Fern Britton said she is ‘enjoying a disgraceful middle age’ as she showed off a new tattoo.

The 53-year-old presenter, who became a familiar face on television during her stint on Ready Steady Cook and This Morning, described herself as ‘a work in progress’.

She told Woman And Home magazine she owed a lot to her second husband, chef Phil Vickery, whom she met on the cookery show.

Fern said: “I’m enjoying a disgraceful middle age, though without Phil I would not be as I am today. He’s a chef; he’s fiery when he wants to be and in control too – he has that command.

“And yet he has more emotional intelligence than any other straight man I’ve met. He’s my best friend.

“We found each other at a time when we were both finding life a bit difficult, and we clung to each other and we’ve made each other grow.”

The star revealed she had a butterfly tattooed on her stomach at Christmas after her 10-year-old daughter Winnie had given her a stick-on one.

She said: “Phil agreed that it looked good, so in my head that was a green light. I had to ring him from the tattooing table because I was going to be late collecting Winnie from school. The conversation went ‘Where are you?’ ‘About half an hour away’ ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Having a tattoo’ ‘WHAT?!’

“He’s still a bit iffy about it, but the children think it’s cool and I can tell them that yes, it does hurt.”