She was one of our favourite BBC Breakfast presenters up until her departure last year – and fortunately, Steph McGovern has been keeping us thoroughly entertained ever since. She’s now host of Channel 4’s The Steph Show and she also has her own podcast, Steph McGovern’s Not Bad For A Monday, where she discusses all the weird and wonderful things that happen at work.
But since leaving her breakfast show role, there’s been another, perhaps even bigger change, too. Last November, she and her partner welcomed a baby daughter. She describes life at home with her now eight-month-old as ‘chaotic’, but she also considers being a mum one of her greatest sources of joy.
Here, she opens up to Good Housekeeping about the highs and lows of motherhood and what she’s learnt along the way…
How would you describe your home? It’s minimalist, modern and currently slightly chaotic! I gave birth to my daughter a couple of months after moving in, and I’m spending lots of time washing baby bottles, doing laundry and tidying toys and books.
How tidy is it? Much tidier than usual. I’m meticulous about tidying as I go, though; if my house is messy, it feels like my life is messy and I don’t have control over it. Unfortunately, my partner is the opposite!
Since the health crisis started, what changes have you made? Instead of a big supermarket shop, we get supplies from our local butcher, deli and grocer. We give bits to neighbours, and in return, they leave baked goods on our doorstep. I think we got the better deal!
What are your kitchen cupboard must-haves? Dried pasta, lots of different oils and vinegars and some dried herbs.
What is your best storecupboard recipe? I’m no cook – my partner and I have an agreement: I’m the cleaner, she’s the chef. But I can do a decent tuna pasta.
Things might not have gone to plan but we still had a 3 course meal. pic.twitter.com/vnQoPMBwKw— Steph McGovern (@stephbreakfast) April 25, 2020
What supermarket purchase would you hate to run out of? Mature Cheddar cheese. Since lockdown I’ve been having a cheese toastie almost every day, and now I can’t live without them!
What do you always have in your fridge? Kombucha and Coca-Cola Zero. I did a show with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and learned I had terrible gut health, so I started on kombucha – and I do feel better for it. Not sure about the Coke, though!
Who are your dream dinner party guests? Hillary Clinton, because I’d love to ask her about what she’s been through; the late Victoria Wood for the laughs, and one of my mates to share the experience.
Are you a saver or a spender? A saver, because my parents always said, ‘Don’t spend what you don’t have.’
What is the best bargain you’ve ever found? A £5 white noise machine from Maplin that gets the baby to sleep.
What is your biggest extravagance? My The Godfather film poster, signed by the cast. It cost a fortune, but I bought it in a charity auction, which is how I justified it!
What advice will you hand down? Don’t try to be anybody but yourself. I’ve done so many jobs where my accent, background or gender made me stand out and I’ve thought, ‘I need to be more like the people around me in order to fit in.’ But my biggest strength is being myself. It took me a while to learn that.
What is your favourite household task? Putting out the washing. Partly because of the smell and partly because you have to wait for it to dry, so you can’t move on to the annoying part – putting it away!
What always lifts you out of a mood? Music. My dad bought a little disco light for the baby, which she loves, and every so often, we’ll whack on some 1980s songs and dance around like mad while she just stares at us!
What helps you stay calm? My partner, family and friends who help put everything into perspective. Right now, we’ve been having game nights on Houseparty, and my mates and I send each other daft videos and silly things in the post. A sense of humour is more important than ever.
One of the best things I have ever received in the post. #sugarrush— Steph McGovern (@stephbreakfast) June 10, 2020
My mates know me so well. Thanks @odonnellroisin #luckyme
(comes joint top with the brownies @sallynugent sent last week) pic.twitter.com/QTwCWVYrAZ
What’s your greatest simple pleasure? Hearing my daughter laugh. I’ve recently discovered that if I sing the theme tune to Casualty, it sets her off every time.
What is your health motto? Don’t be too hard on yourself. There are times when I can’t exercise or make a healthy meal because my timetable is all over the place, but I won’t beat myself up. It’s not worth it.
The Steph Show will return to Channel 4 later this year.
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