GOOD Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway is often compared to Bridget Jones, thanks to her calamitous moments. The most famous of these happened last year, when her crotch - sporting nude-coloured support pants - was accidentally flashed to the nation as her co-presenter, Ben Shephard, scooped her up and pretended to dunk her in a pool of muddy water.

"I've made such a fool of myself so many times on TV. When you've flashed your crotch in front of the nation, it's hard to get nervous about anything ever again! It was my worst nightmare," she laments.

"My feeling was one of total horror. I mean, Ben picked me up without any warning. I was panicking about my phone because I thought he was going to throw me in. It was awful, but I am still speaking to Ben!"

Relaying the story with wide-eyed mock horror, laughter never far away, it's clear Garraway has been around long enough not to take life too seriously. She may have been horrified that her nether regions were exposed for a nanosecond on national TV, but she can laugh at herself with the best of them. She's now tackling middle age - she'll be 50 this year - with The Joy Of Big Knickers, an upbeat, positive and humorous book which looks at middle age for the modern woman.

It's partly anecdotal - we learn her thoughts on cosmetic surgery, embarking on a sex challenge with her husband, changing her couch potato habits and eating more healthily - but there's plenty of research in there which addresses the problems and feelings of today's women as they reach this phase of life. She admits she had her own mid-life crisis while writing the book, when she walked into the office at Smooth Radio, where she presents a daily show, on her 49th birthday and they'd decked it out for her 50th.

"It made me think, 'But I am going to be 50 and it feels like a very big number, where you should have achieved things or be content with things'. I thought, 'I'm still overstretched, overworked, feeling like I'm not being as good a mum as I should be or as good at work as I should be'. I needed to take stock.

"I needed to look at exercise, eating, and the great thing about my job is that you not only have super-glamorous famous people who seem to have got it all sorted, to take advice from, but also as a journalist, I know how to find answers from experts."

She's worked on breakfast TV for nearly 20 years, interviewing everyone from heavyweight politicians to film stars including Julia Roberts and Tom Cruise.

And there have been times when Garraway has wanted to enhance her own looks, although, so far, she has resisted Botox and going under the knife.

"I pretty much wanted a facelift quite obsessively for ages. But everyone said it wouldn't make any difference at all.

"My husband thought I was bonkers. He said, 'Don't do that!' He thinks it's ridiculous. He wouldn't want me to do it.

"The make-up artist at Good Morning Britain said, 'You do have to think about everything else', because we see all the good work and we see all the bad work in this chair. We see all the weird nips and tucks where people have gone too far. You need to look at all the other things first [exercise, diet etc] because they create the youthful energy that we're all after, rather than being wrinkle-free.

"I'm not saying I'd never have a facelift long-term," she continues. "Never say never."

Garraway's been married for 11 years to her second husband, former Labour adviser Derek Draper, who she met through a mutual friend at GMTV.

"We went for drinks in London and she invited him along, telling him there was this girl at GMTV she really wanted him to meet. He thought it was Andrea McLean. He'd Googled the wrong person. I think he was a bit disappointed when I turned up because Andrea's gorgeous!

"We got on straight away. I thought he was, and still is, very interesting."

Married in their late-30s, they have a daughter, Darcey, ten, and seven-year-old son, Billy.

"I would have loved to have had more children. I'd have probably ended up one of those people who appear in the newspaper with 25 kids. But you make decisions at the time. You can't go back and rerun. Do I wish I'd had a child with a person I dated in the sixth form? No."

While researching the book, she learnt about how sex can be good for you both physically and mentally. When her friend turned up one day looking radiant and confessed she'd embarked on a two-week challenge, in which a couple have sex once a day for 14 days, Garraway decided to give it a go.

"We tried the 14-day challenge. Derek was like, 'What, sex once every two weeks?' I said, 'No, once every day for two weeks'," she recalls, laughing.

"Derek very methodically carved out time for us with his red pen and our spreadsheet schedule," she says wryly.

But on day seven, calamity struck.

"I was lying in the bath with the scented candles on, getting ready for a romantic evening. He took the children to the park, slipped on some wet leaves, broke four bones in his foot and spent the evening in A&E - and that was it."

Her husband, she notes, is now back on his feet, albeit with a walking stick. They're planning a romantic weekend in Rome - but not with the purpose of resuming the 14-day challenge.

"He's probably a bit scared - I'm not sure he could get insured for it now."

In the book, she writes: "Sex isn't the be-all and end-all, as we mid-lifers know so well. Companionship, trust, support in raising a family and caring for elderly relatives can make us adore our partners much more than any special antics in the bedroom."

As for work, she writes warmly about her GMB pals, and although TV has a reputation for being bitchy and cut-throat behind the scenes, it's not something Garraway has encountered.

"You never get stories about Good Morning Britain or any of our team fighting with each other. But I remember on GMTV, between myself, Penny Smith and Fiona Phillips, it was always 'Sofa wars', which wasn't true.

"Piers has livened things up, but not in an internal way. It's just Piers being Piers. I know him really well and he's actually a very kind and loyal person. He's definitely brought an energy to GMB which is different," she says.

For now, she's planning a huge party for her 50th birthday and is positive about the future.

"On my lovely journey, I've sometimes felt it could be downhill from here, but that isn't always a bad thing. It's better than an uphill struggle. Take the time to take stock and work out what your priorities are, what things are holding you back, make peace with decisions you've made in the past, realise the way you are is because of choices you made, and take responsibility for and control of your life," Garraway muses.

"It's a time of explosive change, and it's incredibly liberating."

n The Joy Of Big Knickers by Kate Garraway (Blink, £14.99)