And although magazine shoots can attest to her lean, mean, post-baby body – with a thigh gap that could crack nuts – she is just as nice and normal as in her Made in Chelsea days.
For Alexandra Felstead is sitting before us in a big baggy jumper at the 2019 Women’s Health Live event and she’s about as comfortable and comforting as her knitwear.
She may enjoy exercise but she believes that everything should be in moderation – and she wants mums to be kinder to themselves.
“I am not a fitness expert, I’m just a first time mum trying to do the best she can,” she admits frankly.
Although the name ‘Binky’ may conjure up images of somebody impossibly posh, when Binky appeared on Made in Chelsea she felt like a different type of posh.
A relatable type of posh…
There was nothing precious about Binks. You could imagine her mucking out the stables at some country manor – she had that wholesome, beaming, outdoorsy glow.
Dressed in those trademark over-sized sweaters and with her indifference to fashion, there was the whiff of the tomboy about her.
She was self-deprecating. She was funny. She was unashamedly silly too, with Ollie Locke, Cheska Hull and Binky forming a merry band of three who didn’t take themselves too seriously.
By series 4, Binky had begun to venture beyond the realm of their friendship, expanding her social circle. Under Mark-Francis Vandelli’s careful tutelage she learnt about fashion and she was so easy to talk to that even the dastardly Spencer Matthews sought her out as a confidante.
Long before motherhood unexpectedly beckoned, Binky had an earthy maternal quality with a tendency to take other cast members under her wing.
It was Binky who saw through the infamous Watson reserve and befriended Lucy while the rest of us were still scratching our heads about this outspoken new arrival.
She also risked a brief dalliance with the King of Chelsea himself, Jamie Laing, before enduring a fraught relationship with the be-quiffed Alex Mytton.
The summer of 2015 saw her begin an on/off relationship with JP (Josh Patterson), captured in Made in Chelsea: LA and although the pair announced their split in September of last year, the two are united in their desire to give their daughter, India, the best possible life.
The world and its mother fell in love with Binky…and her mother (who could forget no-nonsense Mummy Felstead?) – and since 2018 Binky has been looking after other mummies at her Mummy Tribe retreats.
Finally, mums can escape to a health and fitness retreat where they can take their babies with them.
Exercise classes, team games, nutritionists and cooks are all on the menu – as is a full-time creche, available from 7am until 7pm. You can even bring a friend!
And the way Binky describes it, it’s also the opportunity to have a good old natter:
We all go through our own battles and I think the best thing we can say is just talk about it. We need to talk!
Fancy some wine and a – completely legitimate – whine?
“Everyone who comes to the Mummy Tribe retreat, we all sit round a big table after the day and…have about three bottles of wine,” laughs Binky. “We all sit down and each mum goes: ‘Oh my god – do you feel like that too?’ And everyone can’t believe that everyone’s in the same boat.”
“And that’s what’s really sad,” points out Binky, “No one’s talking about it enough.”
Here’s what we learned about prenatal and postnatal fitness from listening to Binky, founder of the Mummy Tribe, and personal trainer, Lulu Adams, at Women’s Health Live:
Be kind to yourself:
“If I can’t work out one week (then) I can’t work out one week. I’ll start again the next week,” says Binky matter of factly. “That’s pretty much how I roll, really.”
The pragmatic star looks for simple, workable solutions that she can easily fit into her life – and she feels that busy mothers are already getting a lot of exercise:
If I do feel like I need to do something I’ll go walk to the park. Also, carrying India – she’s a big girl, she’s heavy! I’m always running after her, picking her up, putting her down, getting her in the cot, taking the pram out of the car – you’re always on the move.
Lulu agrees: “I think that’s the thing – not being too strict. Don’t set a schedule that you have to work out six days a week because you’re burning energy – you’re using your muscles – every single day, whether you’re a mum or not. Most of us are lifting in some way or walking up the stairs.”
“And yeah,” she adds, “making choices like walking up the stairs instead of taking the lift – little things like that can help – but you don’t need to smash out a workout six days a week.”
“Don’t feel guilty if you don’t manage a workout!” emphasises Binky.
“I used to think: ‘If you don’t sweat you’re not doing a workout,’ confesses Binky – but Lulu proved her wrong with slower and more mindful exercises:
“I was like ‘Oh this is fine, I can do this!’ – and then I couldn’t walk for three days afterwards!” exclaims Binky. “The burn was unbelievable. I wasn’t even moving that fast!” she laughs.
Lulu explains: “It’s mind/muscle connection.” So, when you’re working out your glutes, for example, she advises that you “actually think about squeezing your glutes and then you’re going to activate more muscle fibres. I promise you, it works!” she tells us.
Here are Binky and Lulu talking with Ashley Verma about postnatal exercise – and how to find a postnatal personal trainer:
Listen to your body:
Lulu learnt the importance of listening to our bodies while pregnant with one of her children:
“I was a personal trainer already and I kept going!” she says, “I just kept up my high intensity because there is a slight message out there that ‘Let’s be strong while we’re pregnant, let’s keep doing stuff! If it feels good, do it!’ It’s not always the best message,” she acknowledges, “you really need to tune into the body. It’s tuning into your body and trying to find the balance.”
This lesson would come at a price, as Lulu discovered:
“So, I actually ended up with something called pelvic girdle pain during my first pregnancy. Because I kept going! Because I was doing barre and high intensity stuff like six or seven times a week. Because I thought I could! Because it felt good! Because I was getting that endorphin rush and everything. And then my body sent me a sign to say: ‘Uh uh – that’s not good.”
Lulu recommends that anyone thinking about pregnancy or pregnancy and training really listen to what their body is telling them.
Everything in moderation during pregnancy.
If you’re wondering what types of people come to Mummy Tribe, all types seems to be the answer, as Lulu explains:
“So, we have some mums who come who since the baby was born they hit the ground running. They were back into cross-fit, they were running. Because they felt like they had to – they had to be that one that did it all – that was the perfect wife, that had their career back on track, they were back in their pre-pregnancy size jeans. And they come and they’re finding: ‘Oh my god, actually I don’t need to worry about that.’ They find a bit of balance.”
However, if workouts are something you would run from if running didn’t also involve exercise, you’re not alone:
“And then there are those who haven’t exercised and are like: ‘Oh my god I’m dreading the exercise sessions,'” adds Lulu, “and we make it fun! So…actually, the whole idea of fitting fitness into being a mum becomes accessible – because we do short, sharp workouts…that just make it simple. It doesn’t need to be complex! It just needs to be getting you moving!”
Here Binky talks to Ashley Verma about why she founded the Mummy Tribe – and the impact it has had on new mums:
Expect Binky and her team to provide high and low intensity exercise, mindfulness, parenting expertise, nutritional food and therapeutic treatments.
For the moment, Mummy Tribe is open to mums with babies aged from 3 months to 3 years old but the retreat will eventually be open to mums at all stages of their parenting journey.
So, Binky’s back! Feel like backing her with a booking? Look out for retreat dates at the Mummy Tribe website soon – in the meantime, check out the video below: