Actress Lisa Faulkner is a familiar face from her roles in everything from Holby City to Spooks.
But she showed new talents when, despite nerves and tears, she won Celebrity Masterchef in August this year. Judge Gregg Wallace said at the time: 'Lisa elevates humble food into something beautiful. She's possibly the best celebrity MasterChef winner we have ever had.'
Lisa spoke to us about life after Masterchef, her perfect family Christmas and why adopting daughter Billie is the best thing that's ever happened to her.
So what's life been like since you won Masterchef? Is there pressure on you for every meal to be a gourmet feast?
Masterchef has totally taken over my life – it's all about food now. I've been an actress since I was 19, so that's nearly 20 years now, and I will still continue with that, but I'm enjoying the food stuff as well and hope it will continue. I'd like to write a cookery book, and this week I'm appearing at Masterchef Live.
At the moment I'm raising awareness of BT Chat for Children day. On Friday 12th November, 1p from every landline call, and 25p for every directory assistance call will go to Children in Need. I'm planning to call my grandma and have a lovely long chat with her. I'm hoping lots of people will call their loved ones and raise plenty of money for Children in Need.
Are you looking forward to Christmas?
Me and my sister take it in turns to do Christmas, and this year it's my turn which I'm really looking forward to. We always get up and have Buck's Fizz and smoked salmon for breakfast, later we have a big Christmas lunch and a big tea as well – the day is all about food really, we're constantly in the kitchen.
We do presents from Santa in the morning, then presents from family after lunch. My daughter Billie doesn't mind waiting because she has a big sack from Santa and the rest is spread out throughout the day. She loves Christmas, she rushes down to see if Santa has been. We tend to tell her it's not morning yet if it's too early! I can't wait for this year, she's so excited about it all, I expect she'll be up by 4am.
Your daughter Billie is four, is she fussy about food as many four-year-olds can be?
Billie is brilliant about food and has always been a good eater. When I was doing Masterchef she wanted to be involved and try things. Then if she tries something and doesn't like it, I might wait a few weeks and give it to her again. She really loves her veg, especially broccoli, and I make her things like lasagne or vegetable soup with pancetta in it. Her school tell me that she loves the salad bar more than anybody else!
You've spoken before about your experiences with IVF and adoption. Was it important to you to be open about what you'd been through?
I never wanted to lie about my experiences. When you've been through IVF to try to have kids and you read about someone else doing it too, it makes you feel less alone. My journey was full of heartbreak. I know that lots of people have success with IVF, but we didn't. But we adopted the most amazing little girl, and now it seems like it was meant to be. It has changed my life in every way, for the better.
As an actress, you have to travel for work. How do you balance that with family life at home?
I think finding a balance in life is the toughest thing that women struggle with. I now make a point of trying to get jobs closer to home, but it still feels like you're constantly jugging. My husband Chris Coghill is an actor and writer, so we take it in turns as much as possible to work. We are lucky in that we can rely on each other and we have family to help.
For me, the most important thing is that our daughter has a routine. I think mums always have guilt that they're not doing it right. What I do is I make sure that if I've had a big heavy week of work, I'll make sure that we do something lovely together at the weekend. I've been doing a lot of presenting lately, which is great because it means I can be home in time for the end of school, then we do dinner and have bath time. I think that kind of stability is important to children.
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