Helen’s career started when she became one of the youngest breakfast presenters on BBC Radio Network at the age of 22, going on to present Newsround for CBBC.
One of Helen’s longest standing roles was as presenter for the flagship children’s series, Blue Peter. The show developed Helen’s thirst for action and adventure, seeing her take on incredible challenges such as completing the Namibia Ultra Marathon (becoming the second woman to ever do so), kayaking over 2018 miles down the Amazon River for Sport Relief (breaking two Guinness World Records en-route), completing a 66 metre high wire walk between the towers of Battersea Power Station and in 2012, Helen travelled 500 miles across Antarctica to the South Pole becoming the fastest person to travel 100km by ski, breaking yet more World Records.
Helen has become a beloved face of the BBC having worked on two Olympics in London 2012 and Rio 2016 as well as presenting the World, Commonwealth and European swimming competitions for the channel.
Helen’s love of the great outdoors has been put to good use, being part of the Countryfile presenting team since 2012. In 2013 Helen was able to feed her love for travel by co-presenting BBC 1’s Holiday Hit Squad. Most recently, Helen presents The Instant Gardener, which just aired its second series on BBC Daytime.
Charity work plays a big role in Helen’s life and as a Sports Relief and Comic Relief Ambassador Helen has travelled to Sierra Leone, Uganda and South Africa to help victims of abuse and terminally ill children. As well as highlighting the vital work of Save the Children and Children in Need, going to India as part of Operation Smile and helping young children born with cleft lips and palates have corrective surgery.
Life in France...
“You actually live in France?” a question I faced a lot last year as I wrestled my boy and bags across London, Oxford, Glasgow or whichever place my unpredictable job took me too. YES, since 2015 we have lived in France. Last year I commuted back to the UK for filming Countryfile. It’s not forever, my hubby plays Rugby league and he got an opportunity to play in Perpignan so when our son was three months old we moved here to the south of the country. For the first year we lived facing the Sea and it was bliss. I swam, walked and paddle boarded most days. I was, and am determined to make the most of our spell over here. As a 17 year old I worked in a bar in Nice, (my Mum still can’t believe she let me go,) as a result my French is ok, I can find the words I need to explain myself but I can rarely understand the full reply. (It’s this kind of confusion that led to the glorious surprise that is my second son. (I didn’t fully understand the gynaecologists explanation of my contraceptive and so here we are, fabulously blessed with two little boys under two!)
Other than that life has been pretty easy to navigate over here. I was lonely at first, no different to any first time Mum, I was off when no one else was and everyone I knew lived in a different country. In England you can’t move for baby friendly activities but as a lot of Mums go back to work after three months there aren’t any baby groups. Especially not in a holiday resort like the one we live in. I spent most of the first six months here pushing the pram up and down the beach front and almost all of my adult interaction was in the tourist information office. (I used to go in there just to chat to someone while my husband was at work.) For his first year I had uninterrupted quality time with my little man, yes there were times when a babysitter would have been nice. He came to every doctors appointment with me during my second pregnancy and at times it was far from appropriate. But like all Mums you do what you need to, to get through it at the time, and you just instagram the good days!
These days getting two under two out of the door is a challenge, but I do it every day to make sure they make the most of their time by the sea (and tire them out for the next nap). Admittedly one of them usually leaves without shoes or a dummy but it’s nothing a trip to the market stall can’t fix. We have about nine pairs of cheap jelly shoes and counting!!