the same time, so much has happened within that. Our lives are completely different ten years on. We were talking the other day how we really don't feel different age-wise. I think we both think we're 18 still. We are definitely not!"

What are you hoping for in the next ten years?

"I just want us to keep being happy and see lots of nice places together as a family. Keep pushing, keep doing what we're doing. I hope that the happiness stays."

giovanna-fletcher-sitting

Giovanna wears Pandora's rose pave heart hoop earrings, bracelets, rings and charms

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Shop the Pandora jewellery worn by Giovanna Fletcher or gift your mum for Mother's Day via uk.pandora.net.

Giovanna Fletcher's Happy Mum Happy Baby podcast can be downloaded from acast.com.

Photography by Helen McCardle.

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