She carved a career out of living life in the spotlight - and Sam Faiers has no problem doing the same now she's a mum. As her new book My Baby & Me is published, she talks to Hannah Stephenson about moving to LA, wanting a big family and keeping some pockets of life private

She began her career as a model and TV personality, later designing clothes, running her own boutique and launching a range of beauty products, including an award-winning scent.

But ex-Towie star Sam Faiers is now cashing in on being a mum. Posting pictures regularly on Instagram of herself and one-year-old son Paul, first appearing with her newborn in The Baby Diaries and then The Mummy Diaries on ITVBe, and now furthering her mothering career with a book, My Baby & Me, charting her pregnancy and first year of motherhood.

"My first year as a mum has been amazing," the Essex-born 26-year-old enthuses. "You can't describe the love you have, and all your priorities change.

"My life has totally changed since having the baby and so has work, because pretty much everything I do now is mum-related."

While some celebrity parents go to great lengths to keep their children out of the spotlight, Faiers doesn't share that mentality.

"Every mum has some kind of platform or social media outlet where they share their adorable pictures and I wanted to be the same. I didn't want to hide or keep him covered up. Obviously, when you go home you have your private family time, but in terms of posting pictures of my family and my baby, and with the TV show, it's less stressful to allow pictures to be shared, rather than hiding.

"I like sharing my pictures and my life with people."

The ex-Celebrity Big Brother contestant admits she has a thick skin when it comes to hurtful things being written about her.

"But the fact is that some people will look at those headlines and believe them, or at least believe there might be some truth in them and that I've used drastic diets or needles to help get my pre-baby body back. It annoys me because it isn't true," she writes.

She didn't foresee the backlash she would get for uploading a photo of herself breastfeeding.

"Thousands of people are on my side, but the odd two or three may say something negative. I just ignore it now. My baby's happy and I know I'm a great mum and I have so much positive support."

She enjoyed a whirlwind romance with her property developer boyfriend Paul Knightley, who she met on a night out in a restaurant with her pal, fellow Towie star Ferne McCann. She instantly knew he was the one.

"It just felt right. I'd never had that feeling before when you first meet someone. We hit it off the minute we met, and then over that whole weekend, we were inseparable. We have so much respect for each other and we do everything together."

Within four months of meeting him, she was pregnant, but she wasn't worried.

"Paul's a very hands-on dad, which is great. He's such a natural. He's really playful. If I'm working, he'll always make time for the baby. Their personalities are so similar - even at this age, I can tell!

"Having a baby has made our relationship even better," she adds. "We are both such family orientated people and with Paul, we are always talking about our future. Our next big step is to move house and we want more children. We are both really ambitious.

"We talk about more kids all the time. We've both said we would like five."

The baby is still sharing their bed, but Faiers is coy about whether that has affected their romantic life.

"We had to get a new bed. We bought an emperor-sized bed so there's enough room for about five of us! We love the baby in the bed with us. I know that's a controversial subject but it works for us. We don't mind. But maybe with the next baby it will be different."

Marriage is definitely on the cards, she says.

"To be honest, we would love to be married before we have another baby. It's Paul's call, not mine, but we always talk about marriage. Maybe Paul's just waiting for the right moment. I try not to talk about it too much as it feels like I'm spoiling it."

She was previously engaged to Towie's Joey Essex, painting a pretty bleak picture of their on-off relationship in her autobiography Secrets And Lies, and was linked with the show's Mark Wright before that.

"Paul is really laid-back - we don't argue or scream and shout, that's just not what what we are like," she writes in her latest book. "Our personalities are similar in many ways and we complement each other. We are what each other was looking for in a partner. Paul is very old-school and old-fashioned, he's all about protecting his family, which is so refreshing as that quality is hard to find in a lot of blokes today.

"It is nice to have that pressure taken off me by someone who wants to look out for me for once."

Now she and Knightley are considering moving to Los Angeles - Faiers hopes her ITVBe show The Mummy Diaries will be recommissioned and filmed out there.

"It's definitely in our plan to go out there," she reveals. "We've put it on hold due to work commitments and a book tour, but we do want to go there. I love LA. We've been there a number of times. It's just a different lifestyle, and while we're young and the baby's not in school, we can travel a bit and enjoy our lives now, before we have to be settled in our family home and doing the school run.

"I haven't thought about television in America. It's not like I'm going out there to try to be the next reality TV star, but if an opportunity came up, I'd try whatever came my way.

"The relatives will miss us so much, but it's not like we're going to be going and never come back. I don't think any of them would come with us. People can come and stay, but they have their lives going on over here."

While some might believe her whole life is being played out under the spotlight of TV shows and social media posts, Faiers insists she has a great private life away from the cameras.

"We recently had a holiday in London - it was really private. There was no paparazzi, just the three of us enjoying family time. We'll always make time for each other away from everything."

  • My Baby & Me by Sam Faiers is published by Blink, priced £14.99. Available now