BABY Ffion wears fushia polish on her toenails, Maddison wears mint green and Paige wears purple.

It’s not a fashion statement but a method their parents from Pontypool have devised to tell the identical triplets apart.

On August 2 last year, three girls, Ffion, Maddison and Paige, weighing 3lb 8oz, 3lb 5oz and 3lb 4oz respectively, were delivered via emergency caesarean section two months early.

They were conceived naturally from one egg – against the odds as The Multiple Births Foundation said the chance of identical triplets being born was around 160,000 to one.

On year on, as the trio celebrated their first birthday yesterday, Karen Gilbert, 33 and husband Ian, 35, described a frantic but fun filled year going through more than 100 nappies and 84 bottles of formula milk a week.

Full-time mum Mrs Gilbert said the household had to stick to a strict routine, with the triplets along with four-year-old Faye in bed by 7pm every night.

“Going out is a military operation: Operation Triplets”, she added. “We can’t just think, ‘Oh, shall we go out?’ We need at least 24 hours notice. It’s like packing to go on holiday every time we leave the house.”

The family had to order specialist equipment rather than being able to rely on Faye’s outgrown baby gear.

“We have a triple pushchair with three in a row and another with a double chair then one on top – but that one’s a bit bulky. We had to get a bigger car, a seven seater Ford Galaxy.

“Morrisons even ordered a triple trolley so I can go shopping on my own with them if I need to.”

Since the triplets came home they have been growing quickly, Mrs Gilbert said.

“The girls have got teeth and they’re trying to talk, saying dada and mama.

“I think they developed their personalities very early on. Maddison is sensitive, Paige is the joker of the group and Ffion is just laid back. You can see, if they’re all together, who’s who by the way they crawl.”

Having triplets is expensive but the girls are already contributing to the household finances, appearing on Casualty and on Stella as the title character's granddaughter Sophie.

As they look identical the triplets can play the same baby on screen, so a single baby doesn’t get tired while shooting.

They  celebratedtheir first birthday with a garden party in Cardiff.