I AM SO LUCKY!

WARNING: FRIDAY FEELINGS OF GRATITUDE!

Sometimes I find myself in self-imposed positions of stress and anxiety with the projects I create and the workload I give myself. Some people think I am crazy, some people tell me I am a fool to give so much of myself for so little (financial) reward. Some people just don’t get it and look at me like I am a lunatic who doesn’t know what she is doing!

But here is the catch…

I LOVE WHAT I DO! And I mean LOVE LOVE LOVE what I do!

It gives me no greater pleasure than seeing faces transform, sharing stories, producing and giving positive energy  and creating experiences and memories.

I am SO SO fucking lucky to have the job I have and I will not stop being grateful that I am in a very fortunate position to be able to be the creative human I am, with a career that allows me to feed and house me and my child and give us an amazing life.

We are not rich! Far from it in fact. But we are full of everything we need and more!

I spent my work day today creating an epic game, dressing up, hanging out with my mate and building a pirate ship in my living room!

That was my Friday!

I AM SO FUCKING LUCKY!

I don’t always feel lucky. In fact there have been times in my life where I have felt the most unlucky person that ever lived. There have been times in my life where just breathing was a challenge. There have been times in my life where I didn’t know if I would ever feel grateful for a day…

I AM SO FUCKING LUCKY!

If you are feeling shitty or have had a bad day and can’t step out of the cloud, think of one thing. Just one thing that makes you a lucky mother trucker. One thing that makes you lucky to be where you are today…

Have a beautiful weekend you lucky duck!

 

Welcome to my fort – it has pirate ships, friends and treasure in it!

I’m a Sh*t Parent – A Mother Ruined

Oh my word, there are a lot of parenting blogs. And articles. Tutorials, books, forums, pages, groups, networks, magazines, TV programmes and websites. All dedicated to telling you how to raise your beloved spawn. Whole series are written purely to show you how to discipline your children and websites created entirely to manifest anxiety about everything – from a rash your mini human could get from just looking at the wrong piece of fruit, to ruining your kid’s life by not throwing the Kim Kardashian-West of all birthday parties.

And it has turned us into Arseholes.

In fact, after nearly 8 years of this exhausting and mind-melting maze of panic-inducing drivel, I call Bullshit.

Sorry for the language, but it is mummy time and she gets a bit sweary after hours.

I am pretty sure (with no actual research to back me up), that the levels of maternal anxiety were much lower before we all had access to literally millions of others, giving each other shitty, uninformed, subjective and snotty judgmental advice.

In fact, I think back in the day, you had your mother and grandmother who pretty much ruled the roost on the advice front and told you what to do about everything… A matriarchal system of ‘This is how it is done, so now you do the same.’ No questions asked… how bloody marvellous. (It generally involved a lot of thimbles of alcohol to knock the baby out.)

We are now at a stage where we take in so much of this shit, we are riddled with pressure, guilt and shame for not being the perfect parents. We are so insecure about our abilities we have to take Instagram pics of our #InstaKids #ParentsofInstagram and HashtagBloodyBlessed just so we have some evidence that we are OK and all is well. Proof that we are not constantly worried, broken and stress eating Doritos and Guac in bed.

Right from the get go, with feeding, nappy choices, buggy brands and the dummy dilemma. Whether to Makaton sign, use flash card systems or use a series of clicks and treats to get them to f*cking understand you. Sleeping rituals are like daily report cards and the rules on introducing food has become Pinterest’s most successful money-making scheme EVER! Skipping ahead all the way to my now present dilemmas of a suddenly hormonally charged 7 year old who has realised his willy hardens, education and that whole mess, social interactions, bullying, hobby choices, gaming and internet access, when to let them start choosing their outfits, even though they will look shit and people will stare, discipline and behaviour issues and how to tell your son it is inappropriate to pull down your swimming costume in the middle of the pool and shout ‘I just wanted to see if they would float!’ – I mean, we’ve all been there, right? (FYI: They don’t – Should they?)

I have a headache just remembering some of the stuff I had to think about when Noah was a baby and all the google searches and scrolling through Mumsnet threads. So many hours…

I mean, it is a minefield. A never-ending cycle of ‘Am I doing this right?’

No wonder we are all self-medicating on Gin and creating endless memes about it… I mean, Gin is great, but it was called Mother’s ruin because it caused infertility… we are all subconsciously closing up shop because it has literally become harder to win at parenting than getting a PhD in Neuroscience.

I am not saying that these resources are not helpful. In fact, they saved me a great many times, especially the single parent forums. And I am a huge advocate for being able to find out literally anything I want at the touch of a button and am, of course, a self-confessed You Tube addict.

But, as well as the anxiety, it just seems that this information overload has caused a wave of judgement and shaming that is still very much alive and well. So many people are telling us how to do it, a million different ways and no one actually has a fucking clue. We all are just scraping by, hoping for the best and praying they stay alive long enough to put us in a nice retirement home.

I repeat – no one is right!

But, by gosh do we think we are.

I know, because I do it too. Because I do know best. Because I am awesome and so well-meaning. No seriously, I still do it. I catch myself sometimes, knowing full well I am being a complete dick and judging someone else’s choices. But I am trying. I am a product of this over-analysing, guilt-ridden and mummy shaming culture, so I have to work really hard to keep it in check.

I watched someone be mummy-shamed the other day and it made me so violently angry and sad for that mum, I had to walk away before I pitched a fight.

So mothers of the world (and bitchy dads too), next time you feel the urge to regurgitate something you saw on a Pinterest Infographic, take a minute. Take pause before you give your stance on little Johnnie’s dummy habit or backhanded comment on Betsy’s uncoordinated and clashing outfit and go give yourself a hard smack in the face won’t you dear. Forget for a minute that you are The Baby Whisperer or a certified child psychologist and just remember back to when you were sat at home, scrolling through the forums at 3 am at your wit’s end, wondering whether adoption might have actually been a valid option.

Don’t be a dick. Parenting is hard enough. We all do it differently. Get off that high horse of yours, you are drunk, on Gin – again!

Welcome to my Fort Kids – It has unsolicited advice, parenting wisdom and sinking tits in it!

 

33 Life Lessons from a 33-Year-Old!

So I haven’t written on here for a while, because, well, life-busy-excuses-blah-etc. So I thought, what better day to come back, than my Birthday?

In honour my return to weekly rambles, I thought I would treat you all to 33 of my top tips in life! Buckle up Buttercups, you is about to get schooled!

(Having written this out now, I feel like it is more of a health and safety PSA.)

  1. Teeth do not make good bottle openers. Just because you are high, does not mean you are the Hulk. I repeat – you do not have extra special drunk person powers! You will regret this 10 years later, when you have a chip in it, to remind you of this fact.
  2. Spoons cannot be microwaved. Check that it has not sunk into the porridge before you close the door. You WILL need a new microwave. But cool indoor lightning show… so…
  3. Do not try to placate an angry Goose. You are not Ace Ventura and stating that you want it to come to you and that it is your jungle friend will only make it madder. (They don’t come from the jungle – apparently, that’s racist.)
  4. When embarking on a juice cleanse, do not, I repeat, DO NOT attempt to leave the house, unless you have an adult nappy on. Also, don’t do juice cleanses, they are stupid!
  5. Read the warning signs on hairspray cans. Lighting a cigarette near your circa 1999, liberally coated fringe will cause a fire to blaze on your head. (Side note: Do not let your friend throw her Vodka drink at it, this is NOT advised.)
  6. Make sure you are prepared when taking a shower. Running naked across tiled flooring to get a clean towel out of the tumble dryer whilst wet is a hazard.
  7. NEVER leave a prawn sandwich in a hot car.
  8. When attending family weddings, please refrain from trying tequila for the first time. You will end up passed out in the toilets and have the entire wedding party looking for you. They will also never let you forget it.
  9. Know your limitations part 1 – If you attempt to push a king sized mattress up from the basement on your own, at midnight, you may get trapped behind it. If this happens, make sure you take your phone with you so you can call for help…
  10. Know your limitations part 2 – If you know you are afraid of heights, do not climb into the loft and then not be able to get down. Repeat instructions from No 9.
  11. Try to avoid hangovers. However, in the event of one occurring, pickled onion Monster Munch, strawberry Yahoo and bacon will work 99% of the time. The other 1% – you have alcohol poisoning and you fucked up… go lay down on the bathroom floor and wish you were dead.
  12. When calling your colleague to bitch about your boss, do the following: 1) Make sure you are not on speaker phone. 2) Make sure your boss is not in the room. I recommend signing on the next day in the event this happens.
  13. If house-sharing, be advised that if you continually use your housemate’s shampoo, they will put Hot Sauce in it and make you feel like No 5.
  14. When purchasing condoms, ensure you do not have something caught in your eye. Winking at the check-out BOY is inappropriate, creepy and may cause alarm.
  15. Frogs play dead when scared. Be certain it is dead before picking up with kitchen utensils.
  16. FROGS SCREAM when picked up with kitchen utensils!
  17. On flirting during your workout: A) Do not faint. B) Do not slide down the guy’s body when he is in downward facing dog, whilst fainting. C) Do not wake up and vomit beside workout Bae. In conclusion, don’t flirt during Bikram (hot) Yoga, you ridiculous red hot sweaty inadequate mess.
  18. DO pretend you know magic card tricks at a party. Everyone will think you are some sort of magical wizard, give you free drinks and you will become a legend. No one will know that you are just looking at their card because they will be too wasted to notice. You can now put this on your CV.
  19. When attending an acting job, refrain from binge eating Polos beforehand. (They have laxatives in them.)
  20. Never lick a steak knife.
  21. Check your surroundings. If you decide to pole dance around a lamp post on school property, ascertain whether there is CCTV in the area. If you don’t, you may be called in by the entire Senior Leadership Staff and made to watch it as they laugh at you, before putting you in detention.
  22. When unblocking a toilet, do not use marigolds. They are not long enough. Trust me on this.
  23. When auditioning for Chekhov’s The Seagull and asked if you have any special skills, I wouldn’t proceed to give them your best seagull impression. You are not what they are looking for. You will never be asked back to the most prestigious Theatre Company in the world again. This may have ruined your career. But you can be proud that you really do make a great seagull voice.
  24. If you jump on the back of an old Routemaster bus, make sure your bag does not swing around the pole. If this happens, do not attempt to alight the bus, as you will be dragged around Picadilly Circus until you have no skin left and need crutches.
  25. Do not tell your best friends of terrible experiences with buses. They will laugh at you, even when you are crying. This will traumatise you forevermore. Hateful, hateful people. You know who you are.
  26. Check that you have underwear on when Irish Dancing. Always. Those high kicks…
  27. Stop ordering small popcorn at the cinema. You are lying to yourself and everyone in that cinema knows it. JUST STOP! Live your true life.
  28. Don’t go swimming with Sharks whilst on your period. They get REEEAAAL friendly!
  29. Don’t steal and drink a bottle of Cointreau from your Dad’s drink’s cabinet and then go ice-skating. Things will not go well for you. You WILL be grounded.
  30. Don’t trust anyone who eats Jellied Eels. They are the food of Satan.
  31. Don’t let your sibling shave your eyebrows. You will look like Effie from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay… It will never grow back the same.
  32. When deciding to write a list of all the stupid shit you have done, make sure you drink wine to numb all the PTSD flashbacks.
  33. Laugh at yourself. Everyone does stupid shit, you are not alone. Embrace your cringe-worthy tragicomedy life. It’s all good!

 

Welcome back to my fort kids – it has presents, birthday candles and that song that you have to listen to people sing to you… awkwardly… for ages… every year… just sing me a show tune instead!

I failed as a teacher!

I never wanted to be a teacher.

In fact, I used to think there couldn’t be anything worse. I was a nightmare at school, why would I want to deal with all of that? Especially being an actor! They say “Those who can’t do, teach.” It was like calling time on yourself and admitting FAILURE! It was worst case scenario stuff for me. I was never going down that road. NOPE!

SO I BECAME A TEACHER!

Well, this is awkward…

I fell into teaching, by chance, fate or sheer bad luck.

There I was, in the local swimming pool, with my then 2-year-old. In the showers after a great morning as we usually did once a week, just me and the boy having splash time. Opposite, a lady with her little girl, is staring at me!

You know when you know you know someone, but you can’t quite pinpoint why or how. After what seemed like hours, (but was likely only minutes) she smiled. “I know you, don’t I?” And there it was, the thick northern accent that brought it all flooding back. I had gone to drama school with her, had spent 2 years knowing her. A blast from the past indeed! Within seconds we were bear-hugging each other, wet and dripping in our mum swimsuits, under the showers, laughing and shouting obscene memories at each other, while the league of elderly flower cap brigade looked on horrified.

She was living in Kent and was teaching drama and music in the school across the road from my house. But she was leaving. She asked what I was doing with myself. I told her we had just moved to town and I was thinking about getting a job but had no idea what I was going to do…

A week later, I am in the office of the Head Teacher’s office, shaking hands and being offered a contract.

I walked away, looking back, hoping no one would find me out! Surely that did not just happen?

Then it dawned on me! What am I doing? This is exactly what I didn’t want to do. This meant the end of my acting career. It meant I was admitting failure. That I was resigned to giving up everything I had worked for my entire life! What had I done?

But then it started.

I have always been the type of person to throw myself into something full throttle and this was no different. I had been sat home for 3 years talking to a baby and watching Mr f*cking Tumble on repeat. My brain was fried and needed some intellectual stimulation other than learning recipes from I Can Cook!

So that’s what I did. I threw myself in, determined to make it work, to be the best I could be, to learn, to train and to be a success. I had energy, enthusiasm, passion and was loving it! I was buzzed and so excited to be a real grown up, with a real grown up’s job and to be in the world of respected professionals. It felt good after the last few years of just surviving.

It didn’t last long.

That feeling left after the second term… and the rest I shall leave for another time.

I worked there for 2 years and a further few months at a Secondary School as a Music, Drama and English teacher – and then I left. It was a bold and risky move, but it had to be done, and it was the best thing I could ever have done.

You see, in 3 short years I had learnt what the education system was really like. I watched teachers crumble in tears and have nervous breakdowns with the workload. I watched as teachers were shoved out of their roles to make way for fresh meat who could be easily moulded to the new system. I watched the politics of data vs. human children and learnt about budgets, Ofsted, criteria and learnt all about observations and changing marking systems every 3 months. I sat up for hours, laminating, cutting and designing maths games, spent holidays redecorating classrooms and building book corners. I spent hours worrying about lesson plans, objectives, outcomes, starters, plenary activities differentiated 15 ways, print outs, power points, marking in 3 different colours, traffic light systems, behaviour management, and sat laboriously marking useless SATS papers and entering data into spreadsheets, watching them turn orange and red and seeing the fear in grown women’s eyes as they were called for appraisals.

To be a teacher is not just to teach a million things you are not an expert in, but so much more. To teach is to be an analyst, an office manager, a psychologist, a public speaker, a wrangler of wild animals, a diplomat, an artist, an actor, a juggler, an editor, a policy maker, a nurse…

You get the picture!

I was in awe of the people around me. You cannot do that job if you don’t love it with all your heart.

But the system is BROKEN!

I loved being with the kids, I loved inspiring them, I loved seeing their eyes light up when they finally got something, when you blew their tiny little minds with science or to see the joy on their faces when they discovered something new. I loved the process too… from the beginning to the end and watching the progress, from not knowing, to that little light bulb moment. I loved the bonds we made, the characters I met and the fun we had! I LOVED teaching. But teachers don’t get to teach anymore.

I hated the industry. I hated the politics, the red tape and all the other stuff that went with it. I hated that something that I wanted to be a part of was becoming something that was being ripped apart. It was painful and I couldn’t help but be emotionally invested in it. It was exhausting. And I had only just dipped my toe in…

I left for several reasons, but an overriding factor was that I figured out why I had been led to teaching… and it meant that I HAD TO LEAVE!

I created a company based on my love for learning, but delivering it my way – as an Actor! An adventure where topics are experienced, history is brought to life and books are lifted out of the page and into the room! A world where Storytelling is the key, using our bodies and voices is celebrated and not silenced in a chair, where knowledge is embedded in emotional connection and social skills are more important than an exam paper question. A place where energy is used to it’s potential, imaginations are free to expand and awareness of ourselves as humans is the forefront of the journey.

Teaching led me to what I was supposed to do. I found my purpose – and I am forever grateful!

As I celebrate another birthday of my beloved Bindlestick Theatre Company, I look back on that time with mixed feelings. Full of gratitude that it led me to my calling, but also because it made me realise that my ability to walk away from things that I don’t believe in and my opinions and moral code are much stronger than I ever thought before.

Teachers have always been a huge part of my life. From the year 6 Teacher who told me I would be a Storyteller one day, to my Secondary School Teachers who I am still in touch with today and the Teachers I work with on a daily basis throughout my work – I thank you! You are all heroes and perform miracles daily.

I may have failed at being a teacher in mainstream education, but as Tim Minchin says;

“Be a teacher! Even if you’re not a teacher, be a teacher!”

Welcome to my Fort Kids – It’s got balloons, cake and party hats in it!

The Boy’s School Musical

I was going through my filing cabinets today and found my old scrapbook and photo 20170507_224006album of my school days and I came over all emotional. I hadn’t realised quite how much I had kept from back then but found every programme, ticket and poster, running orders, scripts and first night cards and letters.

Not gonna lie, had a bit of a cry… but a happy one!

1997

When I was in Year 8, I had gone with my friend Emily, down to the neighbouring boy school for an audition for the annual musical. She had not wanted to walk down by herself, so I was her wingman!

I was excited, not for the event, but the opportunity to see real life boys. They were coveted and rare during school hours, unless you snuck behind the sheds between the fields, or crossed the forbidden line in the PE department, that joined the two. #AllGirlsSchoolGoals.

I rolled up my navy skirt one more time, til the pleats had to be pulled out, so it didn’t show that I was still made to wear god-awful knee lengths, (my mum NEVER let me be cool), whipped out my Coffee Shimmer lipstick, scraped back my curly, frizzy, tangled hair and coated it with enough hairspray to kill a rainforest of spiders and flicked up my shirt collar, like I was Nicky f*cking Kenickie.

I had no intention of auditioning that day, and sat cooly in the auditorium of the main hall, as my friend proudly sang her heart out in front of a panel of Teachers and the other auditionees. I was excited for her and she looked so happy standing there. She looked like she was having so much fun, for what was ultimately a pretty terrifying thing to do.

As she finished and came down the stairs at the front of the stage, I got ready to leave and stood up. Just then, the Director, Mr Ansell, clocked me and asked if I wanted to be in the show too and would I like to have a go at reading some lines and singing a song? Everyone was leaving and I would be the last one so it would not be a big deal or anything…

Everything before that moment is slightly blurred. I never remember wanting to be anything else, other than an actor after that.

I do have a vague flashback of wanting to be Enya once, and creating contemporary interpretative dances to Kate Bush songs, but other than that, I had a one-track mind.

I was the kid who, when the school careers counsellor met with me, ripped up the comprehensive questionnaire and guidance form, with that defiant air of a cocky arsehole teenager, declaring that I didn’t need a backup plan, I was going to Drama School and going to be in the West End and that was the end of it.

I think I had to sign one of those disclosure forms for idiots like I was being discharged against medical advice. She looked at me despairingly… another dreamer that was gonna make her look shit at her job!

The first show was Blitz! And was the first of many. I officially became a Theatre Kid! I slowly drifted away from the ‘Trendy’ clique in my year group and would disappear off, every lunch time to the boy’s school, or the Drama studios to hang out and geek off with my own kind.

20170507_225148

I remember the thrill of the first day of rehearsals, sat with our scores around the piano, being yelled at By Miss Clandillon to ‘SING LOUDER’, and yelling at us to shut up periodically. That woman was terrifying and glorious and a force to be reckoned with. Going through Choreography in the School Reception and sticking my Rehearsal Schedule on top of my actual school timetable – PRIORITIES!

I recall painting sets at weekends and going to EVERY rehearsal even if I wasn’t needed. Jim used to call me his shadow and even let me Assistant Direct him once because I always annoyingly had something to say and would boss the other actors around. I even got the lead part once through this tactic. When Jasmine dropped out of Aladdin, I sat there smugly. I knew she wasn’t up for the job, I knew it was only a matter of time. I was like a patient vulture, knowing every line, scene, blocking move and note in her track. I walked on a week later as if the part had been mine the whole time.

Think Rachel Berry in Glee Club type of intense… that was me.

Then there were backstage antics, emotional last nights and crazy cast parties, with speeches, presents and sobbing hugs, like we were never going to see each other again – except for tomorrow when we all saw each other again… And even crazier ‘After Cast Parties’, which, for legal reasons, I am pretty sure I am not allowed to detail.

I had never really fit in anywhere before then. Sure I had friends, but I was always on the outskirts and never grounded or completely at ease. Suddenly I felt like I was home. I have never laughed so much and had such a good time as those heady days of being in the School Musicals.

20170507_225300One of the last shows I was in at School was Fame. The opening number, ‘Hard Work’ involved singing the lines ‘I Pray I make P.A’. The Choreographer, an awesome, young science teacher, Mr Betts, had us holding fake letters of acceptance, getting into the Performing Arts School. So when I actually got in that same week, I triumphantly, if not a little bit cheesy and dramatically, took my actual Drama School acceptance letter up onto that stage and punched it into the air with tears in my eyes. The same stage that started it all and I was saying goodbye to it in the best possible way.

Those were some of the best days of my life. It is where I started my emotional education, my life skills classes and made friendships like no other. We were a family and, although now, it is only through Facebook and the occasional sighting in a local pub or at an event, they were my family, my tribe, my people. We grew up together, worked together, dated each other (grossly incestuously in fact), lived in each other’s pockets and created some of the best memories I have.

To my School Theatre Family,

For all the laughter, shared experiences, joy, jokes and love! You taught me who I was and how to be me.

Thank You x

Welcome To My Fort Kids – It has show tunes, memories and love in it!

50 Shades of Grey – The Wardrobe Challenge!

Do you ever feel like sometimes life is a little bit grey? But not in the good silk tie kinda way?

Feeling a bit same old same old?

Bit MEH?

Need a bit of a shake up?

I often get that feeling. The need to liven things up a bit, dust the cobwebs away and reinvigorate my soul.

In fact, I have this habit of moving the furniture around in my house every 6 months, just so I feel like the room is new. Does anyone else do this, or am I slowly turning into Lawrence Lewellyn-Bowen? I think I watch too many makeover shows and have an unhealthy addiction to Pinterest, but it always makes me feel energised and fresh, even if it is short term.

I have been having that feeling again recently, but rather than my home decor it is ME!

THE WARDROBE CHALLENGE!

I truly believe that the way we feel on the inside is usually reflected on the outside and Visa Versa.

I have never really been someone who thinks about fashion or adheres to trends or style.  I never had the cool trainers or bought into brands and logo adorned clothing, apart from one Addidas tracksuit that I lived in throughout 1999. In fact, I have always been someone who really doesn’t give a crap about their looks all that much and is a staunch comfort queen.

3 years of wearing nothing but monochrome jogging bottoms and old, stained tops at Drama School, rolling around on top of each other in dusty studios, no makeup on, hair scraped back, rubbing your face in warm-ups and generally looking like a deranged foetus, whilst sounding out the atmosphere of the ocean, does not a glamour puss make!

All the energy for looking good went into performances. That was dress up time. Fancy, colourful costumes, thick war paint on and corsets, heels and Spanx shaping your body into unnatural spinal contortions. Pretty hurts, but it’s so much fun!

And don’t even get me started on being a mummy and how the exhaustion, sheer amount of vomit, faeces, snot and other bodily fluids ruin your appetite for getting dressed whatsoever. I literally spent the first 3 years of motherhood in the same bloody hoodie and yoga pants just to keep the laundry pile smaller.

I did go through a phase of cute dresses when I went back to work but generally have always been best friends with oversized cardigans, floaty yoga pants, work boots and my good old trusty leggings. I am quite a cold person as well, so love a good scarf to add to the pile of material, hiding everything about me.

For work I will make an effort though- I am not a complete disaster. I do have nice clothes and a crazy awesome collection of Poetic Licence and Irregular Choice shoes, (that I don’t really wear because I don’t wear heels – but hey, they are sooooo pwetty!)

Outside of my job, however, I tend to wear the same thing over and over again. I play it safe and like an easy life. A lot of grey, black, navy and brown… Plus, choosing outfits in the morning, when you have to get a reluctant 7 year old out the door, is just too much like hard work! I am generally rocking a bird’s nest hairdo being held up by a pen from my handbag, my child’s socks, because I didn’t pair mine up and a tea stained cardy. HOT!!!!

Now, I am not saying I am about to start dressing like one of those yummy mummies that I hate, with their Hunter wellies, riding jodhpurs and £100 Joules macs on – good god, you live in the suburbs – not rural Oxfordshire! PUT DOWN THE TWEED!

But who am I to judge? They probably think I am in my pyjamas!

MACIGAL CLOTHING!

So, I was at work the other week and was wearing a new wrap dress-coat I had bought. Nothing too fancy, but I loved it and decided it was right for the job I was doing. A character choice if you will.

At the end of the session, a client came up to me and said that she had wanted to tell me how she thought I was beautiful. How the way I moved, held myself and generally my presence always struck her and how she just had to tell me that she thought I was stunning! She continued on for 5 minutes and we ended up having a lovely discussion about how women needed to boost each other more often. (Feel kinda shit about the Farmer’s wives now!)

So WOW! Not only to get such an ego-boosting compliment at all but for such a beautiful thing to say to a woman who considers herself to look more like Oscar the Grouch, was such a touching moment. Compliments can be hard to take, but this one had me all goosebumpy and welling up inside.

Now, apart from the fact that I walk away from the session, sashaying to my car like I am Queen Bey at the Grammys, it also got me to thinking.

I am my most confident at work, for sure, so that plays a huge part. My entire job is to have presence and charisma and to work a crowd etc. so that all makes sense. Energy and engagement are what I do, whether I am acting, facilitating, speaking in public or teaching. They all require me to BE ON! So of course people get that from me, because I am doing it on purpose.

But, I also think it was the DRESS!

It wasn’t a sexy outfit by any means. In fact, it was a huge floaty burgundy thing that I thought made me look like a wizard for a job I was doing on The Tempest! But I felt awesome in it. I felt like magic!

So, I want to set myself a new challenge! Not a huge one but one that is going to require some effort!

I am going to take a stab at dressing to feel a bit more badass – just for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not about to throw away my cardigan collection just yet, or start buying the latest waxed jacket, but I am going to make bolder choices. I need to change things up a bit, make time to reflect my personality a bit more and to dress in ways that make me feel, well a little bit more magic!

This sounds like quite a superficial challenge, but is ultimately about confidence and self-care as well, about bringing the colour back into my wardrobe that I love so much and have slacked on in recent years. I am going to start showing off my body instead of hiding it under mountains of layers.

So today, as I go off for the day, I am wearing a bright yellow dress and have dyed my hair red! (I have a cardigan in my bag, just in case!)

Welcome to my Fort Kids – It has colours, confidence and sashaying badasses in it! 

 

I’m not always ok – AND THAT’S OK!!!

Have you ever curled up on the cold floor of a coffee shop toilet in Camden Town?

Hyperventilating and wanting to jump out of your own skin? Sobbing and clutching your heart because you are pretty sure you are dying and the 1st person to find you will be the ridiculously hot Portuguese Barista… Who is now banging on the door, to see if you are ok, and to kindly let you know that there is a young child about to wee all over the newly mopped floor and, he would rather not have to do it again, as it is closing time soon and he has a lot to do. So you smear the mascara streaks across your face and grab on to the handrail as you unlock the door and put on your best ‘I’m OK’ face and politely sit back down at your seat, pretending that death is not imminent and your head is not about to explode, whilst smoothing down your hair to still look cute to Barista Boy, who clearly thinks you are a f***ing nut job! Awesome.

No? Well, this is awkward then.

And it is awkward. It is dizzyingly mortifying and something that you don’t want anyone to know about you, for fear of seeming weak or incapable at work, at home, as a parent or just as a functioning human being.

I suffer from Anxiety and Panic attacks. And it is exhausting! But it is also Beautiful!

The coffee shop meltdown occurred a couple of weeks ago. I was on my way to the Improv class I had booked as a part of the #FaceYourFearsChallenge from an earlier post “What’s the worst that can happen?” – Falling down to Succeed – But things had taken a turn before I even got there.

IT ALL STARTED WITH A HUG! 

I have been struggling recently. With an overwhelming amount of work, single parent juggling, co-parenting issues, family drama and some physical health issues which have made all of the above, a lot harder to manage. In short, my brain got too full and I forgot to let it breathe!

A couple of weeks ago I was catching up with a beautiful friend of mine, who asked me how I was doing. I could have just said I was fine and moved on to other things, but there are some people who just make you feel safe. Do you have friends like that? I don’t have many, so they are rare and to be treasured. So, It was a big catch up and a lot of shiz had gone down. When I finally finished telling her everything that was going on, she gave me that look. The look of someone watching the sinking ship, while I am happily waving from the upper deck, playing with a spinning top. And she said, “I can’t believe you are holding it all together.”

AND THEN SHE HUGGED ME!

Now, this was a hug! Not just your run of the mill quick squeeze, or sympathetic rub on the back, but one of those hugs… you know, the real f***ing deal hugs that mean something. I don’t get an awful lot of physical contact with other humans apart from the spawn, who is a bony mass of elbows and monkey feet and makes cuddling a wrestling match within seconds, or decides to use me a climbing frame and ends up with his feet in my face or worse… you get the picture, so hugs are pretty much like finding a tenner in your coat pocket!

It is amazing how physically our body’s chemical reactions are so intrinsically linked to our emotional state. This is something that fascinates me and I speak a lot about for my job, so will leave it for another post. But, it is true!

That hug was the first moment in 8 months that I had opened the jam-packed storage closet and everything came flying out. I hadn’t acknowledged that I actually wasn’t that Ok and that I hadn’t really thought about myself or how I was coping with any of it at all.

MASSIVE FAIL! And I should know better.

Sometimes all we need is a hug. In fact, it is essential for our health – I now declare hugs be mandatory for every human at least twice a day! Wouldn’t that be awesome!

The #CoffeeShopMeltDown happened 5 days later. I happened to have seen this very same friend again and having been processing 8 months of crap all week, had given myself migraines, had about 4 hours sleep in as many days, not eaten all week and survived on Anxiety’s worst best friend – coffee!

So all in all, not a great combination or very clever. (My Blurt Buddy Box arrived the very next day, as if by magic!)

So, anyway, seeing this friend, in an environment, where I was having all sorts of nostalgic and emotional thoughts about, was pretty much the last compartment to fill, before the stern rose in the air and the whole ship snapped in half, crashing into the icy waters of doom.

By the time I got to my Improv class, I was so exhausted, drained and smelling a little bit like bathroom disinfectant, that I wasn’t even thinking about being nervous or fearful about it. In fact, it was the only thing that week that felt truly grounding and made me feel like myself again. I was at peace finally and could breathe and just be. The great thing about improv is you just have to say yes, so, the act of letting go of having to try or think for 2 hours, was the most euphoric experience I could have had. We played for 2 hours, made some stupid shit up, created some worlds and told some seriously weird stories. It was perfect. I was with my people, my tribe, rolling around on the floor together, making a giant boat! It was my lifeboat.

Here is the real take away from the tale. The very thing I feared, was, in fact, the cure! It always has been actually and it is the most powerful medicine!

Another person who found it was actress, poet, singer and extraordinary human, Brigitte Aphrodite.

Brigitte Aphrodite, (and yes, that is her real name), is one of those rare creatures, whoMBBD+FLYER manages to instantly fill the room with an infectious and addictive energy – just with her smile. I don’t usually girl-crush, but she is for sure my new BAE!

Brigitte and her other half, the insanely talented, humble and equally beautiful human, Quiet Boy, have created a show about Depression called ‘My Beautiful Black Dog’ – and it is CRESHENDORIOUS!

This is one of the songs in the glitter-filled, manic and heart-wrenchingly honest piece of Theatre, a rare unicorn. A magical storytelling adventure, directed beautifully by Laura Keefe, of one woman’s journey through depression and her relationship with the man who watched it all happen is a #nofilters moment in the world of talking about Mental Health.

Brigitte herself described the creative process as therapy and you can see why. The very acknowledgement of the beast and how it manifested itself, is picked through with a sharp, scratchy nit comb. And it is beautiful.

I was so moved by her willingness to give herself to her audience, so freshly raw and physically open, that I dare anyone not to be moved and touched by them and their story.

You left, glittered up, shimmied out and a little bit of a better human being.

For me though, it came a week after #CoffeeShopToiletGate and the Improv class and suddenly everything started to seem OK again. I had a rough few weeks, mainly because I stopped listening to my body and didn’t treat myself very kindly. It happens.

My Beautiful Black Dog doesn’t sugarcoat the ending, in fact, it ended with Brigitte saying that, it wasn’t the kind of story where ‘She could see clearly now the rain had gone’, but more like, she had a f*cking good raincoat now!

Storms come and they go, but it is always important to be prepared and to have a plan, or even someone to hold the umbrella or to throw you a whistle. Brigitte, Quiet Boy and all the other Theatre makers, musicians and artists, including me, need to keep telling the stories that we all need to hear, with honesty, bravery and love that collectively gives us that deep, releasing and safe hug, that tells us, we can all sail the weathers and it is all going to be OK!

1 in 6 people in the UK will experience a common mental health issue in their lifetime.

With global campaigns like #HeadsTogether coming out with massive coverage, Brigitte with Theatre like #MBBD and local community organisations raising the game, if you need to talk about something or are affected by any of these issues, please do. I am not a mental health expert, but am always here, with a good ear and a cuppa tea! 

Welcome to my fort kids – It’s got glitter, hugs and life-rafts in it! 

My Beautiful Black Dog was a part of Paint the Town Festival @PTT-Festival and Looping the Loop Festival @LoopingThanet, in conjunction with @Battersea_Arts.

Find Brigitte @bbbrigitte and Quiet Boy @Quietbuoy

and thanks to @LyriciArts @IMHPMedway @Rethink_ for the Q&A Panel on Mental Health in the Arts.

Featured Image courtesy of #Bananagrams from Megan Garrett Jones at #ArtBop

And huge thanks to the person who knows who she is – she came back with more boats!

 

7 Years Single – My Dating Profile!

People often ask me why I am single.

It usually goes something like this;

“You need to get yourself out there, you are not getting any younger. You need to find yourself a man, get back on the horse, jump back in the saddle and straddle life a bit more, take life by the reins.”

(TOO many weird equestrian idioms for one sentence? I guess dating is a bit like being a show pony though! ‘Look how pretty I am, how elegant and graceful, look at my cute ribbons and how I can trot sideways without falling over… wait, this has taken a weird turn. Where was I?

Ah yes, and the most popular question is always,

“How long has it been?”

“Um like…7 years.”

And down goes the jaw to the floor, hands raised to the sky like I am being blessed by the heavens, to cure my terminal illness. People look at you differently all of a sudden and call you irritating things like ‘Brave’ and ‘Strong’, to backtrack on their initial, unabashed dismay.

I also have people quite openly ask me other types of special questions like, “What? Like not even a quickie or, you know, a casual thing just to feed the beast?” Or, “Don’t you miss sex?” Or my absolute favourite comments, “It’s probably grown back!”, “We need to air out the bat cave don’t we.” And “Do you even know how to do it anymore?” All of which are delightful and not at all embarrassing, shaming or indicative of how we still put an inappropriate value on our worth in conjunction with our sexual activity. I am but a comedy spinster in a Jane Austen remake! I hadn’t realised my vagina was of such a concern to you or indeed any of your business, to discuss over coffee and overpriced cupcakes. But apparently, when you are celibate, you are a rare deep sea creature, (you know the ugly, glow in the dark kind), and the door is wide open on your private parts.

Suddenly, phones and laptops are whisked out, and I am seated in front of all of their social media contacts, including Google Plus and LinkedIn, (I mean, really?) They furiously scroll down to ANYONE single, because well… I must be desperate right? All the while ignoring the freshly painted bitch-face I am now wearing.

Everyone becomes an expert matchmaker, and everyone just wants you to be happy. I get it, it is all well intentioned, and it’s sweet of you to care and all…

But here is the thing, – I have been single on purpose! It was a choice, a bold and necessary decision and I don’t regret it one bit!

When I became pregnant, I had this image of myself. A barefooted, organic earth mother, but still fresh and trendy actress, living the hipster parent life in London Town, breastfeeding my baby in rehearsal rooms and still being able to go out with the girls and end up in the Arts Bar or The Groucho club, singing show tunes with Michael Ball every weekend. (This only happened once.)

My wedding was all planned out in my head, I was going to be the best wife to my city slicking husband, and we would be the envy of all. Everything was going to be PERFECT! My life was going to be a feel-good box office smash.

(I just threw up in my mouth a little bit!) Yes, I was a dick!

How naïve and blissfully unaware I was of what was to come.

When I became a single mother, Noah was just a mere 5 months old, and my whole plan was doomed like The Mary Rose, sinking before she had even left the harbour! Not waving, but drowning kinda bad!

182070_10150413278875046_4090297_n
My first true love!

After a few months of gasping for air, I slowly learnt to breathe again and dragged myself out of the murky waters of a nervous breakdown and set about making a new life for my son and me on the solid ground. I was so determined to make sure that I stuck to my plan of how I wanted to raise my son. I wasn’t going to change it all suddenly because I didn’t have another adult to share it with.

A massive part of that was deciding to focus on raising Noah, to healing my broken and weary heart and, to finding out what this new life was going to be – basically keeping my shit together, one agonising day at a time. This left no room for men. This left no room for anything else actually. I was holding myself together with school glue just long enough to keep my beautiful mini human alive!

And that I did! I can now confirm that he is still alive and in a mere 4 months, going to be an 8-year-old! None of my plants have survived that long, so I feel pretty fucking pleased with myself, thank you very much!

It has been a long hard road, but one that I wouldn’t change for anything.

The thing is, I was broken. Like really, really, really broken. It took me 3 years to just keep us on dry land. Then I went and got a teaching job, which was just about as much as I could cope with after creating the best fort known to mankind! It was more like a fortress actually, and no one was allowed in without the secret knock!

Around that period, I felt like it was probably time I got back out there. I wasn’t going to go out of my way or anything but was open to the idea of letting someone in, and I was sure it would happen organically and that I was going to meet people, now I was out in daylight a lot more. But, every time I convinced myself and others around me, that I was ready, my drawbridge would come snapping up, and the moat would be flooded. I always found excuses, like, I had no time, or I am too exhausted, or, childcare is tricky, blah blah blah. All of which are absolutely 100% accurate and the leading causes of most single parents not dating. But they were excuses nonetheless. To cover up the fact that I was still, a little bit broken and plainly WASN’T READY!

25500_10150178149440046_7105833_n
We like to dress up in matching outfits

So here we are. 2017 and I am still not sure if I am ready. I am forever changed by the experiences I have had with men, so although not quite so broken, still scarred indefinitely. But I do know this. I have spent the last 7 years of my life dedicating my very existence to being just a mummy and letting no one else past the gate! Everything I have done over my son’s lifetime has been for him, because of him and what I thought was in his best interest. And that is the way that I wanted it to be. He was and still is my absolute everything, and I owe that kid my life. For reals!

I have recently been having some feelings. I know, scary stuff! I have the overwhelming sensation that the fort is missing something. I never wanted to need someone, I am a stubborn and fiercely independent woman, who doesn’t like asking for help, even when she really needs it, and will watch YouTube for all things considered ‘manly’ jobs. I even learnt how to plumb my own dishwasher and everything, and so was never one to NEED a man about the house. I don’t need your money, I have built 2 businesses from scratch, I have been the mum and the dad for this long, I don’t need saving on a white fucking horse – unless it is a unicorn and I am ALL YOURS handsome!

No. I am just now ready to share my life with someone. I can’t keep myself hostage any longer. I need to start sharing the secret knock. Noah even wants me to find someone now, (probably so I don’t end up with even more cardigans and cats and living in his annexe when I am old – selfish spawn!)

I don’t have an extensive list of requirements or type suggestions to add or have a particular look or anything, I just have this:

About Me: I am a woman, who eats peanut butter from the jar and drinks milk from the carton. I am allergic to housework and am most likely going to poison you with my cooking. You will eat it and smile and tell me how horrific it was on the way to A&E. I fuck up on an almost daily basis and celebrate each small victory with a 30-second dance party. I snort laugh and am often the most inappropriate one in the room. I swear too much and have a weird sense of humour that often leaves awkward silences. Embrace it! I don’t iron unless I am melting the wax off the rug because candles are everywhere, and don’t eat cake so if you want someone who bakes, Mary Berry I isn’t. I work with children every day, so will often come home dressed as a caterpillar or magical creature with too much glitter on my face. I look like a bedraggled banshee in the mornings and own a top notch floordrobe.. I have a son and 2 cats who I love more than you and you have to be ok with that. I put my makeup on in the car and gag when brushing my teeth. I will not talk to you in the mornings, but will annoyingly wake you up in the night to tell you all the amazing 1534880_10151895373646169_1762883933_othings in my head! I promise to be a holy fucking mess and not apologise for it, because, well, I won’t. We have crazy Fridays and will go on spontaneous road trips, so have a bag packed always. I drive like a maniac and take mugs of tea with me wherever I go. I will sing lines from shows half –way through a conversation, and I will most likely bore you with useless facts. I won’t put up with lies or games and have a very low tolerance for bullshit, you are someone we are letting into our fort, and you must respect the rules of our land. So, come if you dare, intrepid traveller, welcome to our fort, I am opening the doors to a few lucky golden ticket holders.

The Dating Challenge

Challenge #2: I will sign myself up to some dating apps and also take offers from friends who would like to set me up on blind dates. I aim to go on at least 1 date by the end of May. (I will be taking this at my own pace peeps.)

Here goes! Now where are my Spanx?

Welcome to my fort – it has passwords, code breakers and secret handshakes in it!

(P.S. I will reveal the results of last week’s Improv class challenge soon, but that day took an unexpected turn and want to talk about it properly when I have processed it!)

“What’s the worst that can happen?” – Falling down to Succeed!

This is the question I ask my music students every single week!

I always ask them this same question towards the end of the lesson, when it comes to sharing what they have learnt with the rest of the class and someone hesitates or is nervous.

“What’s the worst that can happen?”

And the answer is usually a version of:

“IT WILL GO HORRIBLY WRONG AND I WONT BE ABLE TO DO IT RIGHT!”

And there we have it, the dreaded “DUM DUM DUM” moment – our FEAR OF FAILURE!

A feeling I know all too well – BIG TIME! As an actor and someone in a creative and often extremely vulnerable and exposing industry, I put myself in a rather awkward spot some might say. But, I wasn’t always so held back by my fears, in fact I used to get a weird kick out of pushing myself out of my comfort zone and always found my way out the other side better off, if not, triumphant. It was the fine balance between adrenaline and testosterone propelling me forward instead of fleeing to my fort.

But over the years and some very specific life events thrown into the mix, the balance shifted, something went out of whack and I developed an almost unhealthy version of this fear – Atychiphobia!

Atychiphobia is just that, it is a phobia – of failing. Not just the average run of the mill, ego-inducing fear of looking like a twat if you messed up, but a debilitating fear of doing anything that might not have a perfect result, and as a consequence, not only avoiding situations where there was a possibility of looking less than perfect, but also pretty much sabotaging any chance of happiness – by not trying anything at all!

So one day in 2013 and after 4 years of sitting comfortably and safely in my fort, I decided enough was enough and something had to shift. I made a list of all my biggest fears and decided that one by one I was going to see what happened if I faced them!

FUN FACT: We are all born with 2 fears – DEATH and FALLING! Everything else is manufactured throughout our lives.

So I chose those 2 things first, you know just to ease me into it. Gently does it!

The first fear on the list, was my fear of heights and falling from said heights, to my death. A BUNGEE JUMP.

My friend was going to do a local bungee jump and I was going along to support her. She had been talking about it for weeks and how it was ‘A Leap of Faith’ and how it changed everything for her when she had done it the previous year.

To paint a picture (and my darling dad will testify to this), I won’t even climb a ladder to the loft without spinning out and saying my last goodbyes, so there was NO WAY I was going to do it, I would just go and watch, feel a little bit sick at the thought of my friend diving off a crane, plummeting toward the earth at an unnatural speed and then go home safe in the knowledge that I was sensible, grounded and alive and have a cup of tea.

But something weird happened the night before and I may or may not have been drunk, but I went a little bit mental and blacked out because I happened to have signed myself up online and paid the fee to do the jump and then told my friend I was coming with her. I still to this day don’t remember taking the decision, so cannot comment on how I consciously got the gumption to become all brave and what not.

The next morning, before I had even opened my eyes, the panic started to rise and the comprehension of what I had done, drove me into a paralysed, quivering and breathless mess. What have I done? I can’t believe I did that? I can’t do that. I can barely jump rope let alone jump off a crane – you’re an idiot, this is suicide, you have a child, he can’t be an orphan now… WHY for the love of… OK, no big deal, the money goes to charity anyway, I just won’t do the jump, it will be fine, my friend won’t mind and will understand, no one else knows about it, so let’s just forget it ever happened. Shhhhhhhhhh! And breathe. Except my friend, who was also a teacher at our school, had let slip to some of the parents coming to support and now half the school knew, the kids had made 976666_10201361655471324_1695618910_o (2)banners for fuck sake and got a crowd ready to come down to the park – (how early did these guys get up?) NEWS TRAVELS FAST!!!

SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!

I was going to bottle it and now the fear of failing was having a massive bust up in the car park with my fear of falling – What the actual fuck?

You know the ending to this one already, so I will skip the part where I ended up in a crane cage with the Mayor and had ITV news filming my every move and get to the point. (Although, these two points did have a very big part in my decision, heightening the experience beyond what anyone had ever expected – only me could this happen to!)

So I jumped – or rather I let go! The bungee jump guy in the cage with me, told me to count to 5, got me to put my hands out in front of me and then he let go of my harness in 1… 2… 3… I didn’t even hear him after that!

So there I was, plummeting toward the earth, eyes shut, breath held and ready to meet my fate, everything still and silent. I may have passed out momentarily, because the next thing I remember is my body being yanked from oblivion and flying back up into the sky. I HADN’T DIED! The rope had not snapped, my feet were still attached and I opened my eyes to the banner, my 3 year old and a news crew all screaming and cheering at me metres away as I bobbed lower and lower to 2 saviours who grabbed my arms and pulled me onto a mattress. I laid there for what seemed like an hour, heaving and sobbing and punching my fists in the air like I had just won the Olympic gold medal for staying alive! 994741_10201361697832383_376373182_n

Needless to say that my phobia of failing was still strong willed that day, which led me to conquer the biggest fear I thought I had.

I want to be able to tell you that I can now go up ladders like a boss and that I have done a sky dive since and am some adrenaline junkie dare devil – but that would be a big fat lie. In fact, doing the jump made me realised how much I didn’t ever want to do it again.

But it did change everything else!

I let go!

I let go of staying still, I let go of not experiencing life in case I got hurt, I let go of feeling like everything was a threat and I let go of the girl trapped the fort! I suddenly started my life again, started making decisions to be happy, to move forward and to live my life a little bit more adventurously again.

Don’t worry, I still love my fort like a crack whore loves crack and have an incredibly long way to go, especially when it comes to putting myself out there creatively, but I have come a VERY long way.

I ask my students the same question every week, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

And my answer is always this:

Nothing! You might get it wrong, but the world won’t stop, the ceiling isn’t going to cave in, a dinosaur is not going to burst through the window. You won’t die!

(I also make them fist pump at the end of every session, sans the heavy snot-faced crying from me.)

Here’s the thing – I didn’t die and it felt awesome! I have since gone on to do hundreds of things that have terrified me, including starting this blog, but I still need reminding of my own advice on an almost daily basis at the moment.

So I would like to up the challenge.

Here is my pledge:

I Challenge myself to do one thing that scares me every week for the next year!

Challenge #1: I have booked myself on to an improvisation class this week – the epitome of letting go! I will report back next week!

Welcome to my fort, it has cats, over-sized scarves and buckets of tea in it! 

Welcome to my Fort…

Hi there tinternet,

I have had this blog page since 2011, when I was a stay at home mum, doing lots of awesome things like creating cute and eco-friendly veggie patches, crafting my entire Christmas, making organic baby mush, being a paleo goddess and generally rocking the whole ‘Earth Mother’ bullshit that I thought I was supposed to be doing to be a good woman. The kinda stuff people seem to find infinitely interesting to read about, watch you tube tutorials on and spend vast amounts of time creating pinterest boards for inspiration for their own – I know because I am one of these people!

Well obviously it didn’t actually happen – depression and anxiety happened and a loss of self-confidence and the stresses of becoming a single mother took its toll.

Skip, jump, leap and frolic ahead several years and I remembered I had this empty vessel waiting to become my new project (because I haven’t got enough to do, clearly).

So the whole perfect parenting thing went out the window after a couple of years and life is rather different now. My mini human is now 7 years old, going on 17, I am a business owner, entrepreneur, professional actor (again) and have quite a lot on my plate – no time for that veggie patch now, in fact I am pretty shit at all things domestic, (I recently killed the basil plant and burnt a pizza), so you get the picture… I am a HOT MESS.

So this blog is going to be about just that.

I have spent many years fighting the good fight to feel like a good human, but the threat of failure and the need for perfection often stopped me from achieving things, acting on creative ideas and putting myself out there for my career. I also commit a lot of my time to beating myself up for not being the perfect mother, feeling guilty at most points throughout my son’s life and tying myself up in knots just to appear to be holding all my shit together.

So this is a new beginning, a challenge if you will – to break the cycle of creative self sabotage and to fight my paralysing perfectionism, to be open and frank about some of the things in life that I don’t usually talk about, mainly because I am a single working parent with no social life and very few friends to talk to, (can you hear the tiny violin?) and to keep a diary of some of the new projects and tasks I am taking on – the accountability factor, which I am expert in avoiding.

So dear readers, if there are any out there… brace yourselves, here comes the train wreck that is my life – look out for my adventures into dating after being single for 7 years, literally not even sure what is down there anymore, healthy living quests, parenting fails, adulting fails and general ramblings on life.

Welcome to my fort kids – it has crayons, fairy lights and gin!