Chrissie Swan has a new habit. It's walking – kilometre after kilometre, day after day. It takes her a moment to answer her phone for the TV WEEK interview.
"I'm so sorry," she says. "I was just out on a walk and I completely lost track of time."
The radio and TV host started going on daily walks at the beginning of August to raise money for The Fred Hollows Foundation. By the end of the month, she'd walked more than 300km. She's amazed by the distance she covered.
"I still can't believe I did it. You know they say if you do something for 21 days it becomes a habit? Because I did it for a month I'm still doing it. It's bizarre. I'm really enjoying it."
Chrissie is in a good place right now, despite living through another Melbourne lockdown. As well as her newfound love of walking, she's buzzing from the joy of being part of Celebrity MasterChef.
The show wrapped filming months ago, but the cast – including actors Rebecca Gibney and Matt Le Nevez, swimmer Ian Thorpe and comedian Dilruk Jayasinha – bonded instantly and have stayed close.
"We saw each other every weekend socially," Chrissie says. "We spoke on our WhatsApp group a hundred times a day and we still are."
The 47-year-old mum-of-three formed a particularly tight bond with 19-year-old British TV presenter Tilly Ramsay.
"She is wise beyond her years and I am a bit of a fool, so we met each other halfway," she explains with a laugh.
Chrissie has publicly admitted that she probably has "a crush" on Tilly's dad, legendary chef Gordon Ramsay. So what did Tilly say when Chrissie told her that?
"She told me to shut up! She's like, 'Gross!'"
Despite having finished in second place on Big Brother in 2003 and third place on I'm A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! in 2015, Chrissie says she's "not a competitive person". She didn't go on MasterChef with the aim of dazzling the judges.
"I wouldn't have cared if I'd cooked up a piece of toast and given it to them. I was just so excited to be there."
Still, there's no denying that Chrissie knows how to cook, serving up "the standards – lasagne, roast chook, baked potatoes, potato bake, spag bol" to partner Chris Saville and children Leo, 12, Kit, 10, and Peggy, eight.
"I've been cooking every day – and in lockdown, three, four, five times a day," she says. "Lots of it, and I know it will be eaten." For Chrissie, who hosts Melbourne's Nova 100 breakfast radio show with Sam Pang and Jonathan Brown, going on MasterChef meant she would be spending a lot more time away from her children than usual. So she felt she needed to get their approval before she did it.
"I said to them, 'What do you think? I'll need your support and you'll have to be well behaved for Dad and all that sort of stuff.'
"I cut a deal with them, because they're fans of the show. And I haven't done television for a long time so they didn't have any memories of me really being on television, so they were excited about seeing Mum on TV as well."
But Chrissie didn't go on MasterChef for her kids' sake. She did it because it was something she really wanted to do.
This year, the busy mum is finally starting to – just occasionally – put herself first. She's making her own wellbeing a priority. Back in March, she made the decision to do something about her lack of sleep, which involved getting "everyone" on board.
"I just was exhausted, exhausted," she reveals. "My youngest turned eight and I thought, 'Now's probably a good time to start getting some sleep.'
"I couldn't have done it one day earlier. When you're a mother, your kids need you, and they need you all through the night and late at night, early in the morning. There's no way around that."
Chrissie now has more energy – "probably more energy than I had when I was getting four hours of sleep a night, yeah".
As for this latest lockdown, she says it feels like "second nature" now, after the long one Victorians went through last year.
"That was hard," she admits. "The kids struggled with home schooling, getting their head around it. But this one we're in now, we've hit a groove and the kids are sorting out their home schooling. Work has been fantastic – that routine, somewhere to go. I've been fortunate because I've still been able to work."
Chrissie has built an impressive media career – including a TV WEEK Gold Logie nomination for The Circle – from her first reality TV appearance 18 years ago.
From the moment she entered the Big Brother house, Australians loved her for her sense of humour, her good heart and her fearlessness in standing up for herself.
"I thought I would be one of the first ones out, and then I ended up being there for three months," she remembers. "It was just really unexpected."
WATCH BELOW: Chrissie Swan opens up about motherhood in the I'm A Celeb jungle. Post continues after video...
As for what's next after MasterChef, Chrissie would love to do more TV but doesn't know whether it's "physically possible" while doing breakfast radio.
"I truly believe that what is meant for me won't pass me by. That's been my mantra."
For now, Chrissie's happy with her radio show, which is "a pure joy", and her kids, who are "gorgeous – just clever and funny and good company".
"I mean, you've only got today, that's it, and today is a good day."