Sam Bailey belted her way to victory on The X Factor last year, and now has a number one album under her belt, with another album set to be released in time for Christmas. The 37-year-old is also mum to Brooke, nine, Tommy, five, and two-month-old Miley Beau. She lives in Leicester with her children and her husband, Craig.
Parentdish sat down with the prison officer turned chart-topper to talk about everything from swearing to Santa to Sharon Osbourne.
What does a typical day look like for you? Has your family life changed much since the X Factor?I'm up in the morning, getting the kids ready for school, doing packed lunches and that. Then I'm off to London, and Miley goes to a childminder. Craig picks the kids up and I'll be back later on.
Working in the Prison Service I would go to work at seven in the morning and I wouldn't see the kids until they were fast asleep.
I have more of an appreciation towards my kids now – I used to shout at them a lot, because I was tired all the time, now we laugh, we joke, and we all go out more.
What's your approach to parenting?
People might agree with this, people might not, but I know what kids are like and some of what they hear at school, so we sit down and have little chats. I remember about a year ago, I sat down with Brooke and said "What swear words do you know?". She said "Really?" and I said "Tell me what you know and we can discuss if they're offensive, if they're nasty, and try to have a bit more understanding."
The fact that she can come to me means she's going to come to me when she has her first period, or if she's been with a boyfriend, and we can talk about it. I think in this day and age, you've got to be more upfront about it.
She can talk to me about anything. She said to me: "Mummy, if two men love, they're called gay." I said: "Oh, right..." and she then she said: "And if two women love, they're called vegetarians." I laughed my head off!.
Were you worried that having a baby so soon after winning the X Factor might jeopardise your career?
Anybody would be. You start a new job and you fall pregnant, you've got to have that discussion with your boss and you think "He's gonna go mental at you". But no one did. And if they did, they would be wrong, because we as women have the right to have a baby.
Did you feel under any pressure to return to work straight away?
I've got a very easy baby. If she wasn't as easy as she is, I wouldn't be here now. And I had her three weeks early, which meant I could go back to work three weeks earlier.
Where did you come up with the name Miley? We've been told it wasn't a tribute to Miley Cyrus...
I heard it on the radio. It wasn't directly [inspired by Miley Cyrus], but I probably heard that name mentioned, and thought "Miley... that's nice."
How have Tommy and Brooke adjusted to having a baby sister?
Brooke is like a mum, and Tommy can't walk past her without kissing her. The pair of them absolutely dote on her. I've got such good kids! I know everyone says that, but I genuinely do.
What's it been like for them, suddenly having a celebrity mum?
A girl in Brooke's class really upset her by saying "The only reason you've got friends is cos your mummy's famous." She came home and dissected every single friendship she's got at school, and it broke my heart. And I personally believe that that hasn't come out of the mouth of a babe – that's come out of a parent's mouth.
I told her: "That person that said that is jealous, because she hasn't been invited to see Little Mix in concert and meet them, like you've done."
On the other hand, we're friends with a lot of Leicester City footballers, and the lads at school think that's pretty cool. At Halloween, we had Jamie Vardy and his missus round. We had kids coming to trick or treat and seeing their idol open the door, so now Brooke's become a bit of a celebrity at school!
Talking of celebrity friends, Miley met her godmother, Sharon Osbourne, for the first time this week. What was it like catching up with her?
I haven't seen her since July, so it was really great to see her. And after hearing that she's been suffering from depression – you'd never know. That's what I like about her, she's so strong, and she soldiers on no matter what.
I'm very similar to her in that sense – I've been soldiering on with Bell's Palsy for a couple of weeks. I just think "Fuck it, let's go out there and show people what we're made of."
You recently went public about being diagnosed with Bell's palsy. When did you know that something was wrong?I had an earache and went to the A&E that night cos it was so painful, and they said it could be a middle ear infection.
The next day my face went numb, and the doctors made me come in straight away cos they wanted to make sure I hadn't had a stroke - and then they told me I had Bell's palsy.
Funnily enough, when you've got a numb face, 'Bell's palsy' is the hardest thing to say!
Have you been watching the X Factor this year?
Yes, I have. I was wounded to see Paul go out, gutted. He was the most technical, versatile singer on the show – he could sing the phone book.
Who's your money on to win it?
Either Ben or Stereo Kicks. Everyone thinks I'm gonna say Andrea! They keep giving him songs for girls – he's had three of my songs from last year!
And what's on the cards for 2015?
Touring! My tour starts 29th January in Leicester. And then, hopefully getting more gigs and working on a fresh album, with no covers. I'd like to do an old-school duets album, with Ali Campbell and Richard Marx, but I don't think they're going to take me up on that!
You've got a Christmas album out - did you have a lot of input on the song choices?
I had to submit a list of songs I would like to sing - I thought back to Home Alone and that 'O Holy Night' that's in it, which takes me straight back to Christmas. Whereas for 'With You', which is from the musical Ghost, that was thrown at me by Simon Cowell. It's a lovely song, I'd never heard it before.
What does a typical Christmas look like in your house?
Even before X Factor, Brooke and Tommy have always had lots of presents. They'll have a main present or two, and then the rest are like a colouring book or a pack of pens. And I have to do it so they have exactly the same amount! Miley doesn't even know what's going on, so she's just got a few baby toys this year.
Brooke knows about Santa now – we had a discussion about it, and she's now on our team. If something comes for Tommy, she'll send him into another room while we open it!