Abbey Clancy: 'I'm the same as any other working mother'
Abbey Clancy talks to Hannah Stephenson about her career, date nights and the 'skinny genes' that let her snap back after pregnancy
Many new mums might still be struggling to lose the baby weight and bleary-eyed from lack of sleep. But not Abbey Clancy. She tells me she's "knackered" since welcoming second daughter, Liberty, last June, but she looks far from it.
In fact, the 2013 Strictly Come Dancing winner, and chief judge on Britain's Next Top Model, looks enviably amazing, her svelte frame and endless legs tucked inside skinny ripped black jeans, a cream cowl-neck top and black suede jacket.
Her gently highlighted blonde locks hang loose, while neutral make-up and nude lipstick finish the natural look.
She was back in shape just four weeks after Liberty was born (it was a similar story when five-year-old Sophia, her first daughter, arrived), but Clancy reckons genes play a big part in it, not obsessive exercising or diets, pointing to the remnants of a Chinese takeaway she had the previous night.
"I think part of it is genetics, to be honest," she says. "My mum just sprung back to shape after having four kids. She's gorgeous. I was bigger before I had kids. My body has changed a lot since having them. I am thinner. My boobs are smaller. I think it's how the women age in my family.
"I'm careful about what I eat, in the sense that I want to feed my family good food and I'm married to an athlete who needs to eat good food, but if I want a McDonald's, I'll have one. If I want a pizza, I'll have one.
"Everything in moderation," she continues. "I don't feel under pressure to look good, I want to look good for myself. Looks are a big part of my career, but I don't think you should obsess about it."
The 30-year-old Liverpool-born model has contracts with Reebok and Matalan and is also starring, along with Sophia, in a new perfume campaign for Avon.
Now she can - loosely - add 'novelist' to her CV as well, with the publication of her debut Mills & Boon novel Remember My Name.
She's happy to admit she didn't write it, but the ideas - pretty wannabe singer from Liverpool seeks fame and fortune in London, falls for a smooth-talking lothario who promises to make her a star and finds herself initially losing sense of what's important to her - are hers.
"I'm not a writer, I'm not an author. It was ghost-written for me with my ideas. It's about a girl-next-door with this amazing career in the end.
"That sort of thing's happened to me. I've been so lucky and I've loved everything I've done, so there are similarities, but it's not an autobiography."
Growing up in Liverpool, Clancy was in a girl band by 16, and by 20 had a successful modelling career.
While she looks glamorous for official photoshoots, everyday life is a different story, she says.
"I don't do myself up to death every day. I just throw something on that's clean, walk out, and unfortunately that's when I get papped! But you've got to live your life. Life isn't about getting camera-ready every time you step out the door.
"It's a bit annoying when you're trying to walk round the park and you've got five men with cameras chasing you. But this is an industry I chose to be in, and it has its benefits and its disadvantages," she reasons.
She's been married to Stoke City footballer Peter Crouch for five years, and while they've had some troubled times - most notably in 2010 over claims, which he strongly denied, that he'd slept with a prostitute - they are clearly in love.
They don't have nannies, but share parenting duties, with some help from Clancy's mum, and still prioritise making time for each other.
"The dynamic definitely changes," Clancy reflects. "You can't think, 'shall we stay in bed all day and watch a box set and just rise for food?' There's none of that, or going out at night and staying in bed all day with a hangover.
"Everything is a lot more based around the kids, but it's a great life. We do great things with them, like go out to the farm, go on big long walks and have their friends around."
They also fit in date nights.
"Pete's quite romantic and I am still very much in love with him. I don't think it's changed much from when we first met. I'm really happy and he's so laid-back. We like to go to gigs together. We went to see The Jungle Book the other night, even though we both fell asleep at the end because we're so knackered!
"We have a lot of time together because he's home in time for Sophia coming back from school, and we try and get the kids in bed by eight, so we've got a few hours together."
She shrugs when asked how she juggles motherhood with work.
"People ask me this all the time, but I don't think I'm different to any other working mum. You have to work and look after your kids. That's just life.
"My mum and dad have always worked. I don't need a medal for juggling work and kids. I like to work, and it's important to keep a bit of you, and stuff that keeps you alive - that sparks you and makes you happy."
The couple have a balanced approach with chores, too.
"Pete's very hands-on. He does everything, apart from cooking and cleaning. He's an amazing dad. Nothing has ever been too much of an ask for him," says Clancy.
"I'll cook dinner and while I'm clearing away he'll bath the kids and I'll get them ready for bed. He'll read Sophia a story and I'll do the baby. And then we'll meet on the landing!"
She doesn't watch much football, tends not to socialise with other WAGs, and although the pair have got some celebrity friends, they also both still socialise with their old schoolmates.
"I've had a great career, but I've always been grounded. I'm realistic. I haven't changed and that's from my upbringing. My family have always said, 'be yourself'."
Her career is going from strength to strength now. She's already set to work with her ghost writer again on a second book, and has a cameo in the forthcoming Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, starring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley.
"It was amazing working with them. I'm a huge fan," Clancy beams. "It's incredible to be in it - I couldn't have turned that one down. Acting is definitely something I'd like to pursue.
"I think you should try everything."
- Remember My Name by Abbey Clancy with Debbie Johnson is published by Harlequin MIRA, £9.99