Jennifer Metcalfe is famous for playing feisty Mercedes McQueen in Hollyoaks – the role which has seen her nominated and crowned Sexiest Female at the British Inside Soap Awards.
But while life is a lot different now for the actress – since welcoming her 10-month-old son, Daye, with her boyfriend, former Geordie Shore star Greg Lake, 33 – the actress tells us she loves her body more than ever before.
‘I feel great about my body!’ she grins when we meet for a chat.
It’s nice to see the mum-of-one in high spirits, as she reveals the downsides of motherhood, telling us in between mouthfuls of her rushed lunch, ‘Daye hasn’t been sleeping at night. It’s killing us!’
But Jen wouldn’t have it any other way, occasionally pausing our chat to check on her son – who is having a daytime nap.
‘He’s so cosy,’ she gushes, barely taking an eye off of him.
Here, the brunette beauty, 35, fills us in on life as a new mum, returning to the Channel 4 soap and why she’d love to sign up for Strictly Come Dancing…
Hi, Jen! How’s motherhood treating you?
It’s amazing. It was quite difficult in the early stages, but 10 months on and we’ve really found our feet!
What’s the toughest part?
It just feels like you’re on a conveyor belt that never stops. It’s a beautiful conveyor belt, but sometimes I wouldn’t mind stepping off it for five minutes. But even when you step away, you’re still worrying about them.
Is there anything you realised that no one told you before?
How hard it is! [Laughs] Actually people told us, but we just ignored it.
What stage is Daye at now?
He’s nearly walking! He’s such an active boy.
Are you sad he’s growing up?
Yeah. People tell me I’ll cry on his first birthday and I probably will. But babies grow up. I’m sure he’ll be an amazing toddler, so bring it on!
Does it make you want to do it all over again?
[Laughs] Not right now. Maybe ask me in another year or two!
Have you and Greg spoken about more children?
It changes from week to week. Sometimes we’re like, ‘Oh maybe we could do this,’ and then we’re like, ‘Absolutely not!’
Has Daye brought you closer?
He’s changed us slightly. It’s nice seeing each other in our new roles. Greg’s a brilliant dad, and I know he thinks I do a good job.
Are you living together now?
Yeah, I’ve been staying in Newcastle with him while on maternity leave.
Any plans to tie the knot?
[Smiles] Not at the minute.
How do you feel about your body after Daye?
Great! I love it.
Do you feel pressure to get back into shape?
Not at all, but I can understand why women do.
What advice would you give to new mums on body confidence?
I have got this new-found appreciation for my body because it’s done something so amazing. So as long as it’s healthy, it can move and it can look after my baby, then that’s enough for me.
You took part in the Tough Mudder UK Black Tower wine obstacles recently – how did that help your fitness?
It was hardcore! I did some mummy fit classes, yoga and also worked on my core muscles beforehand. I was relieved to enjoy a glass of wine at the end!
Are you looking forward to returning to Hollyoaks?
Yeah, I’m so excited! I’m going back next month, but I’ll settle Daye into nursery first.
Have you had any play dates with your Hollyoaks pals?
I haven’t seen Chelsee Healey’s baby [Coco], or Kieron Richardson’s twins [Phoebe and Chase], but I’ve met up with Rachel Adedeji and her daughter [Lillian]. Greg and I are close to her and her husband [Jason Finegan].
You were on Dancing on Ice in 2011 – would you do any other reality shows?
I’d love to do Strictly! I’m a good dancer, so I think I’d enjoy it.
You’re not worried about the Strictly curse?
[Laughs] No, me and Greg are very secure!
Black Tower Wine is the Official Wine Sponsor of Tough Mudder UK. Jennifer is Black Tower’s Celebrity Mudder Woman. Limited-edition Fruity White is available in stores at £5.50 a bottle.