Interviews / 9 October, 2019 / My Baba

Billie Faiers On Planning Kid’s Parties, Managing Screen Time, And Life On The Mummy Diaries

You’ll know Billie Faiers for The Mummy Diaries. If not, you’ll probably have caught her on The Only Way Is Essex or caught wind of her luxurious Maldives wedding to Greg Shepherd a couple of months ago. The 29-year-old TV star has also been busy designing her kids fashion line Billie by Billie Faiers with George. We spoke to the mother-of-two about the collection, along with what it’s like recording The Mummy Diaries and how a digital detox for the whole family may be the way forward.

How do you strike a balance between your public and private life?

Billie admits there’s a fine line between the two. “We signed up for being on a reality TV show and the only way it works is giving everything. It’s all or nothing really,” she explained. “There’s no airs and graces, trying to make out we’re something that we’re not. The kids are kids and they have their moments. We’re very open in sharing all of that and I think people appreciate that.”

That doesn’t mean Billie wants to be on camera all the time. “There are times when we’re on holiday, around the swimming pool, and people are filming secretly and it’s like ‘give me a break!. Being pictured out and about can be great. It’s great for our business and what we do, but there are sometimes where you think I’d rather not be pictured right now. It’s not that often; the good definitely outweighs the bad.”

The Mummy Diaries is back for its sixth series! What’s your favourite thing about recording the show? Will you be watching along on TV?

“I would say it’s almost as though we’ve got the best home video ever!” said Billie. “The kids love it and love watching themselves on the show. Everything we watch back is just like reliving the moment.” Billie always watches along on the night when it’s out and shows the children the day afterwards.

In one episode, you’re planning a Greatest Showman-themed party for 5-year-old Nelly with a 60+ guest list. How did that go down? Any tips and tricks you can share with us for planning a kid’s party?

“It was really good. It sounded like a crazy number of kids and I know it was. But there were so many kids at school and we’ve got loads of friends and family with kids,” said Billie. “I hired out a local farm that Nelly loves and it had all rides and animals. They basically had it to themselves.”

If you’re planning a kid’s party, here’s Billie’s advice:

  • Get the venue right. “I knew I was going to do at the farm, so there was space to invite everyone. I wouldn’t have invited that many kids otherwise.”
  • Don’t worry about the food. “Don’t make food a focal point of a party. Kids get so overexcited and they just want to play.”
  • It’s all about being organised. “I write loads of lists of what I need in a notebook, not on my phone. It really helps.”

Another topic you cover on The Mummy Diaries is the digital detox for kids, particularly Nelly. Where do you currently stand on this? How do you manage your children’s screen time?

“We’ve taken away the iPad during the week. It got to a point where Nelly was literally getting home from school, taking off her shoes and asking ‘where’s my iPad mummy?’ and I thought this isn’t right,” said Billie. Despite a few meltdowns at first, this approach appears to have worked because “when the kids don’t see them, they don’t ask for them”.

It’s also helped Billie to cut down on being on her phone around the children. “It’s not setting a good example if you’re on your phone in front of them,” Billie told us. “If I’ve got commitments — something I need to do on my phone — I’ll go in the other room. It’s really hard because our lives are our phones, aren’t they? You just have to make small changes.”

She does admit the iPad can be really useful at times. “I’m all for iPads when we’re travelling, especially when you’re on holiday and you want to eat dinner in peace. I let them settle down by watching something on their iPads.”


When Does Screen Time Become A Problem? Should I Limit My Child’s Time Online?

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Where’s your favourite place to holiday with your family and why?

The Maldives is Billie’s immediate answer. “It’s my favourite place to have taken the kids. It’s so relaxed the only place I ever switch off. The kids are really relaxed and happy too,” she told us. “You don’t have to get dressed up. The whole time you’re there you don’t have to wear shoes or put any makeup on. It’s just so chilled.”

How do you like to relax off-camera with your family?

Billie loves to plan family days out for the weekend. But, if she’s at home, the kids love “having a movie day with all the cinema snacks and being with me and Greg”.

What inspired the design behind the Billie by Billie Faiers kidswear collection?

Nelly and Arthur were the big inspiration behind the collection. “I’ve always dressed them in more traditional but also really comfortable clothing,” Billie told us. “When you’re a mum, you want your kids to look smart and lovely but comfort is the priority.” The collection is made up of comfortable pieces that are “easy to put on babies and children but also look really smart,” she added.

Since this is the fourth collection drop for George at ASDA, how would you say the designs have changed and developed through the collections?

“We’re doing styles to age 4 now because lots of customers loved the collection but the sizes didn’t go up big enough,” said Billie. The initial collection went from 0-24 years, so this size range is a welcome increase because it gives Billie the option to dress Nelly in the collection too.

Customer feedback has also led them to tweak some designs, so they’re more wearable. “We’ve got a cable knit all-in-one that we did last year and it did really well but a few mums said that by the legs the buttons kept coming undone. So, we’ve done the same design again but we’ve put poppers in instead of buttons around by the legs,” explained Billie.

Do you have a favourite piece and if so, why?

“Yeah, I love the little knitted leggings with matching jumper. We’ve got it in grey, pink and blue,” said Billie. “It’s almost like how the royals are dressing their kids. We’ve got dungarees, Peter Pan collar tops, and similar for the girls but in a dress.” A lot of the collection is very much suited to the lead up to Christmas with plenty of occasion wear pieces.

Describe yourself in three words.

“That’s always a hard one. I’d say I’m independent, optimistic, and fun.”

The Billie by Billie Faiers collection is now available to buy from George and in-store at ASDA.


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