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Formula One heiress Tamara Ecclestone on family life and money matters

We caught up with the heiress and businesswoman to find out if her life is really as glam as the media portray…

Tamara, your home is in the heart of London – and Harry and Meghan are your neighbours! What’s so great about living there?
‘I love being near the park, as I have a lot of dogs that need walking. It’s also right near Fifi’s school, and all of her friends. It’s just the perfect house in the perfect location.’

What does Fifi like to do when she’s at home?
‘She’s a typical four year old, which means she loves playing hide and seek and dressing up. She puts on shows for us to watch and does gymnastics, too. She also loves to cook, so I’ll bake with her. She’s really into making scrambled eggs at the moment – but that’s the extent of it!’

It’s time to get Fifi ready for school. Do you rock up at the school gate looking unbelievably glamorous?
‘I literally brush my teeth and my hair and that’s it – it takes me about five minutes to get ready! I make Fifi breakfast every morning, and I used to make her packed lunches, but now she’s at school she has school dinners. It’s good for her, as she’s learning to eat different things and not be fussy with food.’

You obviously want Fifi to be as grounded as can be, which must be hard considering your wealth. Do you still appreciate the value of money when you can buy whatever you want?
‘Definitely. My dad is the ultimate at value for money and not getting ripped off, and I’ve grown up with that. My mum and my dad didn’t come from a wealthy family – they both had to work for everything themselves. I remember when I was a teenager I really wanted a bomber jacket – and I begged my dad to take me to buy it. When we got there he started haggling with the man in the shop over the price – I was mortified! He was basically bartering like we were in a Moroccan market! When I moaned about it later he said ‘you should never pay what people tell you the asking price is’. It’s definitely not a case of ‘yes, just write the cheque.’ Jay is like that, too – he’s always checking what I pay for things and making sure I’m not getting ripped off and am being smart about money.’

So how do you manage your money on a day-to-day basis?
‘I’m quite lucky that I have a trust that basically manages my money for me. It’s not all accessible to me, and I have to ask for things, which then has to be approved.’

Do you think you’ll always be known as the heiress to her dad’s fortune?
‘I’m never going to get away from that, so I’ve learnt to embrace it. I’m lucky that my dad has provided me with such a nice life, but at the same time people need to understand that I’ve never spent my life just shopping and socialising. I’m a mum and that’s my priority, and a businesswoman after that. I’m not saying I want to forget my dad and the F1 heritage, but there’s more to me – and I like to think I have proved that to people.’

Was life growing up ever ‘normal’ in your eyes?
‘Sure – family mealtimes and the importance of getting a good education came first! When we were in school my mum always stayed with us, as we never had nannies growing up. In the holidays we were lucky enough to travel, though. My mum always wanted to take us to different places like India and Egypt, to show us there was more to the world than the bubble we lived in.’

What is your relationship like with your mum and dad now?
‘My dad lives really near and I see him a lot. I also catch up with mum a lot, too. Since becoming a mum I’m even more appreciative of everything that my parents did for me, and how much you sacrifice as a mum. I now know how selfless my mum was, and I’m so happy I have a great relationship with them both.’

Let’s talk about your relationship with your husband, Jay. Do you think when you met he felt more comfortable because he had his own financial security?
‘I think it could have been intimidating, but then again Jay’s not easily intimidated! Being able to buy me nice gifts and have his own independence is definitely something that was important – then and now.’

Your wedding day back in 2013 was a truly lavish affair. Looking back is there anything you would change?
‘There are people I wouldn’t invite – and there are now people in my life that I would have wished there. I guess that’s normal. Life changes and sometimes you don’t stay in contact with some people, and you make new friends along the way.’

Fifi was a honeymoon baby. Was Jay happy you fell pregnant so soon?
‘He was delighted! It’s what we both wanted and it was meant to be – it happened literally as soon as we started trying! We found out the sex as soon as we could, too – and I was so sure I was having a boy! When we found out it was a girl we were both really happy.’

And is it true you’re still not drinking, even though you’ve nearly finished breastfeeding?
‘I haven’t drunk since my wedding and I feel a lot better for it. I can’t imagine having a hangover and looking after Fifi. Obviously never say never, but for now it’s just not something I see really happening.’

Has breastfeeding affected your body shape?
‘I don’t know – I feel like body shape isn’t something I even think about anymore. It’s not on my radar and that’s a great state of mind to be in. So many people are forever wanting to be a couple of pounds lighter, or to just drop one dress size. I would never want Fifi to hear me say the word ‘diet’, or believe she’s got to go to the gym to lose weight. It’s not a positive example to set.’

Tamara’s baby care brand Fifi and Friends can be found at www.fifiandfriends.co.uk

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