Thursday, 9 April 2020

Lockdown - I've hit a wall today.

I’m exhausted. So exhausted I’m not even sure I can put all my thoughts into words. But my head feels so full that it seems imperative at least to try.

I’m angry. Angry that they don’t have enough fucking ventilators. Or PPE. Angry that I can’t get any masks online unless we want to pay 10 x the usual cost. Angry that Doctors will, at some point, have to choose who lives and dies, when actually, we could probably have sorted it out so that didn’t need to be the case. Angry MP's have been offered the option to claim an extra £10K in expenses for working from home, when everyone else is absolutely fucked. Angry that I am even angry and terrified about all that on top of everything else.

I’m frustrated. Frustrated that we had massive plans this year - to get some new skills, to move out of London, to maybe start a new life of sorts. And now all that is on hold, and I have no idea for how long. Or if we can financially sustain this current life. Which we almost certainly can’t.

I’m frustrated that my Mother keeps calling me up with new ideas of how we can get some food shopping, despite me explaining to her that I’ve already tried everywhere. “I’ve found this company called Riverford darling, they do vegetable boxes. I’ve been calling them this morning but no one’s picking up”. “Why do you think that is Mother?”. “I have no idea darling”. Because they’re not taking any fucking new customers. Like everywhere else. Like I already told you. Sweet mother of god. Every day there’s a new idea. Much like when she explained she was going to pop to her local Waitrose and explain she’s not on a computer and could she write them a list and they deliver it each week..... 

I’m scared. Scared we might not see them again in person. Because we all know that if push comes to shove, the over 70’s won’t be saved. I’m scared when I go to the shops. Not immediately. I’m usually pretty calm on the way there. But once you’ve queued up, shopped, paid, got on the bus back, the panic levels are rising. And you wonder whether you should just put the ridiculously priced fruit and veg deliveries that have cropped up around London, on your credit card, and order Pampers online even though they’re 3 times the cost of Lidl nappies and not as good, rather than actually going into shops. Because it feels like you’re dicing with death. Especially when some people literally have the whole breadth of the pavement but walk right past next to you.

And then I get worried. Is my mental health ok? Is this level of panic normal? Am I slowly but surely losing my mind. Because this shit is hard as fuck. It’s hard enough trying to regulate your own self. Your own emotions and anxieties. Then you have your partner and you’re sometimes regulating them and they’re sometimes regulating you. And then there’s the kids. And we try to parent gently. We try to regulate our emotions so as not to shout (we don’t always succeed). But now... now, regulating my emotions to keep the kids steady, is so much harder. Because I’m managing all the usual day to day stuff, plus all the big stuff.

And they’re feeling it too. Of course they are. Hector keeps asking lots of questions about death. He's had a couple of accidents. Some nightmares. Arno has just started running to the bathroom, climbing on the step and turning the tap on and then laughing manically, arms raised in triumphant celebration shouting “Did it! Did it” over and over. But I can also see he’s missing one on one time with me, because he used to get loads of it whilst Hector was at school, and now he gets very little.

I’m torn. Torn about our future. I’ve spent the last year or so being miserable at the lack of job. Miserable I don’t get to do what I want to. What I feel I’m meant to. So I signed up for a TEFL course, and to get accredited to teach yoga to kids, and to do a placement at a Kindergarten to see if I like it. So that I had some qualifications. Some stuff I could maybe do whilst still holding on to the performing dream. Or to just do and set aside that dream. And the last couple of weeks have left me flipping from side to side - life’s too short, don’t give up on the dream - life’s too short to keep trying to do something and not succeeding often enough that it makes me unhappy. Torn about whether we do jack it all in and move to Italy (yes I know, we picked the epicentre 🤣), or keep a hand in and go to Brighton. All I do know, is the only times I’ve felt truly calm, or sane, in the past few weeks, are when I’ve been singing or doing yoga.

I’m horrified at how hard it is being together all the time. It is exhausting! The kids wake at 6am ish and go to sleep by 9pm. There is no break. No break at all. We weren’t made for this surely. My friend said we weren’t made to live with the opposite sex. Well, not all the time, anyhow. She’s probably right. There’s only so many times he can put the duvet the wrong way round in the duvet cover. Or time the shaving of his beard for just after I’ve cleaned the bathroom. Or not wash up the outside of things. Or the bottom of things. Or not put his glasses in a sodding case so he doesn’t have to wear a pair missing an arm. Because he can’t find his spare pair either. Or wear 5 jumpers at a time (I shit you not), even though it’s approaching summer temperatures.

I’m frequently taken aback. By the blossom tree outside our window. By the birds. By the smell jasmine on our daily walk. By the blue skies. By the extra cuddles or the little hand taking mine to climb a wall. Because life is at once mental and without break, and yet infinitely slower. Sometimes monotonous. Breakingly so. There’s an arduousness to this routine that can be soul destroying. But there’s also freedom. Moments. Chunks of time. And way too much social media. And CBeebies. Thank Christ for them.

I haven’t done any tiktok. Or written a play. Or recorded myself singing a song. Or practised my self-taping. Or learnt a language. Because I am just about surviving. Just about keeping 2 kids and a husband fed and watered and entertained. Barely squeezing in 5 minutes of meditation or stretches or remembering to take my vitamins. Surviving. And I am grateful for that. Because some aren’t. 3 friends have lost their Fathers this week to it. My Dad’s friend of 40+yrs passed away yesterday. We’re all going to be touched by it, at the very least. So I’m focusing on survival. And nabbing delivery slots. And sourcing a crate of wine. And chalk for the kids.

Stay safe one and all x

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Why Mums might not go the distance as actors...

I interviewed for an usher position at a theatre today. It pays £10 an hour.

It’s a lovely job. Nice people. I get to see some theatre for free. I can walk there in half an hour. I love the building, the ethos, I’d like an actual acting job there. It’s a job I can do without paying for childcare. Which is just as well, as childcare costs £12 an hour.

I’ve had many day jobs in my time. Some temporary, some part-time, some full-time and permanent. I was good at them. I worked hard at them. The last full-time EA job paid me £40k a year. I have a brain and skills and a good work ethic [I think! You’d have to ask some former bosses to be sure]. But, I want to act. And any day job, no matter how much I’ve enjoyed it or felt a sense of satisfaction from it, doesn’t engage my heart or my soul. Doesn’t make me feel alive. Isn’t where I’m meant to be.

And so. I guess if you’re in work fairly regularly as an actor, you can get by. Or if you partner has a steady, well-paid job, then you can get by. But if you’re both creatives, both juggling the need to pay the bills with the need to keep your talent and your soul alive, and your light shining (and that’s a biggie), and you’re not getting that much work, and you have 2 kids, what do you do? Does one of you take the hit for a few years and then you swap? I’m not sure the acting industry works like that....

So my options, as they seem to me currently (and bear with me but I think the actual practicalities/options are worth stating), in lieu of a well-paid acting job appearing forthwith, are:
  1. Work from home doing PA / typing stuff. Which is theoretically possible, but baby has a max 2hr nap a day, not guaranteed. Evenings are busy and in a 2 bed flat, there isn’t really a place I can hide from the kids to try and do some typing without them coming to assist with the “button pressing”.
  2. Sign up for temp work as a PA etc. But the joy of temp jobs is that they are mostly short notice, which I can’t do with school drop offs/pick ups and a 13 month old. Without paying for childcare. And I'm genuinely not sure I have any more space in my brain to do this sort of work currently!
  3. Get a job I can do out of office hours with minimal impact on family life, which may not pay as highly as options 1 and 2. See above usher job.
  4. Jack it in and find an alternative career, one that doesn’t require paid study or training, because no grants/loans are available if you’ve already got one degree, and CHILDCARE, and I have enough organising to do on a day to day basis with a husband and 2 kids, without going to work to organise some more people, no matter how well paid.

So those are the logistical, financial issues at play. And I haven’t even touched on managing on a touring wage when you need to find digs suitable for yourself and a baby (and childcare, that old chestnut), and indeed husband and older kid(s), at a weekend, or the travel. Or even just managing the logistics and finances of arranging or cancelling childcare for little ones at short notice when the call sheet for any given day in rehearsal / tech / production week, gets sent out late into the evening the night before... 

Let’s move to the emotional and mental issues for a mum who is also an actor.

Parenting, it seems to me, for all its many joys and hilarity, is also a daily exercise in how you deal with failure. And guilt. Which are by no means the lion’s share of the day, but are a very present and daily occurrence. Managed to keep calm for 90% of the day despite repeating every request at least 3 times, but focused on the 10% where I raised my voice? Managed to get them out of the house, clean and dressed and on time, only to look in the mirror and realise I have some crumpet squashed into my boob and a sliver of ham in my unwashed hair, as I navigate the hedge-fund mums in their floaty dresses and coiffed tresses who have their nanny in tow at the school gates? Remembered to write half the thank you’s for their Birthdays from 2 months ago, but haven’t posted them or written the other half? Managed not to crack open the wine before 5, but have moved on to 3 coffees a day to keep my eyes open? Tick.

It’s a tough gig. Rewarding. Joyful. Enlightening. Hilarious. Infuriating. Exhausting. And then there’s the acting. Which, as we know, is a world of excitement and anticipation and rejection and failure and excitement and anticipation and rejection.... that ever spinning wheel of emotions. Much like buying a lottery ticket. With only moderately better odds.

Life has felt tough of late. And in part that is due to the kids ages - Hector has just started school and Arno is crawling like a madman. And having no family nearby. It’s the toughest point. I know that. Deep down, I know. But I have genuinely wondered lately how people survive it. Not just in terms of their own mental and emotional health. But how they weather the storm of parenting and trying to carve out a career which feels so hard. And out of reach.

The hardest thing, is knowing that you are good at what you do, not that I’m Meryl Streep, but I have a whole fucking world of parts I know I can do, and wondering if I’ll ever actually get to do them. Because work begets work. And if we live in a society where there isn’t enough support for parents (and for mums especially), where family aren’t as involved, where childcare is exorbitant, and the economy is about to go fully tits up, then you perhaps find yourself in a position where you have to do some other work. To survive. And then you’re not free for the acting work.

And the other hardest thing, is knowing that you can stand on one leg with one baby on a boob and a 4yr old “helping” you cook, whilst noting down what shopping you need and singing along to your repertoire playlist so you can fit in practicing your songs, whilst texting the PTA, and remember *some birthdays and learn a scene in one evening and work out some way to film it and send it at the crack of dawn without having a breakdown, and saying NO, I don’t already have loads of West End runs on my CV but I fucking should, and YES I can - just look at HOW MUCH I am doing, all at the same fucking time, so give me an audition and give me a fucking job for the love of God. Actually. Just look at how much I am doing. How much Mums are doing. Which is not to take away from Dads. But Mums. Mums are on fire and putting out fires at once.

I don’t have any answers. I can’t currently work out how anyone with more than one child, gets to bed before midnight. I’d be curious to know how people do that. How couples manage to have sex without paying a childminder to take the kids out so they can actually find the time and not be keeping an ear out for a plaintive cry. I haven't even managed to start reading the books on Motherhood that I want to read as research to write a play on Motherhood.What jobs parents do in between acting or other creative jobs. How you cope. How you pay your bills. How you sleep. How you keep your light shining. Tell me. I’m all ears.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Going to the Theatre with Babies and Toddlers!

Do you want to take your baby and/or toddler to the Theatre, but the whole idea brings you out in a cold sweat? Let me allay some fears and confirm some probables....

Yes, the toddler will probably want a wee 10 minutes into the show when you’ve just got the baby to sleep but haven’t managed to shove your boob back in your bra underneath the baby carrier. 

Yes, your baby probably will save his daily/weekly poo for when he’s in the carrier, on you, mid show. 

Yes, your toddler may well shout out at an inappropriate time or decide that the show would be FAR better if he was on the stage / in the aisle blocking all fire exits / sitting on your head. 

And yes, in all likelihood you are going to bump into a parent you know, who may well look perfectly coiffed and poised, whilst you look like absolute shit because you haven’t slept, or brushed your hair, and your nursing bra makes your entire body look awful because your tits are about a foot below where they should be. 


It will be brilliant. There will be many other parents battling the same struggles. And every time you go, it gets easier. 

When I took our eldest to the Theatre (pre our youngest arriving), I remember thinking how proud I felt that I’d made it out of the house and managed to feed him and get him to sleep, and negotiated the buggy park (it’s a cut throat business, dropping off and picking up the pram). As he got older, and started trying to climb over seats and not sleep, it was sometimes pretty tough. Mostly because I felt we would be disturbing the other punters.... 

But look around. All the children are doing the same. At any one time, a child will be kicking another as they shift about in their seat, they’ll be joining in with the songs or singing their own entirely, repeatedly asking for snacks, and asking really loudly if it’s nearly finished when it’s actually only just begun. Or announcing the arrival of the Tiger, 3 entrances before he's actually due to appear, to the entire auditorium in his biggest voice (ah my lad 💗). 

I used to look at the Parent with more than one child in absolute fucking awe. Like that was an assault course that I couldn’t imagine ever completing. And now I have. Quite a few times actually. The baby sometimes sleeps or sometimes watches. The toddler asks questions and steadily gets more and more involved. It is joyous. Crazy, knackering, sometimes VERY frustrating. But joyous. 

So... what are your options?

  1. A Theatre that specialises in shows for Children, or offers lots of family theatre - like The Unicorn,  Little AngelPolka and The Rose and The Lyric (I'm aware my knowledge is utterly London centric and apologies for not having the time to research more (cos you know, kids!) - if you run a Chidren's Theatre regionally, pls pop me a message and I'll add a list at the bottom of this blog post for reference). Their programmes vary by age. And babes in arms are usually free. The facilities are fab, and the staff are too.                                                                                          
  2. You can take them to a kids show at a Theatre that isn’t specifically set up for children. Loads of the classics like The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom are on at Theatres throughout the UK in the holidays. Tickets are a bit pricier than the Children’s Theatres, and the facilities aren’t always massively set up for babies/small children, esp in the older West End Theatres. (eg lack of baby change - take a mat with you). The Imagine Children's Festival at The Royal Festival Hall is also brilliant - with free stuff as well as paid. And Producers take note - it doesn't take much to add some baby facilities - the RFH set up some trestle tables with 5/6 baby change mats and some heavy duty bins, behind some grey screens. Parents aren't too fussy you know - we'll change babies pretty much anywhere; they don’t have to be snazzy (or all in the Ladies toilets, cos Dads do this too, right? 🙄) !                                                                        
  3. Or... you can take babes in arms to an actual adult show. You know, the plays/musicals you used to watch before you became a parent. Some fringe theatres offer a parent/baby or relaxed performance - Theatre 503 does one of each for every show that has a full run. And recently, Emilia The Play has announced the first ever parent/baby matinee in the West End (and the tickets are v reasonable as they’ve allocated a free seat for the baby for every adult ticket booked!).


Take lots of snacks. And water if you are breastfeeding. Make sure when everyone else in your row has taken their seat, you've got everything to hand.  

If you’re seeing a kids show in a West End Theatre that has set up a buggy park - avoid taking the pram if you can manage with a carrier or toddlers can walk - they are totally secure but it can add 15mins at the end whilst you battle to find yours and they sometimes want you to fold them up. 

Allow loads of time and take them for a run around before if you can - Soho Square is good if you’re in town - anything so they aren’t climbing the walls having to sit/stand fairly still for an hour or more. 

Take a coin for binoculars if in traditional West End theatres (not because the views are bad, but because as soon as one child has a pair, they all want some). 

Go to the loo before it starts, safe in the knowledge they, or you, will need another wee mid way through, and take a travel change mat if you have one and are taking a bubba. 

Grab a booster seat on the way in - the ushers usually have them but I only cottoned on after about 3 Theatre visits. 

Go with a mate or your partner first time - it’ll make it less stressful and you can get the lie of the land and be well set up for a solo visit next time. 

Have a chat with the kids about not buying merchandise before going in - they often sell loads. So if you’ve headed it off with a suggestion that they can ask for stuff for Birthdays/Easter/Christmas, you’ll save a small fortune. Or you can sometimes get a picture with some of the cast in costume after, which is a good distraction. 

Don’t stress about getting up and returning or your baby crying. Everyone knows the gig. And we all know our babies. I’d take mine out if he was full on crying but not if he was a little disgruntled. 

Enjoy it! It isn’t always easy, but there is such joy in hearing our toddler talk for days about a show he’s seen. Or just the feeling that having managed a Theatre trip with 2 kids, that you could conquer the world. And there might be the odd time you move heaven and earth, or just your bank balance (cos, let’s face it, it’s a privilege and sometimes a sacrifice, to be able to take them), and they don’t enjoy it. They get bored. And you want to hit yourself over the head repeatedly in sheer frustration at the effort/output ratio. But that’s Theatre. Or indeed any live performance. And at least you’ll learn that they’re more interested in Dinosaurs than Witches. Or similar 😜 

I’m taking our baby Arno, to the Emilia Parent/Baby show on Wednesday 24 April at 2.30pm ... Please come if you can - there's a handful of seats left. Join us! 

The more successful these parent/baby matinees are commercially, the more they will happen. Producers have to take a hit on profits as they require a little planning and need to leave some seats empty. But it means that those Theatregoers keep going. They still feel there is a place for them. They will keep going even when the babies grow up. They’ll be grateful for an opportunity to see something that isn’t specifically aimed at children. And I firmly believe that those children will grow into Theatre lovers. If it’s a place they feel familiar with, comfortable in, they will come and spend their money in due course. I should also say that the kids shows are a delight. It takes a massive amount of work to create something that keeps children entertained and also engages the parents - we are heading back to The Unicorn to spend the last of our Christmas vouchers watching Polar Bears Go, Go, Go! again, it was that good. 

I firmly believe every single major producing Theatre, and all the West End, should have a parent / baby matinee. No matter what the show. Admittedly the actors have to be on board. It may alter their performance for that one show. It may be difficult. It may be brilliant. Babies might cry in the poignant pauses. But let’s please open it up. Stand-ups get used to performing to rooms of silence and shouting (I once did a gig where all the audience were foreign and none of us got a laugh. For the whole night. Which was an open mic, and thus lasted about 2.5hrs. It was soul destroying and hilarious in equal measure. But we survived). Indeed, stand-ups do perform to parents/babies - check out Screaming With Laughter. 

So it can be done. It just requires a shift of attitude. An acceptance that the usual pact between audience and performer might be skewed. If a Fringe Theatre like Theatre 503 can manage it for every show that has a 4 week run, then everyone can. Indeed, those with lots of funding or large charitable donations should absolutely feel an imperative to do so. And it's not only important for the general public, it's important for everyone in the Industry who have children, and want to keep in the loop. We lose talent along the way because we haven't adapted our practices - something that PIPA is already looking at. The very least we can do is make sure that that the Theatre is still accessible to those who work in it. 

If you are holding a Parent/Baby Show, or want to know more about them, pls join our Facebook Group, where you can share events. We'll aim to collate a list of venues which we can share on the group and I'll add it into this blog as well. 

My dream: that it’s standard for Arts Council applications to include budgets for relaxed and parent/baby shows. That Producers of large scale shows or tours, automatically budget in parent & baby matinees. And perhaps a subsidised crèche for the toddlers who aren’t yet at school (Mismanaged Theatre did this recently with Bea & Co providing the crèche). And that this happens for all shows, not just the female led ones. Let’s push for all of this - it’s all do-able xxx

Monday, 20 February 2017

A shadow of my former self???

When I listed myself on Guardian Soulmates in 2011, I stated categorically that I wanted a partner who preferred to stay in bed on a Sunday morning for some shenanigans, not one who wanted to go out for a jog, or whose profile picture was a shot of them skiing. I have nothing against skiers per se, it’s just that there only seemed to be two tribes of people on Soulmates in those days: artistes, and skiers. Also, I can’t see your face in a ski mask. Now, I haven’t started skiing. And I’ve barely begun jogging. But if you see me in the near future, I may bore you senseless with my talk of Banting. Not to be confused with ‘having a bant’ or some ‘bantz’, or indeed our beloved Swan Company Whatsapp Group ‘Dr Bantermist’. 

You can all google, I won’t go into the specifics, but Banting is a diet, or as the Banters like to call it, a WOE – way of eating. You basically can eat as much fat as you like, moderate protein, and hardly any carbs. I really do mean hardly any – under 30g* per day. As an average day, I have scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast, protein and salad and cottage cheese for lunch (plus 2 squares of 90% dark chocolate which isn’t really permitted, but I’m still breastfeeding and I need some chocolate in my life), and protein and veg for dinner, followed by blackberries and double cream. Booze has sugar/carbs, but they don’t limit your booze – they leave it up to you. 

Those that know me or have read previous blogs, know that weight has always been an issue. I’ve done most diets. I’ve had colonics. I’ve been to the gym. Hell, I even did a couple of 10k’s about a decade ago (the St John’s Ambulance lady looked vaguely worried at my shade of purple, and I probably jogged/walked it in the same time your average Joe could walk 10K but, I did it). The only common denominator during all this time was that I was always hungry. I literally cannot ever remember being on a diet and not being hungry. In fact, most of my life I have felt peckish. All the time. Or been thinking about my next meal ;-)

So, why did I begin Banting? Well, I felt pretty lethargic and kept getting poorly, and I was fat.  But primarily, I had high blood pressure and wanted to get off the medication for it as I hate taking pills. I also wanted to be in a position that when another job came along (please God), I was ready and able to do whatever the director wanted, which is kind of important as an Actor. In Don Quixote, I kept busting my knee attempting to step onto a tall ish box (actually I had two people helping me up, bless them, but it still hurt), because I was overweight and I had zero stomach muscles post C- Section. It still bugs me that I couldn’t do what they wanted choreography wise. That I felt scared I might bugger up the routine or the symmetry of the piece. We’re watching ‘This Is Us’ on Sky at the moment and the character Kate had this scene where her boyfriend told her she had to stop letting the ‘fat’ rule her life. She explained that it is ever present – when you’re sussing out the gaps between tables in a restaurant to see which way you should go, when you have to put your bum in the face of people at the theatre as you edge to your seat (I used to face them but we were practically humping), the airplane seat belt, the knife edge every time you take in some clothes to try on in a changing room. I could go on. It’s not really a way to live. Though to be honest, most of the time I don’t even notice I make all those calculations and adjustments – they’ve become part of my every day life. And it wasn’t until that episode that I realised, shit, that’s what I do. Husband helpfully told me I wasn’t as big as her, but that’s not really the point.

So, said husband kindly said we could put a little of our savings towards me having some personal training, so that I could feel a tad more confident about what my body could achieve. My trainer, Malcolm, recommended Banting. And I’m not sure I could be more grateful to anyone. Ever. Because, after the first two weeks (I’m not going to lie, they were pretty tough folks), during which you’re in sugar withdrawal and what they call ‘Carb Flu’ descends, the hunger stopped. And I really do mean that. My husband didn’t believe me. It took me about 3 weeks to persuade him and then he tried and realised it was true. I’m not saying there are zero cravings, especially when I pass a doughnut shop. But I can go hours without food. I’m not thinking about food. My body feels calm. And it’s probably not just the diet – it’s the training (we started at twice a week, and are now down to once a week so that I get used to doing it on my own as well, quick smart before the dosh runs out!), and I’ve been doing yoga once a week at Battersea Yoga which is a true haven. And probably does more for my emotional and mental health as much for any toning or fitness. Malcolm is high energy and, for a trainer who primarily works in the parks, has OCD about dog poo, which I find highly entertaining. It’s like they can smell his fear and they all run over to him and look like they’re about to mark their territory, whilst he stands still as a statue pretending it isn’t happening.

Now, the key is, does the weight stay off. And I guess we’ll have to see. But every other major diet I’ve done hasn’t ever seemed sustainable, and this is. I began just shy of 4 months ago. I’ve lost 15kilos, 20cm off my waist, my blood pressure is 118/80 and my resting heart rate has dropped from 93 to 70. I list those not to brag, but to emphasise that all has happened WITHOUT being hungry. And I’ll be honest, I debated about posting this. Because I look at the women’s magazines on the shelves and they’re all covered in diet stuff. I’d say at least a third of all the posts in my various groups on Facebook (primarily for mums, but not all) are about wanting to lose weight or getting fit. And the story is always the same – always hungry, fell off the wagon, back on the wagon, etc etc. And I feel sort of evangelical about this WOE. And I want to shout it from the rooftops. And I know for many of my friends, weight isn’t an issue – they can eat what they like. But since the 70’s when the US suddenly decided fat was bad, and carbs were good, obesity has steadily risen. And it makes me beyond angry that we were fed advice that was actually wrong. The US has recently changed their dietary guidelines and there is now ZERO limit on fat intake, but there is on sugar. I could go on about this all day, but if you want to read more, I’d suggest starting with Jason’s Fung’s The Obesity Code. Similarly, if you want some personal training or Banting coaching, I’d highly recommend Malcolm. Just bring a pooper scooper ;-)

It’s probably also worth saying that according to the joy of the medical profession that is the BMI Scale, I still have 14 kilos to lose, just so that I fall into the ‘overweight’ category, rather than the ‘obese’ one. So, I have a little way to go, though I have no desire to be super skinny. I like being curvy. I like the freedom of it. The non conformity of it, I suppose. I like falling into the ‘character’ actress category, and given that even if I do shed another 14 kilos, I’ll still be larger than most actresses, I think that casting bracket is safe, though I might need some new headshots soon. Most importantly, I’ve assured the husband that even at my smallest, the boobs didn’t really decrease, so he’s happy.


Gem (soon to be seen high kicking for 2 hours non stop in the West End. I’m not, but you know, I could… ) x

*for the breastfeeding mums – I started at 80g of carbs per day and reduced by 5g per week, so that I could check it wasn’t affecting my supply. I now average 40g per day.