Stepping out of the car as she arrives at our Woman’s Day photo shoot, surrounded by an incredible amount of baby paraphernalia, a fiancé and an excited dog – not to mention the actual newborn child– Ali Pugh looks in no way like a woman who has just given birth.
She looks fantastic – “Oh, thanks, I don’t feel it!” she laughs – but there’s still a frantic and slightly overwhelmed vibe to the TVNZ Breakfast presenter and first-time mum.
“Right,” she murmurs to herself. “Do I have the baby? Yes. Dog? Wait, where is he? Oh, there he is. Fiancé? Check. OK, we’re good to go!” she nods, turning around and grinning to her partner Jo, who’s carrying their precious bundle inside. “My mind’s in so many places and I only have one kid! I’ve forgotten the dog so many times, poor thing.”
It’s an exciting, scary and completely new world for Ali, 29, and Jo, 40, who have been parents for a mere nine weeks. But as she introduces her gorgeous daughter Theadora Lake Barus, a besotted Ali says she can’t remember how things used to be.
Proudly looking down at Thea, who has just started smiling – “It’s her newest party trick!” – Ali confesses, “We couldn’t imagine life without her now.
“We’re those typical first-time parents – we think everything she does is amazing. We’re absolutely smitten. She’s changed everything.”
Gurgling happily as Ali gently wraps a blanket around her, Thea is an alert and content wee thing, keen to check out the chaos that’s going on around her as photographers and make-up artists bustle through the house.
“She’s such a good little baby,” tells Ali. “Well, she’s doing all the normal things babies do, I think! She changes every day – we can’t believe how much. We’ll wake up in the morning and you can see the differences in her face. It’s crazy. People keep telling us to cherish the moment because it goes so quickly. I get what they mean now.”
Tenderly passing Thea to the ever-present but publicity-shy Jo, who’s been standing in the corner of the room, gently strumming his guitar to settle his baby, Ali relaxes on the couch and shakes her head, saying, “It’s all a bit surreal!”
“We’re just so enamoured,” says Ali, who is due back at work in May. “My priorities are completely different now – everything is about her. “I love her so incredibly much. She’s perfect.”
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