Binky Felstead might be best known for sharing her glamorous life as part of reality show Made In Chelsea’s original 2011 line up – back when her life was full of parties, friendship dramas and relationship struggles – but now she’s a mother to two young children, things look pretty different.
“I think motherhood has been the making of me,” the 31-year-old says. “I know loads of mums are going to hate me [for saying this], but I actually think it’s been better than I expected. It’s given me a massive sense of security, love, a wholesomeness, massive purpose.”Binky welcomed her second child, a son called Wulfric – Wolfie for short – in June, just seven weeks before she married businessman Max Darnton. She shares her eldest – four-year-old India – with her ex, former MIC co-star Joshua Patterson.
So how’s the newborn stage second time around? “It’s been amazing!” she says. “He’s a very chilled baby so far. As a parent you should never say that because it changes like that. But he’s been lovely, very smiley, loves India, India adores him. It’s been a really lovely first 11 weeks.
“Of course, there are tough bits – the sleepless nights, the exhaustion, the emotions. But saying that, second time around, you don’t let yourself get as worked up by those emotions, because you know you’re going to sleep again, you’re going to feel normal again.”
It was Darnton who first suggested they have a baby together. “I was like, ‘Are you sure?'” she laughs. “He’s so brilliant with India and we knew pretty early on we were going to be together long term. So it was actually Max’s decision to start thinking about it. I was like, ‘No way, not yet’, but actually he’s right, it’s been incredible.”
The four year age gap between her children is perfect, Felstead says, “because [India is] out of nappies, she can feed herself, she can communicate, she can help out. She loves looking after him – which obviously keeps her entertained and happy.
“I was really worried she’d be emotional and upset, but – touch wood – she’s been incredible.”
Felstead is working with Amazon to promote their new Echo Dot Kids (think Alexa for children – it’ll answer their questions, play games, read to them and help with learning) after their research showed parents field 200 questions a week from their kids. “Oh my goodness, it’s constant. “Mummy, mummy, mummy!” laughs Felstead. “Technology is so amazing these days and kids can have fun with it and learn from it.”
For the newlywed and mum-of-two, life is now a world away from when she fell pregnant with India at 26.
“I was the first of my friendship group [to have a baby] so it was quite an isolating and lonely time. All my friends were going to parties, wearing little dresses and crop tops, and I just felt so rank. I felt tired and emotional, I didn’t feel like myself, I was confused, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t really ask anyone…”
Her closest mates have been a mainstay, but she says some simply didn’t get what she was going through. “I think I lost a lot of friends, I had my core group of girlfriends still, but a lot of the girls didn’t understand.
“I messaged one of them, saying, ‘I’m really sorry I can’t come to your birthday party, I’m just feeling so rubbish’. I was seeing all these messages going back and forth on a WhatsApp group, saying, ‘I’m going to wear heels, my tight dress, we’re going to take selfies’, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, that sounds like my idea of hell’.
“We didn’t speak for years after. Only recently has she come back and said, ‘I’m really sorry, I didn’t really get what you were going through’.
“That happened quite a lot, and actually I didn’t really mind. Life changes so much [when you have children] and for me, for the better.”
Anyone who follows Felstead on social media will know fitness is a big part of her life now. So does she look after her physical and mental health better now she’s a mum? “Oh, 100%,” she says. “I think it goes back to purpose, you want to be the best version of yourself that you can be for your kids and your family.”
She shared a bikini photo on Instagram just seven weeks postpartum and says she’s been far more comfortable with her body this time around.
It’s helped, she says, knowing what’s going to happen. “The first time around you don’t really know what’s going on, and you’re worried you’re never going to get your body back.”
But, refreshingly, she’s also not afraid to share that she’s worked hard for her body.
She’s been focusing on her core, pelvic floor and overall strength postpartum, she says, with personal trainer Tyrone Brennand and via her own fitness app MAMABEING. “I love my exercise, I do it for my mental wellbeing and obviously my physical appearance as well – and that’s OK! I like being fit, I like feeling fit, I like fitting into my clothes,” she says.
“I’ve heard lots of, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t have to fit in your clothes’, and I get that, I respect that, but I want to get into my clothes again. Some mothers don’t want to get into physical exercise straight away – I have friends that don’t want to work out and they’re quite happy and content, and that’s fine too.
“My tip is just to get into your exercise clothes in the morning and you might be able to squeeze in a quick workout if you’re lucky. The pain for me is getting the gym clothes on, so if I’ve done that in the morning there are no excuses!”
Binky and daughter India put the all-new Echo Dot Kids (£59.99) to the test, trying out the child-friendly features and skills the device has to offer. For more information visit the Echo Dot Kids blog post on amazon.co.uk.