In her own words, the ex-Blue Peter presenter shares the biggest lessons in life she’s learnt so far…
You get out what you put in.
My mum always told me that, and I think she’s totally right.
You can’t expect to be good at something if you don’t practise it.
People think I’m dead competitive and I’m not, but the things I’d like to be good at I achieve through working at them.
It relates to relationships, work, parenting…
Even if you want a nice holiday, you have to work hard to save for it.
My greatest love is my dog Barney, a Dachshund crossed with an Irish Setter.
He’s special because he was a stray, then ended up being Blue Peter’s ninth dog, and now he’s a big teddy bear who lives with me.
I lived in London for years and never really settled, and he just helped me calm down a bit and relax.
He used to come on all my first dates with me.
He was even there on the first date I had with my husband, Richie.
It was always, if you like me, you like my dog too.
When you first have a child, you don’t feel qualified.
I was watching some teenagers outside their college, engaging with the teachers, and I got really emotional.
Forget getting lost in celebrating people who win medals and smash records – to have happy, functioning, grounded kids who turn into young adults?
That’s a massive achievement.
My biggest successes are my kids, Ernie, five, and Louis, two.
They’re just the best things ever.
They are crazy, loud and wild.
I got really annoyed with my son the other day, because he said, ‘Girls don’t have grazes on their knees. That’s because girls don’t climb.’
I said, ‘Yes they do! I climb, anyone can climb.’
It’s important they know boys and girls can all do the same things.
I’m not a strict mum.
I should be – they don’t listen to a word I say!
I’m a tomboy mum.
In my eyes, if my kids are dirty and tired, then they’re having a good time.
But if I tell them to go on the naughty step, they laugh in my face.
My friends who have really well-behaved kids call my house ‘The house with no rules’.
It’s because I was brought up that way.
I’d trap wild cats in the house and try to tame them.
I was always up trees, covered in mud.
It’s how I like my kids to be.
I’m not saying it’s the way to bring up children, and it will probably bite me on the ar*e, but we have a good time.
My mum and I are very different people.
She’s a homebird and likes everything to be perfect.
She gets stressed out that my kids never have matching socks on.
To me, as long as the kids are dressed, I’m winning.
I’ve done a lot of dangerous things in the past.
The worst was a beard of bees – I had 12,000 of them on my face.
The director said, ‘Well, the reality is, either you’ll die, or you won’t,’ and I went, ‘Oh, OK, thanks.’
I got mugged while filming in Uganda and held up by the throat.
That scared me for a while, made me very jumpy.
I ran 80 miles non-stop in Africa.
I’ll be honest, it was a dark, dark day.
I was hallucinating for a while.
But I was able to keep going because lots of people bet on me not finishing it, they all had money on at what point I’d pull out, so that drove me on.
People say I’m brave, but I’m probably stupid.
The scariest thing I ever did was give birth alone in my kitchen.
I was in France and my husband was in England, and no one made it to me in time.
So I gave birth with just my three-year-old next to me, repeatedly hitting me on the head with a plastic sword, because he thought we were playing dinosaurs.
But I didn’t have a choice, I just had to get on with it.
I always wanted longer legs and smaller thighs, but I’ve learnt to love what I have.
The Kardashian family have done a lot for my confidence.
It’s nice to have the goodies.
Personality-wise, I’d give anything to be more decisive.
I just can’t do it.
Even when it comes to ordering my food at a restaurant, I change my mind about four times before someone has to pick for me.
The Secrets Behind My Snapshot
I pick up my kids from nursery, get changed into my wetsuit and I have a swim, while my mum and kids sit at the side and watch me.
They think it’s hilarious and call it my swimming lessons.
I love outdoor swimming.
I love a challenge.
I started training for an English Channel swim, but it never happened.
But I’m not naturally fit, so I really have to train hard for things.
When I was doing my marathon training, I had a rowing machine at home and my friends would come round and give me gin and tonic and sit while I was on it, because I couldn’t go to the pub.
I won’t push my kids to follow in my footsteps and live an adventurous life if they don’t want to.
As long as they’re happy, I don’t mind what they do.
They’re loud and feral and that’s what I love about them.
They’re happy as anything watching their mum swim in the river in the freezing cold.
– Helen Skelton is encouraging everyone to get a smart meter, to help create a smart grid which will use greener energy