TV star Ferne McCann on her new boyfriend, single parenthood and why she loves Essex
- Credit: Solent Group
TV star Ferne McCann talks to Denise Marshall about single parenthood, finding time for yourself and what she loves most about Essex
Model and influencer Ferne McCann is very much known for flying the flag for single parents, after spending the last five years documenting her motherhood journey with daughter Sunday on ITVBe series, Ferne McCann: First Time Mum. In 2015, she also reached the final of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! Denise Marshall meets Essex-born Ferne to learn how she stays on top of her game and why it’s important that her daughter benefits from the best her home county has to offer…
Like many young television personalities, ITV’s reality hit The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) was Ferne’s launch pad into the public eye back in 2013, and she’s spent the best part of a decade building a loyal fanbase. Regularly posting to her 2.7 million Instagram followers on fitness, fashion, and most importantly parenting, it’s being mum that is the toughest but most important role she has ever had.
In 2017, Ferne began filming First Time Mum while pregnant, and it’s proved a savvy business move with viewers warming to her candid style. The close bond she shares with her own mum, Gill, is clear, and with her 90-year-old grandad, Frank, who was happily helping set up Sunday’s cot in episode one.
Still only 31, Ferne has demonstrated fiercely independent credentials – shining a spotlight on the emotional highs and lows of parenthood by letting the cameras catch lost loves, Sunday's tantrums and her first day at pre-school last year.
Now at a key turning point in her personal life, it’s heart-warming to hear Ferne reveal she is besotted with new boyfriend Lorri Haines, 30, a real estate agent, who has relocated to the UK from Dubai to live with her after the pair got together over New Year.
While acknowledging things have moved ‘fast’, Ferne is unashamedly glowing as she describes taking this next step. ‘We’re a little family,’ she declares quietly, almost pinching herself and thrilled to have a partner to share the trials of daily life, after achieving so much by herself.
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After putting her name to bestselling cosmetic ranges for high street favourite Poundland, Ferne has branched out into the self-care market with the vegan-friendly Wellness by Ferne McCann spa range. And it’s the ideal time to offer people products to de-stress, while they are concerned about the cost of living.
‘Absolutely,’ agrees Ferne. ‘It’s been a tough couple of years and we all deserve a little treat. It’s amazing how much difference taking just half an hour for yourself can have on your wellbeing. I hope these products give as many people as possible the opportunity for a little reset and to feel like they’re treating themselves without breaking the bank.’
With the latest exciting developments in her life, does Ferne think she’s nailed the mum/work life balance? ‘Anyone with kids knows how hard it is to find time for yourself,’ she says. ‘Sunday and I are together all of the time and we’re lucky enough to have had some amazing adventures as a family – that’s how we like it.
‘That said, it’s important to have some me time, and as your kids get older that gets easier. I’m lucky to have a great support network around me so I can take some time out for myself every now and then, and that helps me be a better mum.’
Sunday is fully prepped for future spa sessions with her Mum. ‘She loved my bath bomb collection and we’ll definitely have little girly pamper sessions with the new range. It’s such a lovely way to have one-on-one time together. I love all the products, but I do really enjoy the eye mask. Lavender is such a calming scent and the fact that they’re self-heating, it almost feels like you’re having a treatment. I pop them on in the bath after a long day.’
Ferne has a beautiful detached house in Brentwood overlooking sprawling fields with wild deer, yet close to all the amenities Essex has to offer. Mum Gill is nearby, as is her sister Sophie who has two young boys, but prefers keeping private. Ferne jokes she is ‘Aimee Osbourne (Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne’s eldest daughter), the one Osbourne member you never see on TV!
‘For me, the best thing about Brentwood is the community. We’re all so close. It’s really important to have roots. We go to Warley Country Park a lot and I used to go there as a child. We love the Gruffalo trail at Thorndon Country Park. We also love the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary as Sunday is such a big animal lover.
‘I love that Essex boasts so many beautiful coastal walks. From Cudmore (Grove Country Park, East Mersea) to Southend-on-Sea for a little sea dip.’
When Ferne does get some rare down time with friends, she is never short of places to party. ‘One of my favourite restaurants in Essex is Alec’s (in Brentwood). I love fish and they are renowned for their fish dishes. Sheesh (in Epping) is also great - it has so much atmosphere and the food is always stunning.’
The reality star ensured her and Sunday enjoyed the quality time lockdown brought. ‘It definitely was (a time to recharge). Like for everyone it was tough, but I think the best thing all of us could do was embrace the positive in a difficult situation. For our family, that meant spending a lot of time outdoors. It’s great to be back working regularly and filming First Time Mum. There’s lots of ‘firsts’ in this series.
‘I also have a wonderful charity project I’ve been working on that is aimed at young women. This will be launched later in the year.’
Ferne is spoiled for choice in Essex when it comes to indulging. Can she see her and Sunday sipping smoothies in one of the county’s top wellness retreats in future? Ferne laughs, ‘For now, I think she’s far more interested in adventure than chilling… but maybe one day! I don’t know if she’ll be ambitious but she is very determined, which I love about her.’
Ferne attended primary school in the village of South Weald, but with her successful career she made the decision to enrol Sunday at a local private school. ‘I’ve lived in Brentwood all my life. As I’ve only got one child at the moment, I thought I’d give it a go. When the teacher gives them instructions like getting their water bottles, she says that Sunday is always the first to follow them. So, I’ve done something right!’
Ferne is also not afraid to reveal that she finds comfort in prayer and the feeling God is guiding her. At the end of the last series Ferne visited Father Matthew, a Curate at St Thomas’ of Canterbury church in Brentwood with her personal trainer, Ellie, both of them curious about Christianity. Ferne was baptised as a baby and confided that she, ‘wanted to get closer to God.’
Showcasing such ventures on screen, First Time Mum is now in its eighth series. It came hot on the heels of ITVBe’s most successful parenting show, The Mummy Diaries, starring Ferne’s best friend Billie Shepherd and her younger sister Sam Faiers, who was filmed giving birth. Ferne’s loyal friends feature heavily, including stylist pal Ellis Ranson, but its appeal rests on showing that no matter how dependable your support network, single motherhood is a challenge.
Lorri has a young son from a previous relationship, and more children would definitely be the icing on the cake for Ferne, who recently revealed that she would love to tie the knot in a tropical wedding abroad. With Lorri now also appearing on First Time Mum, it’s looking likely that the show’s title may have to change very soon!
Wellness by Ferne McCann is available from Poundland priced from £1.50
Ferne McCann: First Time Mum is on ITVBe Wednesdays at 9pm
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