'I'm More Excited Than Nervous - I Can't Wait!'
'Emmerdale' star Charley Webb invites OK! to her fun-filled baby shower with her star pals and tells us about her rather last minute baby preperations!
When OK! arrives at the baby shower of Emmerdale actress Charley Webb, the party is already in full swing. As we head downstairs at the Cassie Lomas Make-Up Academy – owned and run by Charley's sister - we're met by a blast of music from the DJ, who's pumping club classics into the vast space accompanied by two musicians – one on saxophone and another who enthusiastically plays a set of bongos!
But while the vibe may be more akin to a night out, the tell-tale signs that it's a baby shower are all there. The studio is decorated with 'boy or girl' bunting and beautiful blooms of flowers cover almost every surface. Dotted around the room are huge pink and blue balloons, while an extravagant cake topped with white baby booties takes pride of place by the entrance.
At the other end of the room is a pop-up cocktail bar, where Charley's guests - including her Emmerdale castmates Lucy Pargeter, Emma Atkins, Amy Walsh, Sammy Winward and Natalie J Robb - are enjoying several expertly mixed French martinis from Manchester's The Alchemist.
Meanwhile, Cassie's team of make-up artists are on hand to make sure the guests look their best, and psychic lan Lawman is providing intriguing tarot readings!
With just four weeks to go before she's due to give birth to her second child with fiancé Matthew Wolfenden - who plays David Metcalfe on the Dales - Charley, 27, could be forgiven for wanting to spend the party with her feet Up. Instead, the actress circulates the room making sure everyone's having a good time and encourages her friends and family to take full advantage of the free bar!
'I didn't want people to feel like they couldn't have a few cocktails just because I can't drink, Charley - who plays Debbie Dingle and is already mum to five-year-old Buster — tells OK! when we catch up with her. 'I've been to lots of baby showers where everyone sits around drinking Cups of tea, and that's fine, but I wanted mine to be a bit different. I wanted it to be more of a party.'
In charge of making sure guests were kept suitably entertained was Charley's best friend, actress Sheree Murphy, who spent the majority of the party running around encouraging everyone to take part in traditional games like Guess How Big The Bump Is. Speaking about their close friendship, 40-year-old Sheree - mum to Taylor, 14, Ruby, 12, Matilda, seven and Dolly, three, with her husband, retired international footballer Harry Kewell - revealed: 'Charley looks amazing, I wish I'd looked as good as her when I was pregnant! We've known each other for years and we still don't get bored of spending time together. She's always at my house so she's like an aunt to my kids. When Matthew calls to say she's gone into labour I'm going to be straight down the hospital, barging people out of the way to meet the baby!'
Charley's former Emmerdale co-star Sammy, 30, also gushed about how gorgeous her friend looked, saying, "She's glowing! It's been really nice catching up with everyone as I've not had much of a chance to see the girls since I left the show earlier this year.'
When asked about her own ten-year-old daughter Mia, Sammy added: 'I can't believe how quickly she's growing up. She's completely obsessed with Christmas at the moment. At the top of her list is an iPhone 5 and a bunny - I've had to tell her she's too young for either of those things!"
After gossiping, cocktails and dancing, it was time for Sheree to host a game of Who's The Best Sucker?, which saw Lucy - who plays Charley's on-screen aunt Chas Dingle - and friend Lydia Barnes, a make-up artist on Emmerdale, racing to see who could down a cocktail from a baby bottle in the fastest time! Winner Lucy, 38, was met with a round of applause and a congratulatory bottle of pink Moët et Chandon champagne as she took the coveted crown!
Here, following her special day, Charley shares her fond memories from the fun-filled afternoon and tells us why she and Matthew, 35, still haven't managed to pick a name for the new arrival...
How was the baby shower, Charley?
I had a great time and everyone seemed to be having fun. It was pretty manic trying to juggle organising the shower with filming for Emmerdale but thankfully I had friends like Sheree [Murphy] and my sister Cassie [Lomas] who helped me pull it off.
What did you think of the games Sheree did?
She did so well, bless her. Sheree organised a lot of my last baby shower, too - she's very good at thinking of fun things for people to do.
Lucy was very good at the Who's The Best Sucker? game, wasn't she?!
She was! Lucy has always been very competitive so I wasn't at all Surprised that she won.
Were you sad to miss out on all the cocktails?
I was so busy chatting to people and making sure that they were having a good time that I didn't even think about it. That's always the way when it's your own party, isn't it? Even if I could drink I probably wouldn't have had any time to.
Did you have a tarot reading?
I didn't have time for a proper reading as lan had such a big queue of people waiting to see him. I've been to see him a few times over the years and he's always got everything spot on. The last time I saw him he told me I was three weeks pregnant and was! It was crazy.
Did you get some lovely presents from people?
I haven't even had a chance to open them yet as they're all still at Cassie's studio! Everyone was so generous, though. Matthew and l are going to pick them up in the next few days and sit down and open them together.
Were Matthew and Buster sad to miss out on the party?
Baby showers are an excuse for all the girls to get together, so they knew it was no boys allowed. I tried not to talk about it too much in front of Buster as I didn't want him to feel like he was missing out.
Was there anyone who couldn't make it who you wish could have been there?
Two of my good friends, Ali [King] and Jenna [Coleman], couldn't make it as they were both away which was a shame. It was hard picking a date that everyone could make so in the end I had to go with a day that the majority of people could do.
We saw Brooke Vincent [who plays Sophie Webster on Coronation Street] sent you a lovely bouquet of white flowers...
She's so sweet. She couldn't come as she had other commitments but I didn't mind. I know she would have been there if she could.
How do you and Brooke know each other?
We met about ten years ago, shortly after she started on Coronation Street, and we really hit it off. I know her mum too as she used to go with Brooke to award shows and events. She's a really sweet girl - she's totally mental but I love her.
You and Cassie are very close, too...
Cassie's a few years older than me but she's one of my best friends. She's the person I turn to if things go wrong or I need advice. Her son Spike is only five months older than Buster so they're best friends too. I hope they stay close as they get older.
Will Cassie and your mum be on babysitting duty after you give birth?
Matthew are I are very lucky - both of our families love looking after Buster so we won't be short of people to babysit if ever we fancy a night out.
So your families get on well?
They get on like a house on fire! Every summer all od us hire a villa and go on holiday together. It's great that everyone gets on as well as they do.
What did you do after your baby shower had finished up?
All of the Emmerdale girls and some of my girlfriends came back to an apartment rented out for the weekend for a bit of a rest, then we went out to a few bars. I was feeling pretty exhausted by the end of the night so I just sat down and watched the girls having a boogie!
There's only four weeks to go until your due date. How are you feeling?
I'm working until two weeks before my due date so that has kind of taken my mind off the fact I'm in the last stages of pregnancy. I can feel myself getting more and more tired, so it'll be nice to have some rest before the baby arrives.
If the baby arrived tomorrow, would you and Matthew be ready?
Well the cot is still at Cassie's studio, so not really! We've got most of the baby furniture sorted but there's still a few essentials we need to get, like babygros and nappies. We've both been so busy that everything's going to end Up being a bit last minute.
When was your last scan?
We had a 4D scan at 32 weeks, which was amazing. It's quite strange being given the picture because it's as close as you're going to getto seeing what the baby looks like before it arrives. It was very cute!
Do you and Matthew think you're having a boy or a girl?
We keep changing our minds. If I had to choose, my money would be on a boy, which would make Buster very happy. His best friend's mum has just had a son and it's made Buster more desperate than ever for a brother. Of course, we'd be over the moon if we had a girl, too, and I'm sure Buster would come round to the idea in no time.
How has Buster been throughout this pregnancy?
I couldn't have asked for more from him. He's forever talking to the bump and hugging it. He's already showing all the signs of being a very protective older brother.
Are you nervous about going into labour?
I'm more excited than nervous. I'm counting down the days to my due date – I can't wait to meet him or her. I had a very good labour with Buster but I'm aware that this time around it could be different, as no two births are the same. I'm trying not to worry about it too much.
Have you packed a hospital bag?
I should have, but I haven't got round to it yet. I'm leaving everything to the last minute because I'm still working. Once I've finished filming I can fully prepare myself and start nesting.
Have you got a birthing plan in place yet?
I've heard lots of good things about water births, so I'd like to try that if I can. I only had gas and air with Buster, so I'm hoping it'll be the same this time but you never know, I'll probably end up crying out for an epidUral!
Do you think you and Matthew will cry with all the emotions when the baby arrives?
I'm not sure — we didn't last time. I was so overwhelmed and exhausted after giving birth to Buster that I was too busy taking it all into cry. It could be completely different this time, though.
Have you decided on a name yet?
No! Matthew said to me the other day that we really need to decide on some potential names but we can't seem to find any we like. It might end up being Baby No Name for a few weeks!
Will you choose a name that goes with Buster?
At first I didn't want to choose another name beginning with 'B', as everyone will think we've done it so that they have the same initials. Annoyingly there is one name I like beginning with 'B', so I might have to have a rethink.
Will you miss having your bump?
I've always said that I don't love being pregnant, I find it quite hard, so I won't miss it. I'm so big at the moment that even walking up the stairs or getting out of bed is an effort, so I'm looking forward to getting back to normal.
Will you choose godparents or guardians for the new baby?
We didn't get Buster christened but we've been thinking that we might have a naming ceremony for him. If we did that we'd also have one for the baby. Sheree, Sammy [Winward] and my best friend Kate are all top of my list for guardian duties if we do.
Your due date is a few weeks before Christmas. Have you done all your shopping?
We've started making a list for Buster to send to Father Christmas and I've picked up a few bits and pieces, but nothing major. I'm usually very organised with Christmas presents but this year my friends and family are going to have to excuse me for being a bit slack!
What are your plans for Christmas Day?
Matthew's family and mine are coming to our house to spend the day with us. My sister is going
to Duxbai with her kids so she'll miss out, but my brother Jamie [Lomas] will be there so that will be nice. We're so excited about having our first Christmas as a four-person family!
How long are you planning to take off for maternity leave?
I'm not sure yet. I suffered with a bit of post-baby blues last time so I don't want to rush myself. The guys at Emmerdale have been very good and have said I can comeback whenever I'm ready.
Have you been given an exciting exit storyline?
I've been involved in a lot of dramatic scenes recently [a helicopter crashed at Debbie's wedding] so the producers didn't want it to be too intense, but it's still something exciting for the viewers. I can't reveal too much but whatever happens to Debbie, it's big enough to make her leave behind her business and family.