I Dropped 2 Medicine Balls….in weight that is


I can vividly recall that sinking feeling of putting on weight.The sinking feeling was emotional, not the furniture bowing due to weight gain. I felt like I went to bed my normal size then woke up pudgy.  I had a bad spell with anxiety and depression so was put on medication which helped but I suspect started the weight gain.  Add a move to the UK from Canada , then a few years latter began a  solid 5 years of pregnancies.

After my youngest was born, my sister selfishly deiced to get married and make me her Matron of Honour. I was honoured and a matron at the time but I was also faced with standing in a wedding party consisting of triathletes and avid cyclists. The only solace I took from this prospect was that my heaving bosom would probably detract form my lack of leanness.

I saw a personal trainer and lost some weight but I couldn’t  keep it off. It was mostly due to being a busy mum with 3 kids age 5 and under, feeling tired and being in the wrong head space -I gave up. I  made excuses as to why  I would have to accept being overweight. It did bother me though. I knew it wasn’t healthy and I also love clothes, fashion and what I like to wear no longer suited me. I lost my fashion groove, I lost my figure. I became an excuse making person which wasn’t at all my style. My usual approach is very much ‘ don’t moan about it, try to fix it.Actually more like ‘do or do not there is not try’!

As an actor too, I kept getting put forward for ‘fat roles’ or the ‘at risk diabetic patient’ for medical role play I was always the ‘concerned about being overweight’ case study.

Add all the above into a deteriorating marriage which in hindsight had me comfort eating. Eventing was going wrong. I was supposed to be skinny not fat. I am someone who is very much a mama bear and wife-divorce was my only option but not a happy one.With my history of anxiety and depression I was in a bad bad  angry miserable headspace. I could have stayed there but I didn’t.

Fast forward to Christmas 2015 I was in Calgary visiting my family with my kids realising that divorce was inevitable. It was -20  degrees celsius which meant ice skating outdoors! One of my favourite things to do. Crisp, frozen air, the carving schkreetch sound you skates make, the social nature of skating with pals and family,  and the mind cleaning effect it has. My legs got toned, my head started to clear. I felt good. I knew I had to keep this up when I returned to London. Outdoor exercise with people!

Cue New Years day. I’m back in rainy London, knowing I was going to file for divorce -I needed to keep fit otherwise I would descend  deeper into despair. But how? The only gym I could afford was grim-a grim gym. Not motivating, crowded a stuffy. Then it happened . One night on Facebook my daughter’s former gymnastics coach sent me a page like for KingFit  Personal Training ,run by one of the gymnastics dad’s Andy King,  advertising outdoor group exercise. It was like those moments in a movie where the heroine is at a loss, a crossroads and a magic ticket, blows into her house from out of the blue.

I went to a trial class mid January, feeling a bit intimidated as I was embarrassed by my wobble and was worried Andy would be sniggering at my muffin top. Well, let me tell you it wasn’t like that at all He laughed at me but mostly because I couldn’t’ catch a tennis ball. I had always been fit but not a fan or sports-especially ones that involve balls. Crossed eye as a child. Balls frightened me. Anyway I digress. I loved the FitStart classes so I,  for the first time in my life, made time to exercise. I took Fridays off of work ( I’m self employed)so I  had no excuse. I went every  Friday. Still do.  Then it happened . I needed a bigger hit.  Before I knew it my trainers were on, my play list was full of awesome work out tunes and I was galloping through Richmond park. This too was thanks to a motivational message form Andy. This act of running happened every Sunday. First 4k , then 5k and now I’m up to 10k The combination of the  varied circuit training and running made me feel reborn or rather at my age probably recycled. The motivation to keep fit was a mixture of the social aspect of the 5 others training with me and seeing results, feeling better having better skin and above all my appetite decreased. I felt full for the first time in years after eating .  To my shock it was because I wasn’t depressed anymore. I was stressed and upset with my divorce but all the boxing let me punch off my anger. The battle rope let me whip the blues in the butt while simultaneously trimming my waist, toning my obliques.

I replaced pasta for courgette spaghetti, made sure I was very mindful of how much bread I ate, snacked less and drank more water. The other thing I realised was I didn’t weigh myself nor did I obsess over the weight loss or compare my weight loss with others. I would try and lose weight with my friends and then get discouraged if my weight wasn’t shifting as quickly. I would get discouraged if the scale wasn’t groaning less. I would lose motivation and give up. This time, I think because I felt so good after doing FitStart I didn’t feel like eating bad food. I wasn’t concerned with weighing myself. I wanted to keep feeling good so naturally did things that  me make me feel healthy.This was my focus rather than lose weight. FitStart has become the highlight of my week-exercising and socialising. I need to chat on most occasions. Exercise is no different. We actually laugh while pushing our bodied to the limit.

I went to the Dr and guess what he told me, guess what he told me? He said girl you’ve lost 10kg!!! That is the equivalent of  2 of the medicine balls we ball slam with. It has all fallen into place like a well slammed medicine ball. I’ve lost weight, made friends, combated depression and embraced courgette spaghetti.I haven’t quite let quinoa ask me out on a second date though  And most importantly, I’ve got my fashion groove back. Floaty boho chic with lipstick in a body that has shed two medicine balls.

Plumper,big hair                               Thinner,big hair

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chubby nice jugs



The cheeky salsa is simple,quick & very refreshing.

2 med-lg punnet of strawberries
2 limes
1/2 red onion
green chilli (optional)
A bunch of fresh coriander
sea slat to season
Blue corn chips or any tortilla is fine but blue just look so darn purdy

-chop up the strawberries in little chunks as you would if making tomato salsa.
-juice the limes and pour over the strawberries.
-chop onion and add to mixture.
-chop the coriander coarsely and add to salsa.
-add the green chilli if you want it spicy.
-season with sea salt

Let it mellow in the fridge for apron an hour so the flavours blend but it will taste lovely even if you serve it straight away.

It goes nicely with Corona and lime or margaritas.

Bruschetta Chicken with Garlic Spinach


Bruschetta Chicken with Garlic Spinachbruschette chicekn


tomatoesFor the Bruschetta:

-6 ripe yet firm vine tomatoes.
-a good handful of basil chopped and washed

-1/4 of a small red onion
-tbs plus more to drizzle olive oil
-drizzle of balsamic vinegar
-sprinkle of coarse sea salt and freshly ground ball pepper       

For the Chicken and Spinach

4 Chicken Breasts slices into strips

250 g Spinach
2 gloves of garlic
olive oil


Make the bruschetta about 1 hour ahead of time so the flavours marry……and by that I don’t mean argue and separate.
-Chop the tomatoes and onions into small pieces add to a medium bowl
-wash and chop the fresh basil into small pieces leaving a few leaves who for decoration then add to tomato and onion mixture
-add the olive oil and stir
-drizzle the balsamic vinegar
-season with the sea salt and ground black pepper

For the chicken I used the George Forman grill but if you don’y have one, use a non stick frying pan pan with olive oil.
-fry the chicken strips into cooked through.
-in a smaller pan heat a few tsp of olive oil then add the garlic cloves (crushed).
-sauté the spinach until it is cooked but careful not to over cook.
-season with a dash of salt and pepper

To serve:

Put the bruschetta on the plate, then place the chicken strips on top of the bruschetta .Place the spinach next to the chicken and bruschetta. Garnish with fresh basil.


chicken adn bruchette dish

Chorizo,Prawn and Rocket Courgette Spaghetti


chorizo and prawn b

Serves 4 or 1 greedy guts

-tsp extra virgin olive oil.
-a handful of chopped onion.
-2 garlic cloves.
chorizo (I prefer the whole chorizo over the pre chopped)
-one pack of sustainable pre cooked prawns.
– 2 orange mini peppers or any pepper you like but I prefer the little orange or yellow for this recipe.
-small packet of rocket.
-one pack of courgette spaghetti or spiralise 2 medium courgettes if you are the sort of person who home spirlarlises!
-a nice handful of feta for crumbled before serving.
Cooking Method:
-heat oil in the pan. Add onions and garlic. Chop the chorizo in half circles then add to pan.
-allow chorizo to heat through making a nice chorizo oil residue.
-add peppers.
-cook for a few minutes then add the courgette spaghetti
-cook until it is soft.
-add the prawns and heat accruing to packet.
-season with with seasalt l and back pepper.
-serve with rocket and feta.

It goes nicely with a white Rioja to incorporate the Spanish origin of the chorizo and the white doesn’t overpower the prawns and veg.
Recipe by Courtney Cornfield


Early to Mid 40’s -Tougher than you Think



Early Mid 40s is Tricky. I am 43 and I think so far it is the toughest age I have been. I am getting divorced so that doesn’t help. But with this experience I have reflected a lot on what it means to be in my early mid 40s. I have come to the realisation that it is and probably and will be the toughest age I have been .My 20s were full of hope, 30 full of marriage, love and new motherhood. 40s not so smooth.
For starters, any product advertised to us involves a miracle promise of youth, a miracle promise of looking beautiful and a miracle promise of feeling younger. It is basically saying we as 40 something women cannot possibly be happy the way we look given our age and must strive to look younger. We cannot simply moisturise or have saggy tummies. We have to have tighter younger skin, a youthful shade of hair and flatter tummies denying that we have created life in them.Our vitamins tell us we need to feel younger too. I have more energy in my 40s than my 30s mostly down to the fact that I am not pregnant or raising babies and /or toddlers.
As an actor, 40 feels like a void job wise. I am too old to play the ‘real looking mum’ despite the fact that I have real kids who are real ages. Yet, I am too young to play the grandma. I could play the mum to teenagers but aside for that, it is limited. My son gets roles-he is 6. I never get to play his mum for adverts or stills. She is always younger thinner and has strait hair.
Next is the dating scene. I haven’t even ventured this far as I am petrified. I am not ready. I feel I am the wrong demographic. From what I have read, heard form other women in my situation, it is tough. For a women in her 40s to date, the possibilities are not endless. They’re fickle and limited. Men in there early to mid 40s do not want to date a women in her early to mid 40s. They need a 20 something to validate their masculinity. They need to ensure they still have it. Women are happy with a man of a similar age-there is nothing per se unattractive about a man who is in his 40s just because he is in his 40s. The rules are the same. If you get along and he isn’t a jerk, then you are relatively compatible. We women ( well this one doesn’t) do not need validating. The thought of a younger man activates far too many maternal instincts than tiger instinct. I know I’m a minx, I don’t need a younger man to prove it. Maybe too, the men prefer younger women because at my age we see through all of the crap-we’ve lived. We want to cut to the chase and just get to know each other and enjoy spending time together. I understand that in some cases true love can be found with a 20 something-I can’t deny that. But from where i am standing our waters are being over fished.
Maybe advertisers need to focus on the youthful man products for the 40 + man instead of selling them to us women. Make men feel younger with their razors. Make them feel more youthful with aftershave. Make them feel like it is ok to be 40. We are cool with ageing. I’m pretty sure we are happy to have our real ages represented in advertising too which would inevitably make it easier for a woman in her early to mid 40s reassure a man that dating someone his age isn’t so bad.
I’ve had my kids I’m back working almost full time . I’m strong. I am sure of who I am but I am surrounded by media, products and men who aren’t t sure of who they are. It’s a tricky demographic. I hope I can survive it.

Boob for Thought


IMG_7482I was having lunch with a group of ladies the other day who I know though work. Lunch was lovely. The conversation varied from light-hearted telly to putting the world to right. Then, much to my surprise the tone of the discussion shifted to that of mild outrage surrounding the topic of over exposed boobs when breast-feeding in public.It was sparked off by the news story of the man in the USA who took a photo of a breast-feeding women in a cafe and it went viral. I nearly burped out loud as I had just taken a gulp of my sparkling water. Did I just hear you ladies right? You feel it inappropriate if a woman shows too much boob whilst breast-feeding? Most of these ladies had in fact had babies and breast-fed so this made me feel flummoxed.
The issue was not about breast-feeding in public as the general consensus was that this is totally acceptable but the degree of boob exposure was the issue. The potential to offend others goes up exponentially and is directly proportional to the surface area of boob exposed. At least this is what I surmised from our post lunch pre dessert/coffee chat.
My thoughts were that if you need to whip it all out to latch the starving baby in record time then do. If this offends other diners, shoppers, passengers then they have the problem. If they happen get a glimpse of nipple, lucky then. At that very moment, your nipple really is just an udder. It is the place the milk exits the woman and enters into the baby’s mouth which will inevitably nourish the baby and probably allow the baby to sleep, smile, hydrate etc. . I know, who knew right?
It was argued you can sneak your boob out discreetly without making a big show. Well yes, sometimes this is possible if you are wearing the right outfit, the climate is right but sometimes it isn’t. There are those times when your top wont’ stretch enough to allow the baby to tuck under. There were times when  I fought with the flappy nursing bras and needed to crawl out from my discreet muslin feeding yurt to adjust. Starbucks can be a warm place which means a baby might feel a bit warm under a blanket while feeding but this baby must learn that many people  will be offended so mummy needs to over heat you slightly.
I could go on . If you are offended by OEBFB (over exposed breast-feeding boob) then at this point I won’t convince you otherwise. What I will say is this:We don’t’ ban butt crack /plumber bum in public. How many tines have I had to stare at a miss aligned g-string peering out of a pair of jeans along with a bit of butt crack? I’ve lost count. There was the gymnastics competition I sat through for 2 hrs with a view of a mans butt crack in front. I would have given anything to have a breast-feeding mum in front. It is ok for women to wear see through blouses and show nipples, cleavage, mid riff, but people still think getting out  a boob without much thought for other people is selfish?? They’re boobs doing what they ought to. The afore-mentioned , the last I checked ,aren’t nurturing the life of a wee baby either. But hey ho more acceptable.

Having the belief that some women make a big show of it is more than likely further form the truth than you may think. I’m pretty sure she is thinking I need to feed my baby as quickly as possible before people get upset and /or offended by the baby screaming? Or, i need to feed this baby quickly as the poor thing is starving. Not, hey, what a great chance for me to pretend I work a Hooters while I feed my baby.
Take home message, don’t be offended. Don’t make a scene, don’t stare for too long either because guess what, that is inappropriate. What I can say, is chances are if you are in Barnes and whipped out a bottle and fed your baby this would cause more outrage than a single OEBFB.

Mrs Robinson’s Cupcakes

Mrs Robinson’s Cupcakes

Would I have an affair? Would I have an affair?

I’ve thought about this a lot. No. No I would not have an affair. Mainly because it would involve getting a babysitter, and that is time consuming. If a handsome man lured me away from my marital bliss to a hotel for some rumpy pumpy, I think I would simply sleep in the hotel sheets with the high thread count – no sleazy hole for me – order room service, and have a long nap. Maybe I’d make time for a bubble bath and my book. I would – of course – pay the hunk back for the room, and send him on his way.

If it took lying and saying I was having an affair just to escape to a decent hotel for some respite, then yes, I might lie about having one. The guilt would be the same – because as a mum to three young kids and a wife to an artistic man I have very little time to totally unwind. And when I do, I feel guilty. Guilty that I am resting, guilty because I am resting and the laundry is piled taller than my eldest child (who I might add is in the 97th percentile for height). Guilty that I should be playing with the kids, losing weight, dusting, hoovering, writing, (which, obviously, I am doing now.) Or – if I am not guilt ridden whilst resting – all I can hear is screaming and feel the mess building as the chaos spirals out of control. The resting then starts to become rather stressful.

So, I fantasise – about lying about having an affair. No sex. Just the thrill of a cheeky escape to have a quiet bath in a tidy bathroom and a nap in a fluffy bed that I don’t have to make. I couldn’t let my husband know because he would want to come too, and then so would the kids , so the illicit hotel adventure would become a Travelodge with an adjoining room. Travelodges do not have high quality bedding. Nor do they have little travel toiletries. Which is great for a budget holiday or a limited expense account – but for God’s sake if I am going to indulge in hot afternoon (hot because of the bath, and a spanking……clean room) then it is going to be classy.

If I had an affair I wouldn’t settle for a middle aged man who is in a similar stage in life to my husband. No – I’d want a hunky thing who is mad for sex and doesn’t think much. So my housewife retreat is going to be the accommodation equal to a simple-thinking, energetic good-looking man with pecs. The hotel equivalent to pecs would be a four-poster bed with a TV positioned so you can watch in bed without craning your neck, and very powerful batteries in the remote so you can change channels and not move. What bliss. I can’t imagine the joy a secret hotel affair would bring , let alone the excitement of being so deceiving. Given that my husband would get very jealous of the nap and well-positioned telly in bed, it’s best not to mention my plan . A gal can dream…

Oh my – I think my saucepan has just boiled over.

Tuck Tuck Goose -All About my Tummy

Tuck Tuck Goose -All About my Tummy

I never gave much thought to cosmetic surgery. Mostly because I never had much reason to consider it, that was until I had kids. Cliché I know but I didn’t fully appreciate how much my tummy would resemble a rhino’s arse. I don’t need to explain what the belly button is.

With my first, I had too much amniotic fluid therefore, unless I could have added Lycra to my skin composition, it was beyond repair. But hey ho, I loved being a new mum and this was part of the deal. I did have to consciously ignore the French mama in my ante natal group who was in a belly top just two weeks after giving birth. I thought I was looking good having taken in the elastic waistband on my maternity jeans by two button holes.

Gradually, as my tummy tried to regain some of its former glory I noticed that the consultant hadn’t matched my stretch marks up after my emergency C-section. When I had my third he didn’t find it relevant when asked if I had any complications with the first or concerns. He told me, regrettably, that he was unable to ‘line them up’.

I did start to think that after my fourth and last baby (number two was born asleep sadly) that maybe I would consider surgery to pull back the skin and excavate my belly button. It seemed like it might be the best option until I read some scary tales of failed cosmetic surgeries. I thought, hmm unless it is life threatening, then I figured I wouldn’t put myself through the stress. Painkillers would have been fun but not worth the tucking and poking.

So now, I try to say I’m happy with myself. The best I can do is to accept my saggy tummy. I do appreciate that my tummy sags for a beautiful reason but then I remember lots of mums have lovely tummies and more kids than me. I do think I would be a bit happier with a smaller tummy –superficial I know. However, for me the closest I will get to a tummy tuck is when I tuck it all into my trousers on a daily basis!

Bad Year Gone Good


Bad Year GoIMG_7482ne Good

Last year at this time, things were good. Life was running smoothly. Then a week later this time last year life began to plummet . Sept. 30th my youngest son and I set off to Dublin as he was doing a photo shoot for Aer Lingus. It was fun. He was great. We met some lovely people from our agency. I met a man called Fergal( not as in met a man). Love that name.It was one of those experiences that could have been dull as we were in an airport for 24 hrs but it was fun. We flew back and once we landed everything began to unravel. The cat died. There were some health scares. Some surgery. Death in the family. Bullying. I’m not making light of any of these situations by the way. They are all part of the patchwork of the quilt of despair I seemed to be sewing .Throughout the year I stumbled(literally), was kicked while I was down(figuratively). But I am proudly a Weeble. I wobble but I don’t fall down. I am programmed to just keep going even though I felt like crawling into a hole and crying while watching Beaches.
I had some good bookings that were definitely tonic for the soul. I did, however put them to the back of my mind once the shoots were done as I have learned that some shoots never come to fruition for various reasons. Of course as I’m a sensitive an actor I assume it is all my fault.Woe. The campaign is delayed. You can’t actually see yourself in anything despite being in front of a camera for 12 hrs. I took them for what they were. Had a lot of fun. Met some geniuses along the way. I digress.
We had a fun summer in Canada so I thought finally, life is cutting itself out from a new cloth. But nooooooo.
Cue August. The kids and I all went for a family casting then we were going to the park to play football. We were a picture of a little photo shoot family. All match matchy, exchanging warm smiles and giggles through a soft filter with moving music as the score to our day played in a perfect circle of fifths. ( well not quite).After the casting we would then be the ‘little frolic in the park family.’There must be a German compound word for both of these familial dynamics. The reality was I was in fact one of those mums who falls over a disabled ramp and breaks her foot so we became that crazy loud family in A and E with the glares from people asking why that woman doesn’t have anyone looking after her 3 small kids while she waits 4 hours for an x-ray and plaster.
I was a broken woman. I had no change for the snack machine. The A and E desk guy suggested I walk to the Costa at reception. *insert swear*off A and E man. Hello, broken foot, Costa is a 10 min walk if both your feet work. So we are bored, decaffeinated hungry, poor, I’m in pain, my phone battery is dying and the kids father was not picking up his phone, He’s a pianist so that is not uncommon. I was silently railing and cursing like King Lear crossed with Michael Douglas Falling Down. My foot, My soul. My everything. I’m hungry. We’re all hungry.
I finally get home, with my new cast and 3 hungry kids in a taxi. How will I tend to my flock? How will I clean. I cant’ get them to and from school.Two of then have birthdays coming up. Countless lessons that need a chauffeur. Arse. Arse Arse. Oh and let’s add some drama from our flats as I am the freehold director……. once again -arse.
My friends were my village that helped to raise my children during those 6 weeks. I love them. All of them. Among my silent cries were loud cries. Boredom,ennui, desperation. I must mention there was and still is other tricky ‘stuff’ that was adding to this state of mind but I’m not going to venture into that pot of despair just yet.I only mention it so you don’t think I was only pitying myself because I couldn’t carry a latte with crutches or that I would have to forgo John Lewis for a t least a month.
This was mixed with countless “Oh the irony, you tripped on a disabled ramp. haha-great material for your stand up. Oh you got a cast after a casting haha” Shut up. All of you. It is no longer funny. I am experiencing despair.
Then one day, the ‘things will get better moment ‘happened. I was sitting on my sofa crying from pain/boredom/ennui/BILLINGTONS-packs-web11despair/ while simultaneously torturing myself looking at the Spotlight jobs I knew I could have got (well might have stood a chance of getting an audition) if I could actually leave the house. I was missing the thrill I got when my mobile rang and I could see if was form one of my agents (I know -agents. Not one but two). I lamented. Then it happened. I received a text form a friend with a photo attachment that read this you ?’ It was me. My face. My face was on a bag of Billington’s caster sugar. One of the shoots I did in June came to fruition and there I was on a bag of caster sugar. The shoot itself was such an inspiring day as I was fortunate enough to be photographed by my new favourite genius Seamus Ryan. An utter joy to work with and so much fun.
First the sugar bag then my face popped up in a Sainsbury’s magazine. Then as if things weren’t getting better it was in Grazia. Right next to the horoscopes. I could hardly breathe from excitement, .At first thought it was asthma then perhaps a panic attack. But no. It was pure and utter euphoric breathlessness and not the sex kind. I had thought my career had peaked at the Rentokil safety video, when I had to pretend I had rats and wood rot.Or the time I did the conga with Kevin Bacon in the EE adverts. Just as I was catching my breathe realised my face was everywhere .Well everywhere at Earl’s court for the Cake and Bake show which I couldn’t get too with a broken foot. There were giant versions of my face. Medium versions. Me .My face. Eating cake. My face on a Zoe Paterson Cake. Sniff . I reflected on my life .This Canadian prairie gal born on a cold snowy mid Feb morning has hit the big times. I was known for my baking in Uni and not academic achievements btw So this was big.
Almost a year to the date my life began to unravel it gradually started to mend bookended with lovely Irish connections.My nan was Irish so maybe she had some thing to do with it all. My life, well It is still fraying, I will admit that .Who would have thought though that a bag of sugar would have saved my soul. All because I have great agents and a charming( genius ) Irish photographer liked the way I looked with cake and a cheeky grin on my face. So here you have it. If life gives you lemons make a drizzle cake with Billington’s caster sugar…and hang out with some Irish people if you can.

by  Courtney Cornfield

Diary of a Mother Actor (Mactor)-The Casting



Lights, camera…oh crap I can’t find a babysitter.

This is often how my daydreams come to a grinding halt. Inspired by reality, as a mummy to three and an actor even when I visualise success, my own world pops the dream. My reality is not a bad reality by any means. In fact, I consider myself rather fortunate. However, my chosen career path does have its obstacles as most of them do but I am here to tell you about mine.

Having kids and working be it part time or full time is always a juggle. Having kids and working full time as a mummy is always a juggle as well. So throw in a career that is last minute, involves castings that are unpaid though childcare must be paid, combined with a husband who has an almost equally unpredictable schedule you get a healthy number of obstacles. The best part of obstacles though, is learning how to jump higher than them, run around them or know when to accept that some you simply cannot overcome.

My agents are lovely. They put me forward for jobs and when I get a casting, these can be anywhere from 3 a week 1 a week or 1 a month. Either way, the casting details are usually emailed the day before. The majority of them are in London and inevitably I will need childcare in some form. First reaction is ‘woo-hoo a casting’ followed by ‘arrrg what if I can’t find childcare’ Then my impatience grips me as I stand waiting for the childminder to text back her answer. I fret. I mean really, isn’t-2 mins far too long to have to wait for an answer? This is my career, my life my….*thought/rant interrupted by affirmative text stating childcare is possible’*. Relief sets in; I call my agents and say I can go. I read the casting brief, prepare my outfit and finally breathe. The next day, once the kids are safely at school I get ready and make my way to the station. The train is peaceful. My coffee is uninterrupted and Grazia is my reading material of choice. Not very advanced I know but it doesn’t add extra strain to my already overloaded brain. The commute to the casting is one of the biggest perks to my job. A 30min journey on a train during off peak hours all by myself. I don’t need to worry about finding room on the carriage with space for buggies nor do I need to growl and snarl at the people who ignore me and continue to sit in the flappy seats while I stand with my buggy ‘accidently’ running over their toes.

At the casting I get the usual nerves, compare myself to the other actors in the room, realise we are all doing the same thing, smile say good luck. There was one time when a young model said how she was at a loss because she only had the one casting that day and had nothing else to do. She felt unproductive and it was a bit of a waste coming in to town for just the one. The other mummies in the room all had a communal gasp and looked at one another in solidarity. For we all knew, that this casting wasn’t just a casting, it wasn’t just a chance to show the casting director our talents for potential paid work. It was also our little escape from the house, a break, a chance to wear make-up, have a coffee that didn’t get cold or that didn’t involve a competitive coffee morning. Read a book or e-hem Grazia. They were sacred. A moment of silence. All hail the casting.

The casting comes and goes. On the way home I ruminate about the casting as most actors do. Some don’t’. I admire them. My rumination tends to go something like this; Did I blink during my ident? Did my eyes cross? Was I believable in my dismay at burnt toast? Then my mummy reality hits and it is “arrg I’m running late. Child care has just rolled over into another hr. I’m stuck on a bus and need to get food for dinner before picking them up but now I am out of time.

I mentioned obstacles earlier. Here they are. Sometimes, I can’t find child care so I have to bring my 4yr old with me and hope I friend can collect my older two from school. If this isn’t’ possible I need to see if I can negotiate the casting time so it finishes in time for me to get back to do the school run but also with enough time for me to collect my 4yr old from morning  nursery.  He also models so he is used the casting studio and he is so lively I don’t ‘have time for nerves. The nerves can shift from I hope I get the booking to I hope they don’t’ run late so I can collect my kids on time. However, I know this sound selfish, but this means Spider man comics take the place of Grazia, the coffee will be cold and most often spilled, and the planned attack on people sitting in the flappy seats must be organised for my buggy, my son and his Trunkie full of dinosaurs.

One time I had a casting in Kent. It was being held in a conference room at a hotel and one this day I had one child off school with a non- life threatening illness and the other didn’t have nursery that day. I rang my agents in a panic and they soothed my nerves by reassuring me the kids could come with me.

Flash forward to casting. In the room is the casting director, some other people another actor playing my husband, the  kids and me. We are asked to improvise a normal morning before work. The scene ends in a kiss goodbye, well a peck really. The kids gasp. Panic sets in. They will return home and that night tell daddy of how mummy took us to a hotel, a man kissed her and we were told he was just an actor. The therapy bills for the kids are already adding up.

Reading this you might think but why do it? Why not work at John Lewis and do am-dram in the evening? I could do this but I don’t’. I love what I do. I enjoy castings and the spontaneous nature of my job means I don’t’ get bored or feel trapped at home. I can choose my schedule as well. If it is a hectic week I can block out days with my agents. A few shoot days can be equal to a few months of other work so I can concentrate get my work days over the course of a few days. As deranged as it sounds, I hope the kids can see that you can work and be a mum without missing out on their lives very much at all.  If you love something that involves hard work, keep doing it as you will find a way to make it work. If you can’t it is okay to step back. (I m not the sole income earner which makes a huge difference as well I must add) As hard as it is because in the blink of an eye another chance can crop up. One of the kids said the other day ’Mum can you go into to London soon and have your picture taken so we can go to the child minder? She has cool toys.’ I think the kids are cool with it all  When I do get a booking it is all worth it though this sets the wheels in motion again with the same stress of can I find a childminder, what if the kids are sick on shoot day, will I pay more in child care than I earn …..