Saturday, 21 April 2012


I feel pretty distraught today. And to make matters worse when I go to blog the whole system thing has changed and I can't see the bar anymore that lets me upload photos etc. Helpfully the thing says that a different site is now powering the blog and if I have problems go to google chrome - which I downloaded and still I have problems... Oh to be technically aware... And it seems when I publish this it won't let me have any spaces - no paragraphs....

ARRGGGGHHHHHH I just sobbed on the phone to my best friend for half an hour.

I feel trapped. In a fishbowl. Going round and round and round and just sending myself loopy.

I feel I am boring you all and driving away my readers - what few I have. If the fabulous 8 who reached out and supported me two years ago - are still here - my god I need you now.

I'm not even capable of writing anything - but I feel I need to say this.

I feel frustrated. Angry. Lost. Scared. Sick. I feel a fucking failure.

You see I've always worked hard. Every penny I got in life I have earned. No silver spoon luxury for me - which is great - because earning things is rewarding and tastes even sweeter. I'm the girl who went travelling round the world - a gap year they call it now - and still I did work experience in every country I went to. So ambitious, I worked for free in a NZ radio station every Tuesday and when I lived in Melbourne I had my own radio show at a community radio station. I was the only woman there who shaved her pits. The place smelled of incense masking B.O. but I loved it. Whilst all other travellers where getting stoned and shagging each other (a blanket to cover their modesty on a top bunk bed) - I was writing the script for my little show, hassling folk for interviews and planning song lists.

Upon returning home to the UK, once I finally got a job (I sent 10 CVs out a day. I sent them in valentine cards and Xmas cards. I rang people until I knew the secretaries so well we became friends) - after spending 6 months folding jumpers at the Gap - I worked tirelessly to get other presenting jobs: my methods involved taking boxes of muffins to TV big wigs, with my showreel stuffed in the bottom - or sending a reel covered in sweets - or once I sent a reel with a helium balloon attached. Anything to get someone to watch the damn thing. I called one guy every other week for a year until he caved in and gave me work. Instead of partying with buddies, I spent nights locked in dark edit suites, persuading friends to edit my reel into something watchable. You name it - I tried it - all in the vain quest for work. I did a screen test 5 weeks after having my son - nipples leaking as I waffled on about some inane quiz. I still got the job - for 3 whole months, until the channel shut down. I flew to Ireland when my son was 3 months old - and got another job. It involved me flying to Ireland every week - with a 4 month old baby. I did it and I loved it. The series never got recommissioned. The presenting jobs dried up.

I was 33, with a baby and no job.

What did I really want to do? I wanted to work in TV drama, I just had no idea how to. So I wrote to 8 people in the industry. 7 replied. I met with them all - they said, pick a soap, fall in love with it - and get work on it. Then the world in TV drama will be your oyster. Only problem was there are only 7 soaps in the UK and only 2 in London. Still, I spent a year endlessly watching soaps and dramas and making copious notes. Eventually I got a break - I moved to York for a month - did a 3 hour commute every day and got offered a job on a soap which I had to decline as Husband and home where in London. Finally the soap I really wanted to work on called. In the interview, I started pulling out my notes - notes on shows from 7 months previously. They looked at me as if I was mad. But they gave me the job. I was happy there - for two years, until I had to leave - their policy. You know this story, I won't bore you with it again. Since then - apart from a stint back at the same place for 4 months - I haven't worked.

I had my daughter in Dec 2010 and she is 16 months old. 16 months and no job. The most sociable woman in the world - the woman who can talk a glass eye to sleep - has been alone. With kids. Last September when the post partum depression set in - it was also coupled with 'what the fuck am I going to do?' I wrote to about 20 companies. 3 replied. I met with one. No jobs... No jobs. The recession hit TV hard and unless you were prepared to script edit a show that would move to film in Leeds/York/Manchester for 3 months - then there were no jobs. I know, I thought, I'll write a book! I wrote 15,000 words - gave them to a writer friend who loved it - sent it the agent woman I had had a relationship with (in the work sense) for 5 years. She never replied. I re sent it. She never replied.

So I came up with my crazee plan. Oh yes I did. I wrote a script for an American series. Called up the guy I knew years ago in showbiz TV (the one I called every other week for a year back in '98) - and asked him for a drink. Then I confessed to him that I wanted to give my script to Peter Berg - director of Battleship - because then he just might hand it over to the guy (his mate) that I need to read it. I got a friend to script edit my script - and I polished it. My mate Max - kindly organised for me to go to the junket (where you sit in a room with the actors and director and chat about the movie and it gets filmed). Friends wondered if I was back in presenting again - asking why was I interviewing Taylor Kitsch etc. I lied - said it was a favour for a mate - when in reality, he was doing me the favour. So day of junket arrives and I go, and I am nervous and sweaty palmed and I interview Berg and give him my little USB stick and he promises to pass it on. Has he - who knows? Maybe I will never know. And I get to meet Taylor Kitsch. Bonus. My crazee crazee plan. Told it was looney didn't I? God I am rambling. I don't think I have ever written such a rambling incoherent blog post. Sorry.

Anyway, I have other parts to this plan - others similarly crazee things I won't bore you with. So here I am. No money. I mean nothing. Don't buy clothes, don't go out for drinks, dinner etc. No joy. Just grind. Daily kid stuff and trying to make food last all week. Sometimes I just eat toast. Saves a meal. Husband is beyond stretched. He earns a good salary but it means we barely scrape by. Something has to give. Husband hates his industry - wants to change, but can't afford the drop in salary - but he could if I was working. Husband wants to be the stay at home parent - but he earns more than I could - so he has to work, in a industry he hates - until I can work and then he can think about re-training or changing his job - taking a pay cut. I want to work. I WANT TO WORK. So badly it hurts. But I have no idea how to.

My friend rang me this week - she has a son, a fraction older than Sproglette - and she had a nanny share. It went wrong and so she looked for another nanny - which she worked out cost £27,000 a year. If I had a nanny - which I would have to do if I worked in London as jobs there end around 6, I'd be home by 7ish and nurseries all close at 6pm here - I would be working to pay her. I would barely make enough after paying her and travel costs to warrant it worthwhile. That is even if I was lucky enough to get some script type job in London that didn't involve travelling away for 3 months whilst filming. I am now 39, with 2 children and no job. I look around me - I have one friend who moved countries whilst on maternity leave, took a year sabbatical and then went back - and got her job 3 days a week. I have another who took shares in the company she works for when it started up (the one where her boss tells her to work 4 days and answer the phone at home on day 5 and they will pay her for the whole week anyway) and she cashed it in for £300,000. I know another couple where one until recently was a student - the other gets an allowance from her mother of £2,000 a month - and she doesn't work. Her daughter is at school - so she just has me time. That would dtive me nuts I know - but my god, I would write!!! I would write and not stress about money. I would eat!!! Another friend moved back to Australia (he had done the same job as me) and said 'I have so much work, I am having to turn it down!' I sit here and wonder - what went wrong me? All around me I see these people who make it work - they have babies and go back to their cushy jobs and life is ok. How did I end up here?

At the junket I met all these guys who were there to interview the Battleship folk - for their websites. I was shocked - back in the days when I interviewed Will Smith and Di Caprio etc there was only a handful of TV folk there. A few channels covering it. But now - it is all web stuff! I thought - I can write. I can - usually - just not in this rambling crap post. I could do that stuff! But how to? Where to begin? A frined came round yesterday and she said 'you need to think outside the box.' I am trying to!!!

I want to work. I need money. I am lonely and fed up and don't know how to get this job that would be finacially worth it after paying childcare. I feel like I am punished for having a sceond child. I feel angry that all my hard work to break into TV - twice, in two different arenas - has left me here. With nothing. Failing. I look around and everyone else has money for holidays, and big cars - not that I care about cars - they get from A to B as far as I am concerned - and I don't even know how to pay next month's bills.

Why am I here? I am angry at myself for not getting a normal job - a job that paid bills and had healthcare plans and maternbity and all the things I have never ever had. Sure I had fun - but what price? So will I gadded to Paris to present kids dating shows, and interviewed the stars and friends ooh and ahhed - they are the ones now earning fortunes and feeling secure - and I am where exactly? No one knows what to say to me. How to help. How to advise. I can't afford to meet up with friends to have a drink and plan a strategy out of here. Out of this limboland.

I want out. I am going slowly mad. So for all of you who don't like me out there - you can put the voodoo doll down now. It is working a treat thanks. I am wretched. I am frustrated. I chose to have another child and it has cost me. I do not regret it but I do not know how to get out of this mire that I am in - and I am tired of being in my own head. Until I think of a solution, I need to take a break from blogging - as really there is nothing else to share.


I read in Stylist magazine that a recent study showed that 30,000 women a year were losing their jobs, as a result of being pregnant. Women make up 49.4% of the workforce in the UK are women, 1 in 5 are the household's main breadwinner and we earn 14.9% less than men in the same job - and in the last quater 8 out of 10 people to lose their job were women. One woman in the article couldn't afford the £1,300 childcare it would cost her if she returned to work (she lives in the same area as me) so she became a blogger. I have no idea how that paid her money... But she is far from alone. What were the A levels and degree and endless CV send outs for - when you have a child and have to give it all up? Why the inequality? Why the fight?

Do we have the choices that the women of the 50s didn't? Think about it - do we really?

Friday, 13 April 2012

Martinis in Mexico

So tomorrow is my birthday.

Last one ever in my 30s. How did that happen? A minute ago I was 29, walking out of a bookstore job that drove me crazy - but in hindsight was a lot of fun - and into a job presenting a travel show (that with hindsight I thought would be wonderful but was the biggest nightmare of my life). The same week that I threw a massive party to celebrate 30, I met with a publisher about a teen novel I had written. Life felt exciting after a difficult period. On my actual 30th I went to see 'Blue Crush' and loved it - then husband took me to swanky Italian 'Locanda Locatelli' for dinner; but when my mate - a camp and hilarious TV presenter called Richard Arnold - rang me he thought I said I was going to 'my local Italian' so he tagged along, only realising later that we were having a romantic evening. Or supposed to be. He stayed until the mains were over and then dashed off paying most of the bill.

My 30s spread before me full of potential and excitement. I was happy to rid of the angst and disappointment of my 20s. Not the best decade... 30s - they felt well, womanly - for want of a better word. The time to relax into oneself - now that I knew myself that bit better. Now they are drawing to a close. Only one year left. I've changed careers, moved house, got married and had two children - so it has kept me busy.

Am I where I expected to be? Where I hoped to be? I'm not sure.

Some days are great and I am grateful and happy and ploughing ahead with my crazee plan. Other days I struggle - really fucking struggle - and curse all the choices that brought me here - when I so desperately want to work - so badly need to be with people and chat and laugh and be myself. Some days I am lonely. Some days - like the one in London two weeks ago when I did those interviews - make me feel more alive than anything has done this last year. They remind me of who I am, and who I enjoy most being. I think I like myself best in those moments. When I am lost in a moment - when I meet folk and discover more about them.


The year after Sproglet was born Husband took me on a date - I wore heels and everything - and we headed to a tiny bar in a little old hotel, hidden in a posh part of London, down a cobbled street. We drank martinis fashioned from a trolley by an amazing barman who knew my Husband. He sprayed gin around the glass, shook it dry and then poured in chilled vodka with a lemon twist - slightly charred. One drink and I was a lush. At the next table was a woman and her husband - both in their late 50s... We got talked and spent the night chatting and laughing and sharing. I felt like I had known them for years. They were Canadian, warm and funny - She, Darelene, was a poet and kindly gave me a book of her poetry - and even read from it. I think by the end of the night we had laughed and cried.

As we left Husband knew me well enough to say 'That was your best kind of night wasn't it?' Of course it was. I discovered new people. The same lady wrote to me this week on facebook, inviting me to her holiday home in Mexico. She has survived breast and kidney cancer, and now has two masses on her brain. She is praying to be the warrior I know she is - and to overcome this. I would give anything to share a martini with her in Mexico next winter. It is something to hold onto. A little dream to hope for, for me.


A friend rang me tonight. Someone who knows the very bones of me. Ever dark little nook and cranny - all sides of me - good and bad. She is worried about me. Hates seeing me miserable - the girl she is so used to being full of energy and life and fun. She lived with me in two houses - danced round London with me in my heady single days - traipsed with me on dates, to festivals, to bars, to parties and pulled me away from manys a young boy. Even now she aims to protect me. She offered advice - trying not to judge - hoping to find a solution to the predicament that must face so many women - how to work when childcare makes it too expensive to do so? How to have a life through the crushingly hard early years at home with kids? She knows my struggle - and it is a struggle - and she wants to solve it.

I saw my cousin this week. Her second child is 7 weeks ago - a blissfully slumbering little pink bundle. Her son is just turned 2. She looked so happy - so relaxed, so content, in her big house amidst fields of the farm they own. I wished with all my heart I felt like her. But I don't. I am not her. I can't be in this role - the one that I chose. The one that defines me.

By this time next year, it will be the eve of my 40th. A new chapter, a new decade.

I swear to god I won't be sitting here. I will be working. I will be earning. I will be... somewhere else. I will have a whole new chapter of me to begin. I will not be lonely. I WILL NOT be writing this blog post AGAIN for the 50 millionth time - wondering yet again, what to do and how to do it.


Then, I will join Darlene and sink some fabulous Martinis in Mexico. I think she'd like that.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Bah, Easter Scmeaster.

For the record, I hate Easter. HATE it. Even when I was working full time and got those precious extra days off - hated it. Even before sprogs and Husband, I still loathed it. It is such a nothing holiday. No turkey filled thanksgiving or present giving xmas, no tick or treat halloween fun, or bonfire night fireworks. Just what? Some chocolate eggs - which lets face it are really for kids - and endless long days that feel like Sundays.

The only good Easter I remember having was back in 2000 - when my mate Blair borrowed his sister's car and some mates and I hightailed it to Bristol where some other friends were visiting parents. We all drank too much, wandered around and too the piss out for poor C, who had just run a marathon the weekend before - without really training for it first. He sat like an old man, drinking cider, barely able to walk. It was fun times.

Apart from that, the Easters have just dragged. Too expensive to travel - prices hoiked up on trains and planes, grey skies and hours to fill with two chocolate coated kids. Everyone else seems to have fab plans - bully for them. Husband works so that leaves me always, always, holding the babies. My birthday normally falls around this event - meaning no one is ever around to celebrate - which, doesn't matter these days - being an old hag, but in the past would grate.

I am beyond humbug about Easter. I would cut it from the calendar in a heartbeat. I know, I know, the whole crucifiction story is miraculous and moving and Christ dies so he may save our sins - and believe me, that to me is the most important and interesting part of Easter - the meaning behind it all. I remember watching the beautiful visual feast that was 'The Passion of Christ' (Mel Gibson's film) and feeling very emotional as I left the cinema. As I walked out I passed two old women, tears streaming down their tired faces.

Does anyone even talk about Easter in the truest sense, or are we all too busy ramming cholate in our mouths to care?

Igore me. I will resume humour when this monotonous, dull, tedious holiday is over. Thankfully in just under 48 hours. Amen to that.

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Bitch in the House

Back in 2003 in between presenting jobs, I worked in a bookstore for about 4 months. I left the week before I turned 30, to present a travel show. I was living with my boyfriend (now husband) and we'd been together about 2 years. As I left, I bought some books using my discount for the last time. The one I was dying to read was called 'The Bitch in the House' by Cathi Hanauer. It was a collection of essays about sex, solitude, work, motherhood and marriage, by 26 writers.

It was amazing. However, at the time I was mainly interested in all the essays about sex and living with your partner and all that jazz - as that's where I was in life. The stories of motherhood felt foreign, a territory not yet explored and so held little interest to me.

Years passed, I lent the book out and then one day - it was gone. I missed owning it - which is odd, as I always pass books on, rarely keep any - just the most special ones - as I feel that books should be shared around. Years ago when travelling in Thailand there was a shop where travellers could leave books and swop them and I thought that was how it should be done.

Anyway, I bought it on ebay for a mere £1 and dived into it again, this time as a Mother. It was like coming home - particularly the section 'Mommy Maddest.' The introduction to that chapter talks about 'everywhere, every day there is anger... the quick summer storm kind of anger, the slow burn of anger, the underground anger that sometimes affects what you do or say without your evening knowing it was there...' 'There is the kind of anger that comes when you need to sleep and the child wakes, or you need to soak in the bath and child wants you to see his block tower... Anger is everywhere in the rough and tumble of child rearing as you find out what you can't tolerate, what kind of demon witch you really are, what causes you to flare, to stifle fury back down the throat, to let it out all of a sudden... None of this is simple. Domestic squalor is dark and serious. It leaves behind guilt or sadness. Anger bestows on you a portrait of your soul. It is often followed by guilt. The portrait is more detailed if you have children.'


The essay on 'The myth of co-parenting' by Hope Edelman made me feel more relieved than any piece I have ever read in my life. It was like someone else knew, someone else understood EXACTLY how I felt. I gave it Husband to read. 'Crossing a line in the sand' by Elissa Schappell also hit home. I felt not as alone, not as crazy, not as scared.

To all women - Mothers especially - I recommend this book. It is funny and warm, entertaining and opinionated. It is everything I wish this blog could be. In fact when I wrote my blog, right at the very beginning, this book kind of inspired me to do so - so as we all might not feel so alone in our respective lives. I implore you to hunt it out, to track it down, to borrow it from a friend. I'd be so interested to see what you all thought of it. If it resonated with any of you?

I am the Bitch in My house. My anger simmers, my temper flares. Sometimes I feel so lost in Motherhood that I wonder where I went (like I said in my ME post a few weeks back). The Bitch In The House makes me feel normal and sane and that I am just the same as everyone else. The only difference being, I talk about it.

Forgo the Easter egg that you will spend the evening regretting scoffing - instead get clicking on the web and treat yourself to this book. I promise you won't regret it.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sproglet's first crush.

Sproglet is getting married. The bride to be is also 5, (turning 6 this year), has a long blonde ponytail, big blue eyes and is as cute as a button. She has asked to come to his house; they held hands being 'buddies' on the recent walk to the local sports centre from school, and she has even planted a kiss on him. On the lips.

These are all very new developments. As recently as 4 weeks ago Sproglet disliked girls. He tolerated them, was pleasant, but in general didn't want anything to do with them. When his best bud L would talk about loving this one and that one, he would roll his eyes and get upset if you even mentioned a girl liking him. He was adamant, he played with boys, but girls - a big NO.

Then a few weeks back he mentioned liking Little Miss I. It was just a passing comment. Around the time he commented as Husband skipped through channels, momentarily resting upon 'The Tourist,' "Now SHE, she is really pretty Daddy.' Angelina of course. Then he mentioned sitting next to Little Miss I. Then they talked and she said she wanted to marry him, even though Sproglet's best friend likes her too. Then he agreed to this betrothal.

Stepping from the bath last week, amidst chat about "Mummy are you really meeting John Carter???" He announced that she had suggested they kiss. He was unsure, a bit hesitant, but not adverse to the idea. To solve the dilemma, she just went ahead and kissed him anyway. (Good on you girl, if we waited for men, the species would be extinct). He looked chuffed as he recounted this. The next day he said how she had asked to come and play, and he was desperate for this to happen. So I went to collect him from school to introduce myself to her Mum. A childminder was collecting her instead, so I gave her my number and explained. Then I smiled at Little Miss I and said 'If you're gonna marry Sproglet, then you'd better come for tea eh?' and she blushed.

The next day her Mum texted me saying 'So I hear we are to be in-laws!' Which I thought was great. Apparently she talks of nothing else but Sproglet. He beams when he mentions her, and when I warned that marriage meant living together, he replied 'It doesn't matter, I can cook for her.'

He then told me he likes her as much as me. For a moment a dark shadow swallowed me up, and I thought 'This is it. This is the bloody beginning of my gorgeous boy, my darling son, loving another. OH MY GOD.' Then he reconsidered this and decided no, she wasn't quite in the Mummy love stakes yet. Phew!! Later, he bawled after watching a film called 'Mars needs Moms' (a Mom died and her son was then all alone). He was worried that an alien would get me too. I have never been more relieved. Little Miss I may plant great smackers, but she is a long way off carting him to Gretna Green. Safe to say, I won't be buying my hat just yet.

But the winds have change have rolled on in. And he is only 5. Yikes!!