Star of EastEnders, Hotel Babylon and Red Cap, Tamzin Outhwaite is due back on our screens this year in ITV's The Fixer. Tamzin, 38, is also mother to Florence, who was born last June and is married to actor Tom Ellis, 30. We caught up with Tamzin to find out how she looks after herself while juggling work and motherhood.
How did you enjoy pregnancy?
"For the first 12 weeks I was filming The Fixer so it's just about keeping yourself in check to make sure that you can film. I had morning sickness and tiredness and all the other things that come with pregnancy, but nothing was terrible to the point where I couldn't get up.
"I didn't like the smell of things at the beginning. Alcohol made me feel sick. If someone had been drinking and breathed on me, I couldn't bear it. I craved a lot of ginger – ginger drinks, dried ginger I could chew on, ginger biscuits. They say it's because it stops sickness."
How did you feel about the changes to your body?
"I didn't enjoy being pregnant. You feel particularly ungraceful. And I had a little bit of sciatica so I couldn't really do what I'd normally be doing. I was constantly trying to do more exercise to make myself feel better and then being told not to. It was a very static, stale time. I wasn't being artistic or creative in an acting way and I couldn't get my endorphins working through exercise so it felt like I was just waiting."
How did your body change during pregnancy?
"Everyone said to me, 'Oh you haven't really put on loads of weight, it's just a bump at the front'. But my bump at the front felt pretty big. I felt like a big whale. She was born 7lb 10oz and I've lost most of the baby weight, still got a little way to go. I'm doing it loads of different ways; I'm trying everything.
"I've got a Pilates class every week, I've got a personal trainer once a week and legs, bums and tums classes once a week, all at the gym. I think straightforward exercise is the key. I've been trying PowerPlate, which is very good, three times a week to get me back into shape at work. Making sure I don't eat carbs after seven o'clock at night certainly helps – sometimes not even past four o'clock in the afternoon. But I'll eat everything else up til that point."
Are you comfortable with your body now?
"My body's not back in shape, but it's on its way. It’s a continual process. I think your body takes on a different guise now and it takes longer to get back into shape. Whereas I used to be able to do a couple of sessions in the gym and you'd notice your form come back, it just takes a bit longer now. So as long as you can accept that and you're not frustrated by it, I think it's alright.
"It was a little bit difficult, being a dancer and my body being out of control. Coming from a dance background, it was more that you can't do any dance, that was what frustrated me. It wasn't that I wanted my body to look how it was; it's that I know I get a buzz from dancing or some form of movement. So not being able to have that in your life is a bit weird."
What do you use to keep your energy up?
"I've got Berocca and Echinacea tablets for when I get really tired and to fight everything off. Everyone else seems to have a cough or cold at the moment which I'm fighting off so I'd say they work. On the days I'm not working, I go to the gym, have a steam, do a few things that make me feel perkier."
How do you relax?
"I love candles, but did get nervous of using them around Florence because you hear of them containing so many toxins. So I switched to Neom organic ones which are made from natural vegetable wax and pure essential oils. I carry the travel set around with me to make my trailer or hotel room feel like home when I'm working.
"My favourite of the four miniatures is Revitalise, made with Thai lemongrass, mint and rosemary, a blend that the brand claims 'sharpens the mind' – and I need that when I'm working with a new baby: it really wakes me up, especially at lunchtime after I've been filming all morning."
What's your best beauty secret?
I always have to have Defy Time by Shenaz with me. It just gives skin a completely different feeling – like it's got all its collagen back and it's all plump and lovely. I wouldn't use another moisturiser now. And I love Elemis Instant Refreshing Gel – it's for tired legs, but I use it on any area where I've got skin that's out – it's menthol so it makes you feel very alive."
Do you have a favourite scent?
I always wear Pomegranate Noir. When I got married, Tom said he could smell his wife coming down the aisle – he reckoned he could smell me before I even arrived. So it always reminds him of me. I get a lot of comments on it. I love it."