‘If you say there is ignorance about this, you are shouted down. “Rubbish!” they say. Of course, young women are absolutely fed up with being told about their fertility. But I would say that I was ignorant. Certainly, I should have started trying within a year of my second child being born if I wanted to have another one, and I didn’t. I waited two years.’
It sounds old-fashioned, but she insists this is a feminist issue. ‘Billions of pounds are being made with things like egg freezing and IVF. There is an entire industry that wants you to believe that it has solved the problem of ageing and fertility. It hasn’t, it’s just not true.’
Allsopp was 37, nearly 38, when Oscar was born. ‘Then it never happened again. Just never happened…’ she trails off. Would she like to have had more? ‘God, I’d have had 10!’ she shrieks.
Suddenly, it occurs to me that being so maternal is a huge part of her success. You see it in the way she clucks fondly at all her chicks in the TV shows. You glimpse it when she lights up when talking about the scandalously poor houses being thrown up in this country and the need to create high-quality flexible housing for younger and older generations.
‘Every Tesco should be underground and above it should be two storeys of two- and three-bedroom flats for families. The car park will be turned into a communal playing area with a bowling green.’ She would mother everyone, and upcycle all our lives, if she could.
Would she consider going into politics? ‘At the moment?’ She pulls a disgusted face. ‘I could never be partisan. I’m not a tribal person. Toeing the line would be beyond me. I just couldn’t. I was opposed to closing schools [during the pandemic] – I couldn’t shut up about that.’
She softens her stance a little when she mentions the late Sir David Amess. ‘He was a brilliant constituency MP. There’s a lot of honour in being that kind of MP. Maybe, at some stage in my life, that might be something I would consider… You know, to do good.’
‘Mum?’ A doe-eyed boy pops his head around the sitting-room door and Allsopp beams. ‘Oscy, come and say hello to Allison. We’re supposed to be talking about Christmas, but we’re not.’
Oh, God, Christmas! I forgot. As the presenter of Handmade Christmas – which sees Allsopp making everything from table decorations to homespun gifts – does she go to town herself over the festive season? ‘There’s a hell of a lot of anxiety around Christmas,’ she says, ‘I think women can be quite bad about that and we need to tone it down. I hope nothing in our show causes anxiety.’
She says Anderson would maintain ‘that I’m the one that gets in a tizz and the children wouldn’t care if I was more low-key, and I think probably there’s something in that’.
What’s her top Christmas tip? ‘Ah, well, in advance, send out an email to everyone who’s coming saying, “Nobody loves a Christmas martyr. So, tell me what you like to do, so that can be your contribution.”
If you are a brilliant wrapper, come half a day early and we’ll instal you in the study and you can get stuck in. If you want to bring a Christmas cake, fantastic. If you want home-made brandy butter and cranberry sauce, then make them, otherwise it’s coming out of a jar.