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Billie Shepherd is not one to hold back when it comes to talking about the highs and lows of motherhood on her hit TV show The Mummy Diaries.
So we expected nothing less when we caught up with her over a Zoom call to chat about her spring children’s collection with George.
The 31-year-old, who has daughter Nelly, six, and son Arthur, four, with hubby Greg, 35, opens up to us about marital bickering and Arthur’s pre-nursery “meltdowns”. We also chat about Billie’s recent stint on Dancing On Ice, which she had to quit early after suffering a head injury in a fall during training.
“I was so upset,” she tells us. “Obviously, these things happen but you never think it will happen to you.”
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The former TOWIE star also faced heartache a week before she was forced to quit the ITV show when she lost her beloved nanny Wendy – and just hours after our interview, it emerged that her grandad Mick had passed away following a long battle with cancer.
Here, Billie talks about her dramatic exit from Dancing On Ice, her dreams of buying Nelly a horse and her thoughts on having another child…
Hi, Billie. We were gutted you had to pull out of Dancing On Ice early. We know you suffered a head injury but what happened?
I was training so hard and put my all into that next dance we were doing. The worst thing about it was we were literally doing one last run and that’s when the accident happened. I was especially gutted for Mark [Hanretty, her skating partner]. He’d put so much time and effort into training me, because it can’t have been easy [laughs]. He was so patient with me. I was really upset for him.
Bless you! On to mummy talk. How did Nelly find going back to school?
She loved it! She was so ready to go back. She said she’d missed her friends and the school dinners. After half-term, when she came back, I could tell she was getting fed up. But I didn’t stress about it. I took a much more laid-back approach this time because it’s just so weird for the kids.
How’s Arthur doing?
He goes to nursery and continued to go there because they stayed open. But that was a struggle. What was happening in the end was we’d be getting Arthur ready and he was seeing that Nelly was at home. He didn’t understand. He’d wonder why he had to go to school and Nelly didn’t. So every morning he’d have a meltdown. That was really hard, so we didn’t send him in all the time. But it’s back to routine now. And I love routine with the kids. I think it’s so important.
Arthur seems a happy character…
Yes, he is – but he has his moments! I think the past couple of months are wearing thin. His age is really difficult because he doesn’t understand why he can’t go to the trampolines or to the farm. It’s hilarious because he knows who Boris Johnson is. He says, “Why, Mummy? Because Boris has closed it all?!” How does a four-year-old even know this? [laughs] When Boris comes on the news, he points him out.
Have you got anything planned for Nelly’s seventh birthday in July?
She’s really obsessed with horse riding, it’s become a real hobby of hers, which I’m really pleased about. So we’re going to throw a horse riding party. The family who own the stables where she rides said she can have her party there. Hopefully by then all the rules will be gone, so she’ll be able to have all her friends around.
Would you like her to pursue riding as she gets older?
Yeah, I’d love it! She keeps asking me how old she has to be to have her own horse. If she carried on until she was, say 10, we’d definitely look into buying her a horse. When I go to the stables, Nelly is one of the youngest there and I think it’s such a nice thing for them to come together and do after school. It’s something that’s outdoors and in the fresh air, not just sitting at home on TikTok. I will support and encourage that 100%.
Sam and Billie Faiers pay tribute to their late grandad Mick as he dies six weeks after Nanny Wendy
Sam and Billie Faiers devastated as grandfather Mick dies six weeks after their Nanny Wendy
Have you and Greg managed to get much alone time in lockdown?
No, not really! I’ve been looking forward to when we’ll be allowed to go and sit outside at a restaurant again. I just really want to go somewhere, sit outside, have a drink and something to eat. It would be so nice. But we do try to get the kids to bed and I’ll cook us a nice dinner sometimes.
What would you say is the secret to a happy marriage?
To always be open and honest with your feelings. I’m the more fiery one out of me and Greg, he’s more chilled and I know
how to push his buttons. One of my worst things ever is bickering and arguing in front of the kids. I never want to do it. I’ve learned to be more patient and take a second look on how to approach things with him. Sometimes, I think it’s so easy to be snappy, but I’ve learned to take a breath and think before I speak. In so many relationships, when you know each other so well and you’re so comfortable with each other, you do say things, but now I think before I do.
Do you feel like your little family is complete now?
I would never say never to having another baby. Just probably not this year because of the house [which is currently being renovated]. Maybe next year. I still feel young enough to have another baby, we talk about it all the time. You forget the kids are a bit more grown up now. Work is really busy and I would want to take a bit of time. When you have a baby, you want to be at home with it or do things where you can bring your baby with you. I wouldn’t want to have to get childcare or put it on my mum. When I do that, it’ll be a big decision for me to make.
Tell us about your latest children’s range with George…
It’s a 36-piece collection, which is just so lovely. It’s a real mixed colour palette – there’s nudes but pops of mustard and green as well. There’s some gorgeous prints and it’s so wearable. Nelly is the fussiest child when it comes to fabrics and it’s passed what I call The Nelly Test [laughs]. I wouldn’t say she’s a real girly-girl or tomboy, she’s really in between. As long as she’s comfortable, that’s
all that matters.
And how does the collection represent you?
Everything is so comfortable and lovely. Everything we design, I always make sure we’d dress Nelly and Arthur in. One of the boys’ pairs of shorts, for example, has an elasticated waist, as buttons can be horrible to do up. It’s those little details that, as mums, make our lives much easier. Also, it looks so lovely! Arthur is really obsessed with being smart at the minute, so a couple of the pieces have collars. He says he wants to be smart like daddy.
Shop for Billie’s children’s collection at george.com from 19 March
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