Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in retrospect

So it's the last day of 2014 and as everyone does, I'm looking back. And it's actually been the best year I can remember for a while. I know not everyone can say the same - I have some friends who have had a truly dreadful year. But for me 2014 was a good one. A dream came true - Cosi Fan Tutte in the West End - I met a hero - Armistead Maupin. My boys are getting older - Toby in the Juniors now - and easier. I had three amazing holidays. I made some new friends and appreciated some old ones. So I'm feeling positive going into next year. No idea what it will hold.

We never celebrate New Years - even before children it was rare for us to go out and party. Tonight I imagine will be a quiet one. But I'm thankful for the year I've had. Even though I rarely blog, I had to write this post and look back!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Crazi Fan Tutte!

So my dream came true last Friday -made my west end debut in Cosi Fan Tutte at the Coliseum. It was a magical wonderful night - made all the more specialby my lovely sis and sis-in-law sending me the BIGGEST bouquet imaginable. I saw it by the stage door and assumed it was for one of the principals and then squealed with excitement when I saw it was for me!
Reviews have been mixed - I think we're like Marmite - you either love it or if you're an opera purist you hate it....

So if you're in London and at a loose end - there are 11 shows left....

Sunday, April 20, 2014 actor post for the first time in ages....

I got a job! Woo hoo! I'm two weeks in but am taking the opportunity the Easter weekend is giving me (ie I am not exhausted) to update my blog!

I'm working with Improbable Theatre in collaboration with English National Opera. Phelim McDermott, the director, has directed operas before and gets a skills ensemble involved - actors and performers - to help construct the world of the opera.

We're doing Cosi Fan Tutte -a classic Mozart comedy - and it's set in Coney Island in the 50's - and the skills ensemble are the carnys. We're an interesting combo as you can see!
The majority come from cabaret and circus - we have a contortionist, a fire eater, a cabaret freakshow all-rounder (piercings, blockhead, fire, glass walking etc), a strongman, a sword swallower, a giant, two little people, a fusion bellydancer, an actrobat and then ME! And one other actor who specialises in physical theatre and has worked with Phelm before.

It took me a while to find out why the hell I was there - I couldn't do any stunts or tricks....(I'm the fat lady and the bearded lady btw)....but in the second week it became very clear - this style of devised performance is what I trained in. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to be so physical and creative.

Working with the singers is awesome - I'm blown away by their talent - not only do they have to remember the lines, sing in tune (and Mozart has a LOT of notes) but they also have to act. It's mindblowing. They're also really lovely to work with - we feel like a company rather than us and them.

You can read more about it here  - Dan Ayling our AD is writing a blog. And Phelim is interviewed about it here.

It's always been my dream to perform in the West End and it's coming true. We open at the Coliseum on 16th May. It's such a beautiful theatre - the shining ball on top is something so familiar.
 And it's definitely the biggest gig I've ever played! 2,359 seats! Argh! This is the view from the stage!

I'll try and post more when I have time. I'm just so utterly thankful to be working again and working on such an amazing production - totally different to anything I've done before.....

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Yet again my resolution for doing a photo a day seems to have fallen by the wayside. Hey ho. My life is chaos it doesn't surprise me.

BUT I have news! Exciting happy clappy news. I've been trying really hard to kickstart my acting career recently - be a bit more proactive. I paid for IMDB pro so now if you look at my imdb page here, you can see my photo. I've done a lot of workshops with The Actors Guild. And I went and saw my lovely agent about why I wasn't getting auditions...and lo and behold 2 days later I'm auditioning.

I met Phelim McDermott whose work I've admired since I saw Shockheaded Peter back in 2002 on the West End. He runs Improbable Theatre Company. And he's directing Cosi Fan Tutte for the English National Opera. I met him last Wednesday - it was a strange audition. This was the brief
We are looking for performers to join our Skills Ensemble for the production. Basically, this is a group of actors and performers who will form an integral part of the production: establishing the world of the opera and facilitating changes of scenery (i.e. moving set/props around), as well as performing routines.
Phelim and set designer Tom Pye have chosen to set the opera in the 1940s Coney Island world of Carnivalesque, Freak Shows and Circus. So, we are looking to people this world with incredible performers of all sizes, shapes and skills. 

It was an utter pleasure just to sit with Phelim who showed me the set design and talked about his ideas. But I just had to be me. And I admitted I couldn't really "do" any freaky tricks - he mentioned they'd seen a lot of glass eaters that day plus a sword swallower - but I talked about work I'd done, devising experience, artists we both knew etc. 

And I got the job! So I must have done something right! So as of next Monday, I'm in rehearsal. And we open on the 16th May. Tickets are insanely expensive and details are here. I'm not sure exactly WHAT I'll be doing in the production - but I'm sure it's going to be amazing. I'll blog when I can about it. It was a mad rush to arrange childcare but I managed it - the universe seemed to be smiling on me as a mum who has SEN kids herself suddenly had a vacancy at exactly the right time. Thank you Karma....

One of the best bits? I get to be on the West End. And go through a Stage Door to work - one of my dreams since I was a little girl. And yesterday I got to go through it for the first time for a wardrobe meeting.....and my heart fluttered. I feel like an ACTOR again goddammit! I've never worked on a stage show this big before. With a live orchestra...and opera's going to be amazing.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Yes! Old pics from the shed. As you can see, this one didn't escape the damp. But I love it. Baby Bert and Baby Me. We've been together since 1991 which is a headfuck really. 23 years. We are so young in this pic!!!


We're finally getting the horrid shed at the bottom of our garden replaced. I thought I'd be able to clear it out at the weekend but I had to do it today without the help of strong husband. Luckily my amazing Daddy came to my rescue and between the two of us we chucked and bagged up years of crap! I am a hoarder. There were lots of things in there that if I'd looked at closely, I'd probably have kept. But I was ruthless (as you can see) and it's all gone. I did manage to salvage some old photos - more of those later methinks.


Clogsilk's birthday! I meant to get a picture of her in her funky new hat (what I bought her) but I forgot. The only pic I took was of these rather posh crisps


Another filler....and another photo of food! I must stop taking food pics for at least one month of there anything better than the retro joy of Arctic Roll?


It's Saturday. So the only thing I do of note is sit in a freezing cold shed, surrounded by the smell of manure, and watch my boy on a horse. I wanted to share this one, even though I've already PADed him this month, because this was Oscar with a new leader - he's usually too nervous to let anyone but his favourite Charlie lead him - but she wasn't there. So Georgia did the honours and she was fab. And I love her jumper.


I'm not going to have many more Fridays with Clogsilk. I'm going to miss our adventures when she starts work full time in February. Boo hoo. So we just HAD to go to Bluewater and enjoy the last day of Blue January Yo Sale. HOW many pictures of sushi have I had this month?


God help me...I accompanied Toby's Year 2 class to the National Gallery. I was NOT allowed to take photos in the gallery but I snuck this one (apologies to the Gallery but I was taking the kids picture, not the picture's picture). The tour guide was very snotty and quite rude to our class teacher. As someone who works in Museum Education myself, I wasn't impressed. Kids didn't care though. They had a ball....I was exhausted!


I created sausage pasta bake in an attempt to make Toby eat it. He picked out the sausage. Left the rest....sigh...


A total filler cheat pic - I didn't take ANY photos today!

God I'm so behind! Already!! 20/365/2014

Apologies for utter crapness. And be prepared for mass uploading here!

On Mondays I tend to escape the house (my cleaner comes and I have middle class guilt and can't be there when she is) so I snuck to Westfield Stratford. It was so nice! Really quiet compared to the pre-Christmas rush period. Had a mooch....and a coffee.....

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Toby's birthday party today at Pizza Express in Blackheath. Kids loved it. I was knackered!


My lovely chap allowed me to shave his beard off. I got part way through...and the battery ran out. So he looked quite demented for an hour and was unable to leave the house....


Clare and I at Bluewater playing with our cameras. And eating sushi. AGAIN! It's only cos Yo have a sale on!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


I think my feet look funny here!


Yes that is the love of my life. My partner of 23 years. Being a sock doggy.....


I baked!


It wasn't Blue Monday...Yo has Blue menu every day in Jan and I love it....all my favourites

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Aaaand a slightly navel gazing, non photography post....

Since starting PADing again this year, and talking about blogs with some friends the other day, I've started re-reading old posts.

Hindsight is so damn interesting.....reading about how I was struggling before the 4 letters that have come to define my daily existence reared their ugly head. (ADHD in case you're new here)....reading how I struggled with the diagnosis...reading how amazing my friends have been throughout the years, supporting me, listening to me, understanding me.

It's made me sad that Facebook has killed off my blog to all intents and purposes. I used to WRITE. Really write here. And I don't. So I'm going to try and occasionally do one of these non-photo a day posts and get my fingers to record where my brain is so in a few years time I can read it and go - wow - or - glad I'm not there any more - or - wish it was that simple now....who knows.

Life goes so fricking fast. I can't believe Toby is 7. I can't believe I'm Chair of Governors at our school. I can't believe I'm going to be 43 or that Oz will be in double digits this summer.

I'm quite blessed in many ways. I have an incredibly supportive family. I have friends who love me. I'm not working at the moment which is kind of weird. Well, I work one day a week every other week....but that hardly counts!

I'm always wishing for an acting job. Fuck, even an audition at the moment would be nice - but I'm always hopeful without spending hours waiting for the phone to ring. Maybe this year will be my year...maybe I should try the cosmic ordering that I've re-read in previous years, worked quite well....

So let's try that - Cosmic Ordering - universe please bring me an opportunity, an audition, a meeting. Then I can do the work to get the job....

Ok...enough of that. (though it worked the last two times!)

What else can I splarge out of my brain....

Is anyone else missing Google Reader? I used to read so many blogs and now I can't remember where they all are - even though I exported my Reader list I can't find a replacement (I tried Feedly and I hate it). I feel out of touch a bit....but then again I haven't been blogging as much - maybe everyone has slacked off (damn Fbook).

Changing the subject totally. This year will be my 23rd year with my other half. I've been with him over half my life. We have been working at our relationship recently and I'm so happy about it. A few of my friends are divorcing/divorced and it freaks me out. And makes me sad. Even when he's been doing my head in, that hasn't crossed my mind at all. Another way in which I'm blessed.

The boys are growing up. They're easier and harder in many ways. I read back all the posts about nappies, breastfeeding, preschool stuff - it's like a lifetime ago. And a heartbeat ago. Time is funny. To quote The Doctor People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big bowl of wibbly wobbly timey wimey... stuff.

See I told you this would be navel gazing... My inspiration brain has dried up. I'm almost loath to press the publish button....but then again, I always assume no one is reading this but my future I'll press it.....


Sunday lunch in our house - I used to make roast chicken but the boys utterly love Toad in the Hole these days so it's become a staple. I used to cheat and use Aunt Bessie's until I realised how bloody easy it is to make it yourself (and tastier and cheaper!)


Oscar is very scared of all animals. Very nervous and anxious. But since September he's been riding at Willow Tree - a local stables that specialises in kids with SEN. They're brilliant. He always has the same horse and the same leader - Charlie - and when he first arrives he's frozen in fear. But Charlie helps him mount up and then he's off and he's beaming - I know Charlie is more in focus than he is but it's hard to capture when he's on the move. Just love the joyful (if fuzzy) look on his face. NEVER thought he'd sit on a horse, let alone get such pleasure. He's starting to let go of the saddle now and use his reins. And it's worth sitting in a freezing shed for 40 minutes every Saturday morning for this....

Friday, January 10, 2014


Afternoon tea at a friend's house. Totally beautiful table and amazing home made fare....


Lego Minecraft. GREAT idea! Toby's two favourite things combined. Of course muggins here had to build it - all the teeny tiny bricks of it. Took pigging hours...


My baby boy is now 7. Blimey. That went quick....

Wednesday, January 08, 2014


Yo Sushi have their January sale on - like Blue Monday but every day and also with a different menu. And I love them because they put my favourite Yo dish on it - Takoyaki - first had them at a Japanese Matsuri festival and they weren't easy to find until Yo started doing them. Similar to Okonomiyaki, they're small balls of batter with tempura bits in something else - with chunks of octopus. Crispy on the outside, gooey in the middle - with the same dressing as okonomiyaki - kewpie salad cream and barbeque sauce, ginger and bonito which was dancing....I ate two portions!


I went back to choir today - I missed last term cos of Governor duties - and in the basement of the Misty Moon gallery, there's a dalek! It looks completely authentic....

Sunday, January 05, 2014


This is my life...all the males in my family are OBSESSED with it - Rob particularly. We got it on the XBox for the boys, plus a new controller so they can play it split screen....I'm a minecraft widow....I admit I've tried it but it's a bit boring after a while - even on survival....


We got this for Christmas - well the boys did - it's kind of like buckaroo but with a shark. There are not many "games" the boys will play that aren't on a screen - this one is a hit!

Saturday, January 04, 2014


Playing with the fisheye! Sapporo...where else...

Thursday, January 02, 2014


NO filter! Or fancy lenses. Just a lucky shot with some amazing light in Mountsfield Park today. I have another one of Oscar on the frame that I might cheat (already!) and use tomorrow. Was going to collage them but they're beautiful as they are....
Very proud of this shot!

Trying again - Photo a Day for 2014

So...I'm going to attempt to do PAD again - and this is the main reason why.....for my Christmas present my clever husband bought me these funky little iphone lenses. 2 macros, a fish eye and a wide angle. All fit onto the corner of my phone and voila - like having a dslr in my pocket (or almost). I've always wanted macro lenses! So I'm going to try and do PAD again.....let's hope!