You are launching the children bed time story campaign with Littlewoods so can you tell us a bit about it?
The whole campaign is about encouraging children to read at bed time. I feel it's such an important part of the day for me and Alfie and with all my boys really. Reading bedtime stories is one of my favourite parts of the day we get to relax and let our imaginations run wild and create lovely stories. It's just the whole bonding time, lying next to each other relaxing and seeing your baby off to bed. The whole campaign is aimed at the under sevens in 19,000 schools up and down the country. The competition has started and goes on till the 27 th September. The children will be presenting a piece of paper with little boxes and they have to create their own story that incorporates a magical item of clothing. Some slippers that you click and they take you to another world, or a hat that that gives you the power to fly and getting them to be really creative and use their imagination.
How did you become involved in the project?
I was asked by Littlewoods and for me it was no brainier as bed times are something that I always do with my boys, Alfie loves it. He has hand puppets and I make up all the mad voices for the puppets and he laughs at them. I always ask him 'what happens next in the story?' so he makes a lot of stores up and read him his favourite books.
Why do you think it is that one in three parents don't read to their children at night?
Life is unbelievably busy these days, there is just so much going on whether it is work or different kids going to different clubs. You are always on the go. It is something that is just sometimes overlooked. Its all about bringing it to the forefront again and remembering how import it is for under sevens to be reading on a day to day basis to bring on their progress in school as well.
Why is reading so important to you and your family?
It is a bonding time; I have got a very hectic life. I am on my own now with the three boys and sometimes we are all in the same house doing totally different things. Whether it's me cooking the tea or the boys watching telly, or they are out at football or rugby. It's good to just slow the day down at the end, have baths and just lie down next to Alfie, because the other boys are grown up now and read their own books. It just ends the day on a nice peaceful vibe. When I read to Alfie it settles him, he will dose off into sleep a lot easier, where as if I say 'right bed' he says 'no!'
What were your favourite reads when you were little?
I used to have a lot of comic books like Rhubarb and Custard, My Little Pony, Popple and Care Bears.
You will be selecting the winning story and the illustrations so what will you be looking for in the final submission?
It's going to be a really tough job, but mainly just how well the children are using their imaginations. It will be hard because I know every child who has put in their story will have tried so well. I will just have to wait and see and I am looking forward to having lots of new stories to take home and tell Alfie.
What are you reading to Alfie right now?
We have loads of books, but he likes the Gruffalow, Huffington, Thomas, Ben 10 and the Mr Men. I had all the Mr Men books for when I had Josh so all the boys love Mr Men.
You say that Alfie really enjoys it when you put on voices while telling him a story, so why is it important to animated while reading to your children?
I wouldn't say it's important to be animated but that is something that gets his attention that's what he likes. You don't want to be going to wild at bed time because it's chill out time; he just likes it when you get the puppets out and makes silly voices!
What is next for you?
The Big Reunion is on at the moment and at Christmas we have The Big Reunion Christmas Tour, so I am really excited for that. In the whole of November I'm on tour with Rent the Musical. I am going to be playing the role of Maureen. I am also back in the studio and writing some more music because that is my first passion and I have some great collaborations coming up, so keeping myself very busy!