Strictly Come Dancing star Denise Van Outen has admitted that she has put her life on hold as she prepares for the final weeks of the hit TV show. She told HELLO! that she has had no time to prepare for Christmas, that she hasn't been out shopping in nearly three months and that if she does get any spare time, she spends it with daughter Betsy.
"You live, eat and breathe Strictly," she told HELLO!. "But I love it. I've laughed every day pretty much for three months and you can't ask for more than that. It's the best thing I've ever done."
She hasn't even had time to put up her Christmas decorations. "My time with Betsy is so precious so when I see her, I just want to play with her and read and do colouring in, rather than things like decorating the house," says Denise, who is married to West End star Lee Mead.
"But she's fine. She's in a nursery and is looked after by Lee, my mum and my best friend."
While Betsy is too young to see the main show, she loves watching her mum perform on TV. Last week the little girl was taken to watch a dress rehearsal of the show.
"I gave her some of my bracelets from the show and she says they are her dancing bracelets. She tries to do spins and things in the kitchen."
In the New Year, Denise will take Betsy and her parents on holiday. Lee won't join them as he will be appearing in pantomime in Southampton.
"My dad was in hospital for ten days over Christmas last year, so he didn't really have a Christmas," she said. "I want to take us on a nice, relaxing holiday."
Until then, she is hoping to stay in Strictly for as long as possible and is hoping James remembers his steps, unlike their recent salsa. Denise ended up doing the splits to fill time.
"I was doing the splits for what felt like ages and was uncomfortable," she laughs. "I didn't know I could do the splits like that. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get up and they'd have to carry me off."
See the full exclusive interview in HELLO! Magazine Issue 1256, out from Tuesday December 11.