Our Isolated Bodies.

These are my personal musings on our bodies, what they’re going through, that it’s ok to change & there’s no time like the present to take time and take care.

Don’t panic, they say. Easier said than done, I say.

We’re in the midst of a global pandemic. The level of uncertainty, stress and doubt in our lives is bound to increase. The world is under collective trauma right now, and when societies are hit psychologically like this, there’s bound to be en masse reaction. I’m an over thinker I’m sure, believe me I’ve thought about it. If you too are like myself you may have started to force discipline and structure into your mind and routine. This is totally normal, it’s my coping mechanism for the unknown, I’m simply planning my unemployed day with things to keep me active, mentally enriched, fuelled and happy. However there’s probably no need for a military-like schedule. Especially if you punish yourself for deviating from the course. These stresses might be inviting compulsive and disordered behaviours that it’s good to aware of. If you’ve read any of my previous Positivity Wagens you’ll know I’m in the musical theatre industry and also have struggled with controlled eating, body dysmorphia and Orthorexia. Even if you’ve never over exercised or suffered from disordered eating it’s still an important time to be aware of our isolated bodies. And what they need, and also what they want.

As we move further into the unknown kingdom of isolation, social media is engulfed by fitness videos and recipes. This is wonderful, I’m not putting them down, but there’s also a lot of diet culture and pressure alongside some of these things. A few years ago I believe I chose my worth over my weight after a desperate need to be a certain aesthetic. But that doesn’t stop me from having occasional insecurity and doubts. Thoughts like, I’m not in a show anymore, do I need to up my physical training. My whole Instagram following seem to be doing 12 HIIT workouts a week. I’ve recently started outdoor running again and seem to prefer this than slaving, lifting weights inside. I usually eat a set menu of Pret salads and sexy dried carbohydrate snacks between shows whilst on tour. But now I have time to cook lovely meals and sit and enjoy them. I’m baking. And trying them out. I got a little frazzled & guilty and then realised what’s paramount. Although I’m missing regime and stability, I’m enjoying this slower pace of living and what it’s giving me space to do. And if that comes with a slightly different body but a happy one then I’m game. Essentially it’s enforced down time. For some of us, we probably haven’t done much of this for a long while. It’s enforced. And it could do good.

Firstly, be kind, your passion & discipline isn’t going anywhere.

A coping mechanism I’ve used in the past is self sabotage, picking apart my body, judging myself and then trying to control it. If you work in a very physically judgmental industry, dancing, theatre, sports or something similar, or you may just be hard on yourself. Of course we want to stay in top condition because hopefully we love what we do and want to be raring to go when we’re out the other side and our industries get going again. But take a moment to realise that you don’t have a competition, audition or event for a little while yet. In some cases this could be crushing, financially devastating and career changing. For most of us we hope to see it through one way or another. No matter where on the spectrum, it’s ok to feel heart broken about this, and it’s also ok for you to take a breather. I trained for three years to know my body, different dance techniques and knowledge of the industry. I got a degree in it. That doesn’t just disappear. If you don’t want to practice your time steps today that’s ok. Remember why you fell in love with your dream. I’ll be watching Mary Poppins.

Tell yourself it’s ok.

We’re probably stressed. If you can say that in the last 6 weeks you haven’t felt the tiniest bit of stress you must be superhuman, or inebriated. Emotional eating isn’t ever a sustainable answer but maybe you need to eat more. Dealing with huge amounts of stress, upset and fatigue is exhausting. Maybe you want your favourite comfort food today. Maybe you want a large gin. Maybe you’ve woken up with no motivation, you feel sluggish and don’t want to go for a bike ride. That’s ok. Listen to your body. It’s going through a lot right now.

Our bodies are smart. They’ll adjust.

We’re probably all physically moving less. Simply down to the fact that all of us that are social distancing and isolating are either unemployed or working remotely. Dashing to catch your commute bus to work, and popping to Pret (I miss you) for lunch just isn’t on the agenda. We’re confined to one outing for physical exercise a day and essential shopping. And unless you’re blessed with a golf course in your back garden you’re probably restricted. Body’s are clever, we adjust to new ways of living. Our body will get used to our new rhythm of exercise, living and being. Stop worrying that you need to start counting your macros and try and stay in touch with how your body feels.

Find the food fun.

When I first started finding a better relationship with my body, movement and food, I did a lot of research into intuitive eating. There’s loads about it online for us to read. It involves principles like rejecting diet culture. We don’t have to do a lockdown diet. If you see an ad come up for a new and improved quicker weight loss and instant abs plan do not click on it. Every click continues to fuel these unrealistic, non durable plans. Essentially setting us up for set backs & guilt. Intuitive Eating implements intentions like honouring your hunger and taking time to enjoy one of our basic joys of existence; eating wonderful foods. If we refuse to eat, heavily restrict and control our portions, our bodies go into fight or flight mode. Humans are wired to survive. If we’re starving ourselves, we’ll want to eat. Learning how to accept and enjoy old fear foods and also plainly looking after and fuelling our body. Whilst also trying never to compare, everybody is genetically different. You wouldn’t ask a tiger to do his business in your kitty litter. Acceptance and love y’all. The main goal is to find joy in fuelling your unique body. Challenge yourself to take pride and find the fun when you’re nourishing your body. Plus it’s more sustainable and cost affective too.

Move for the right reasons.

It works the same with intuitive movement. If exercise had no effect on your aesthetic would you still do it? Focus on the feeling you get during or after a nice workout rather than getting your tape measure out. Move how you feel you want to. Not because you think you have to. Be mindful as to why you’re doing it. Set ambitions that are realistic and inspiring. Look up when you run. Focus on how it feels to move your body rather than an extreme end of COVID goal. Let your body recover. Enjoy it. Dancing around whilst baking is a new personal favourite.

A little perspective.

People are dying. If we gain a few pounds, don’t run a marathon each week and don’t go on a juice diet. Great. Because at this time we just want ourselves and our loved ones safe and staying home. Being physiologically and psychologically healthy is such a precious thing. And who wants to be a smaller part of this world anyway?

For your isolated body.

1. When you want to move, wear your most fabulous gym wear. I feel cute as hell.

2. Love the skin you’re in. I just got a Jade roller from Amazon. Magical.

3. When your jam comes on on the radio. Wiggle, boogie and smile. It feels good.

4. Never underestimate the power and calm of a good stretch, yoga or mediation.

5. Drink water. It’s not like you’ve got to travel far to the nearest toilet.

6. Look at and appreciate your isolated body. Thank it for getting you up each morning and staying safe.

7. Take your time.

I hope you’re happy and finding empathy and love for your body. And remember to speak out. Feel free to message me via the blog or on social media.

I’ve been there. We’re all isolating together. I’ll listen.

Stay Home, Stay Safe & Keep Looking Up.

Apologies that it’s been a while. But I’m still on the wagen, and it seems there’s no time like the present to share a little light. As I walk in from the garden having just set my mother up with full visual and audio on Zoom for her and her six girlfriends. It strikes me what a strange but incredible time this is.

Four weeks ago I was made redundant. I was working in Cabaret the musical, touring around the UK since August 2019. We’d finished our week of shows in Canterbury, a local venue for me with lots of loved ones visiting the show. We had a final banger on Saturday night and just like normal threw things on our tour bus, packed up, jumped in our cars and sped home for a couple of days rest. We were all due to be in Sheffield the next week, I’d got myself prepped and ready to drive, also in the know that the pandemic was growing, knowing we may not have long left of this dream job and to enjoy every second. On the Monday it was announced that mass gatherings (theatres) were to be avoided at all costs. On Monday evening around 8pm, we lost our jobs. When our income, dream job and newly made best friends are taken away from us unexpectedly it’s quite the shock. My boyfriend kept me upright and wine sure helped. WhatsApp groups erupted, emails were flying and tears were shed.

The first thing I allowed myself to do was to mourn. To let it sink in. To have the blues and be angry, or sad or whatever which way I felt. I usually find there’s no point in making yourself do something or feel something, unless you need to for work or your family. But with no work to be done and my loved ones safe and sound I let myself. I ate pastry with a recent love of my life (cast mate) Mary, to debrief, and then drove home to get comfortable for what I thought could be a bumpy ride. One week passed before lockdown was announced.

The Pressurised Positive.

Here we find ourselves three weeks into isolation. It’s simply unrealistic and slightly funny that we are all learning three new languages, signing up to online courses and becoming triathletes in the safety of our own homes. Social media will be our saving grace but also the devil in these times. Most importantly we must look after ourselves and our loved ones’ health. Including mental health. Try not to worry that Peter from down the road has made six quiche Lorraines and Sandra from your university is doing back hand springs on Instagram live. You don’t have to do that to feel good. Go slow. For goodness sake we’ve got the time. We’ve never had as much. This could be a wonderful time for all of us to communicate, develop a skill and be healthy. But let it be gradual. And let it be balanced. I wake up some mornings and have no motivation, I worry for our worlds health, for the people on the front line and for my loved ones. Whereas some days I feel more present and have a different perspective. I want to spring clean and run for England. I realise I’ve got 10 FaceTime and Zoom catch ups booked in for one week and I’ve made a banana bread. And at the end of the day, there’s always wine. Try to find joy in Pandemic Positives rather the Positive Pressure. Draw an NHS rainbow and forget about that back hand spring. Everyone’s journey is different.

We’re all in this together.

The globe changing Pandemic Positive, not that any of us wanted this to bring such a change (but it is a wonderful change nonetheless) is the world’s emissions. With strict border control, social distancing and working remotely our world is still and thankful. Emissions are reducing hugely with New York’s pollution levels at 50% of this time last year and similar stats are happening globally. The government have had to take these measures but we have implemented the rules with a touch of togetherness. With the sense of community that COVID has brought, think about what we could do for our climate together once we’re out the other side.

We can still move forward. Take time to plan.

#AfterIsolation

This is my new favourite hashtag. Let’s over use it. Plan your first date. The first pub you’ll run too. The first meal you’ll want when we get out and all the small magical things we’ll do after isolation. The first public swimming pool you’ll be at getting a new PB. Driving to your local gym again. We’ll get to try clothes on in Zara, and spray perfume on ourselves at Selfridges. Sunbathing at the beach, evening cinema trips with fresh popcorn and going dancing. Children’s play parks will be full and doing your weekly Sainsbury’s shop will be social again. Our NHS and key workers will find quiet, the workload will ease and we’ll all book holidays. I hope the theatre industry is bustling, with people being able to find escapism in live theatre again. I hope my cast mates and I get to reunite and feel what we felt during those shows again. I can’t wait for the hugs. To move in with my boyfriend. And to spread love a little easier. We are soon to have so many wonderful firsts. And in the meantime all we can do is stay safe.

As Ronan Keating once sung, life is a rollercoaster. But embrace the ups and the downs. Let yourself be, over use FaceTime, download Disney + and remember to look up at the stars.

We’re experiencing a little turbulence, please return to your seats and keep your seatbelts fastened. Support our NHS heroes. Stay home.

And I can’t wait to see you on the other side.

Here are a few links if you fancy a peruse, from volunteering to pub quizzes.

How to sign up and become an NHS volunteer.

https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS

COVID-19 Symptom Tracker.

https://covid.joinzoe.com/

My favourite YouTube Yoga.

https://youtu.be/fzgFONPHO-M

My delicious first vegan baking. First bread. First banana bread.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/vegan-banana-walnut-bread

Subscribe to Disney +.

https://www.disneyplus.com/en-gb/welcome?cid=DSS-Search-Google-71700000064847253-&s_kwcid=AL!8468!3!426936657248!b!!g!!%2Bdisney%20%2Bplus&gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrrjb_5XZ6AIVluvtCh1G0wNFEAAYASAAEgLopvD_BwE

Loads of useful links and articles for everything we might be feeling at this time.

https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/

Martin Lewis for money saving and surviving.

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIz-nkqJbZ6AIVx7TtCh30xgQ1EAAYASAAEgLIoPD_BwE

Tax help for self employed and performers.

https://www.sansdrama.com/

Some fabulous pub questions for Zoom or your dinner table.

https://www.funquizzes.uk/pub-quiz-questions/

Happy Easter! xoxo

YOU did it! Saying thank you this 2019.

Sorry to have been so quiet for so long, being on tour navigating myself across the country and the variables thrown at me had me filled with ample feels but got me with absolute writers block. Now I find myself with a few festive weeks off, no idea what day it is, horizontal and reminiscing… Sharing’s caring.

In classic December fashion I’ve probably had 1 too many festive brunches, played multiple elf dodgems on the train clutching overflowing Xmas shopping, am unsure of the date and I have a cold. Sound familiar? I’ve been told by a reliable source (my social media apps) that we’re nearing the end of December 2019. It’s impossible to avoid it.

Another year lived. I think a bit of reflection is good for the soul. Looking back on what we’ve overcome, things we’ve learnt, what we’ve enjoyed. Parts lost and parts gained in our lives. Sometimes however I find there is a pressure to reflect in a certain way. 1000 things to be thankful for. Instagram tells us to be thankful for our 2019 stars and be grateful for the daily mantra posts that have got us through it. Maybe a fad diet helped you get into your summer gala glad rags or maybe Ariana Grande’s album had you soaring through that break up. For me there’s someone we all need to say thank you to, I cringed at first too but hear me out.

If you’ve read some of my previous ramblings you’ll know I’m a big fan of being thankful. Especially for the wonderful people in our lives that I think make us who we are. Your raft if you will. All built up around you, keeping you as dry as possible and hopefully travelling with you to our next stage of life. And of course for the ‘things’ that helped us along. Your oars, giving you direction and power. The new complete nutrition meal replacement shake powder, the book that taught us to not give a fuck. Thanks for that Mr Manson.

But in actual fact the only thing that got you here was you. Whatever you did, everything you did was a choice you made. You steered the vessel through the fjord we call 2019. We have so many influences these days. Facebook now magically knows I need a winged eyeliner for dummies kit and Amazon prime emails me to tell me my favourite shoe laces are back in stock. Our main concern of late was worrying about the state of our country, tbc. I even get daily emails from the universe. But every single one of those things and views is my own. I made that happen, I had that thought and made that choice. Technology is clever but not that clever.

I and a lot of my loved ones have a constant worry of being selfish. But usually being selfish is the healthiest, strongest thing you can do for yourself and for others. As Ru Paul finely puts it ‘If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else!’ At the start of the year I’d have given my 7th left eyelash to my next door neighbour if it’d help. I lived in Germany FYI. And to be fair I probably still would, but I’d get myself in check first. I thought that the more I gave the more I’d get. Karma. But don’t burn your candle at both ends and leave yourself with nothing left to give to yourself. I’ve found the more in tune I am with myself as the year has gone, love feels completely different. It’s not something to be rewarded for the good I’ve done. It’s simply because people might just love me for me. Like I love them.

Our bodies and souls need and want different things, it changes daily. Listen. At the start of each day the person you wake up to first is you. Remember to say goodnight too.

Whether it be a pat on the back, a glass of bubbles or no alarm. Reward yourself. *Because let’s face it, I hope the next two weeks will be a blur of biodegradable wrapping paper, naps and minced pies.* You made it. 2019. YOU did it.

The best investment you’ll ever make.

Firstly, apologies for the silence. I’ve moved country and been adjusting to a new life back in the UK. My thoughts on change, journeys and pathways coming soon. But for now a few thoughts on something that’s struck me since being back. Financial advice for the heart.
Life is a constantly changing, undulating rollercoaster ride. It’s all relative, whether we’re going from fitness craze to veganism, IPlayer to Netflix series, long distance to eloping, employed to retired or just the constant climatic change the world faces. Of late I’ve been throwing myself from job to job and location to location. This has made me insanely grateful for ‘constants’.
As Madonna once said ‘We are living in a material world’…
We live in an ever increasing materialistic world with beauty and fashion hugely influencing social media and celebrity. We want the things. We want Molly Mae buns. Kardashian highlighters. And the newest IPhone XR2.7. I think this is totally normal, and I’m pro treat yourself, a lot of my online purchases stem from instagram. As we get older we then face the next hurdle of investing our money. From cars to property. I recently became a car owner and felt enormously proud of myself, being able to buy my small but mighty Volkswagen UP! was a big deal.
This is all well and good. I definitely feel I’m chugging along in the long and winding marathon of adulthood. But these ‘things’ don’t love you back. They won’t sit with you at 4am mid mental breakdown. Help make the big decisions or celebrate your wins. Hug you post break up. Mum, Sauvignon Blanc and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again will do that. The thing with ‘things’ is that they’re interchangeable and replaceable. Even our iPhones only last 24 months before we’re calling for an upgrade. Your new Fiat and BoConcept sofa are fabulous but lonely sprints. I want to talk about the people passing us the batons in the relays.
Some people are change junkies. I get it, the adrenaline rush and excitement of new beginnings and reinventing ourselves. Trying new things literally releases dopamine (the happy hormone) in our brains and can make life seem longer. Being swept up in the now is wonderful and often makes us behave like our absolute best selves. Changing job, travelling or moving sparks passion and spontaneity. For me it’s giving my dream a go. I however am also a ‘constant’ junkie. Whether it be Bourbon biscuits, bowling or best friends. I’m addicted to 3am voice notes and celebrating small victories, checking in with people and wine dates, planned or spontaneous. My dearest Ellie and I actually congratulate each other daily. Honour your constants, life is meant to be shared. Your circle of loved ones influence your life hugely, and I believe the more you put in the more you get out. Like watering your pot plants or putting money in a savings account. Love people. Be loved back.
Unconditional love is a thing. If you’re lucky enough to have bonds that don’t desperately need daily or weekly check ins you’re onto a winner. These are your unconditionals. They’ve probably seen you spewing tequila out your nose into a Lidl bag or eating raw pasta for dinner. Just me? The heart just goes on. So I don’t check in because I have to, I do it because I want to. They’re oak trees. Hardy as hell but a little sun and rain doesn’t go a miss.
As I get older I don’t know what could be more rewarding than looking back at the lives I’ve touched and the people that have touched mine. Make effort. FaceTime for the extra hour. And hug when you say goodbye. Remind them how amazing they are. Tell people you love them. What have you got to lose?
It’s been a bit of a soppy one, but I’ve moved back to the same country as all of my constants and I’ve caught the love bug. Sarcastic me is rolling my eyes slightly but I’m not saying buy your mate 12 red roses, just ask someone how their day was. Send a slice of cake in the post. Again, thank you Els.
That’s my financial advice for the heart. Just my personal musings. But I honestly think it’s the best investment I’ll ever make.

There’s a Light at The End of the Tunnel…

One black eye, a torn ligament and three stitches later, my time inside of Stex has come to an end. I’m struggling to put into words what the last two and a half years has meant to me but I write a blog now so I’m going to try. It’s had its ups and downs don’t get me wrong, but this is a positive reflection because I have never felt anything that compares to putting my arms up at the end of the show so enthusiastically I almost fall off my wheels. This could be a long one.

 

Where it all began…

 

On Sunday 5th February 2017 Starlight Express’s new skate school turned up at Heathrow Airport for the ride of our lives. Thankfully I knew a few other trains in training prior to Stex and after touring the UK with Lacy Jordinson and Anthony Starr for six months in Jackie The Musical, we happily sat in Leon hiding from the rest of the cast. I thank you for being selectively social with me from day 1. We then embarked on our journey of becoming German… and more importantly learning to skate.

 

Trust the process. 

 

Skate school taught by the legend that is Michal Fraley is probably the most incredible, emotional and physical journey I have ever been on. It’s not just rolling on 8 wheels, Michal has a specific starlight training programme, not for the weak hearted/legged. Thank you Fraley for teaching me to bend my knees. And thank you Andrew Miller, our assistant skate coach, for holding my hand almost every exercise. It was outrageously inspiring to wake up each day with 21 other actor- singer- dancers and try to learn not just a new skill, but another means of transport and a necessity of being in the show. The combination of people ranged from noisy Geordies, determined Dutch, freshly graduated musical theatre performers and everything in between. The relationships that developed privately and in ‘the ballet room’ were that of gold. We formed a bond of unconditional support, quite frankly because our mums, dads and loved ones could never quite understand the true frustrations of skate rash, learning German and coccyx bruises.

 

 

Friends for life. ❤️

 

During skate school and rehearsals cliques were of course formed, and I owe remaining vertical, my romance with alcohol and the most wonderful friendship to ‘The Sweeties’. Two Game of Thrones watching lads Darius James and Corey Mitchell joined Lacy, Anthony and I for copious amounts of wine and süßkartoffel pommes. We remained as down to earth as we could whilst scraping each other up off the floor when necessary. Lacy was loud, a comic, and fearless and along with putting herself through the paces she made sure I didn’t let my cautious side get the better of me. There were days when I just didn’t want to, I didn’t want to fall, I didn’t trust my body, the bruises , shaky legs and fear would overwhelm me. Her mentality of ‘just f***ing do it’ made me do it, I literally had no other option. We did it, we counselled each other at the laundrette with multiple Aperol spritzes from our hotel bar and then we conquered skating. Thank you Lacy and Aperol.

 

Show time. 

 

As a swing we had all the paper work, we knew what we had to do; but getting our first show was a waiting game. Slowly but surely we all took to the tracks and survived. I wanted no fireworks, no standing ovation, just survival for myself and everyone around me. I have never felt anything like finishing my first show. I also can’t remember most of it as it was a complete blur. I donned Pearl’s pink wig and made it to the end, my legs shook uncontrollably but I was adamant to uphold my calm swing persona. Swinging the show is something pretty special. We’re put on in strange sad circumstances when a fellow cast mate has been injured, but the rush to save the day is like no other. It can also be pretty comical when my Act 2 Pearl is a foot shorter than Act 1’s. The proof of the shows overall difficulty became apparent one weekend when we were so low on male cast members due to injury’s and such things that there was one role with no one to fill it. In my swing hysteria and unconditional want to save the show from being asymmetrical I volunteered as tribute. With 20 minutes to learn the part of Volta, the sassiest male member of the electric train, I donned the cod piece. And I didn’t kill anyone. Added bonus that I fit into the gloriously petite costume some of the male swings could only dream of. #SwingLife

 

Mein deutsch is nicht so gut.

 

We were tirelessly taught our German scores for the show, and if you want Starlight in German I can recite (preferably sing) every word.  Conversing in real life German situations however proves slightly more difficult. Due to the cast being 95% British, my lack of German schooling and laziness I’ve picked up very little. Most of us will leave knowing the basics and how to order pommes and vin. Despite not thoroughly learning the language I have enjoyed my German living. In our little city called Bochum in North Rhine-Westphalia of Germany value for money is great and we were all able to set up lives for ourselves. If you’re ever in town, head straight to Starlight Express of course and then hit up the mining museum! Germany’s public transport, paperwork and bratwurst seem to be your downfalls but thank you for your beer. You’ll truly be missed.

 

Personal highlight..

 

On the 13th May 2018, the last show of Starlight 17/18 and the last ‘old version’ of the show took place. And who knows? Maybe due to my three month long torn ligament or my love of snacks I was cast to play the last ever Buffy that night. A wonderful part, with a hot dog in her wig, and due to our wonderful 1st cast Buffy’ Serina, flying off a few days early to start a new show, the wheels needed filling. It was a true gift to be part of that show, and I will remember it fur immer.

 

It was a rollercoaster in more ways than one. We maintained real lives, went through endless swing runs, rehearsals, tears, injuries, long distance relationships, holidays, Instagram takeovers and bottles of wine. And we made it through the year. In May 2018 some of us remained for the cast change and some of our dear friends left for London, Starlight cast ‘17/18 you are all wonderful, Zoe I’m back!

 

Romance at the roller rink.

 

Whilst we lost some loved ones we also gained a new batch of skate schoolers. There were some serious corkers amongst them. Some that I truly fell in love with, you know who you are. What happened at the roller rink stays at the roller rink. We created a new show, new songs, new choreography, different races, new characters and costumes. The 30th anniversary version of Starlight Express. We didn’t save lives at Starlight Express but we did try to bring a whole lot of joy. The show flourished in my opinion because of its hero’s, to the cast who worked 12hr rehearsals, to some who played 3 parts at once, to members who came back to help during injury periods, to a very special man from Ireland for being a brave inspiration to us all and for the constant support we all gave to each other.

During this cast changeover and serious courting at the roller rink I fell for a fellow train. Starlight Express was his dream show. And I got a dream guy. My support system, whiskey provider and personal chef. He may have made me stay up until 2am discussing Race 4, I lost him daily at stage door going above and beyond for every fan and I definitely picked 263 tea bags out of our sink but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks for being a stunning engine.

The 30 year longevity of the show is mostly down to Steven and Debbie, our resident director and choreographer. Thank you for incredulously noting my Pearl arms. It’s been a true honour to work with them, a well oiled machine and two Starlight legends that live and breath It. ‘Just enjoy it.’ – Debbie Hearnden Mayer.

 

 

Stex inside.

 

Starlight Express challenges you physically, mentally, creatively and emotionally and if you’re lucky enough to be cast and brave enough to accept the challenge you’re in for some serious growth. I’ve loved the epic score since watching it for the first time in the West End when I was very young. It also happens to be one of my Dads favourite musicals and the CD remained in our family cars/house until I got the job and played it every drive I took. Thank you Arlene Philips and Andrew Lloyd Webber for casting me in this rollercoaster. Thank you to everyone involved at the halle, as I look back on my time here I thank you for whatever relationship, acquaintanceship or exchange we had as I wouldn’t change it. Every part of the journey got me to where I am now, horizontal on my sofa typing away and beaming at the thought of Starlight Express. For the last 2 and a half years I’ve played my dream roles, plus one male role, on a purpose built arena with the most outrageous group of talented cast mates and musicians supported by some of the most genuine crew and creatives I’ll ever know. An honour.

 

I personally went through something I once thought I wouldn’t get through. And I doubt anything will compare. Starlight has taught me more about myself than it has about the show, and I was a swing so I know it pretty darn well.

 

I’m heartbroken but the two and a half year love affair was worth it. And to anyone that steps wheel onto the bühne in the casts to come. Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth it? Absof***inglutely. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. And yes I stacked it on my last ever show.

As Elton John once said… ‘This train don’t stop here anymore…’

This isn’t goodbye it’s thank you.

#StexOutside 👋🏼

 

 

Growing into My own Skin

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Once an ugly duckling, I’m currently working on fully fledged swan. I still possess so many of those clumsy, emotional, awkward traits that make me who I am, but thanks to years of ballet lessons, Liz Earle and life experience I’m giving it a go.

So. Let’s go back. I was a premature sickly baby, 5lbs, eczema, asthma and a bout of pneumonia. Followed up by a nasty run in with a watering can aged four. This resulted in me wearing an eye patch, for what felt like eternity. Picture this, my scabs and patch work skin, my giant nude coloured eye patch (skull and cross bones weren’t allowed at school), clutching onto my (you know those inhalers, the big ones you have to squeeze) inhaler. I was also blessed with undecided hair, not straight, not curly just one big mane of fine frizz, finished off with rugby disproportioned thighs on a petite frame. I was a site to behold. Now this is a hugely superficial view, and big big brown eyes were my saving grace. But these were just the little things that got to me, those tiny things that you carry with you from being teased in the playground.

A HUGE part of growing into my own skin has been learning how to look after my skin. The spanner of working at Starlight Express was then thrown in the mix, involving the heaviest duty make up (war paint) I have ever come across. I am by no means vegan, but since investing in primarily natural, vegan and cruelty free products this year my skin has calmed down significantly. Our skin is our only canvas. Time to get it ready for a masterpiece. If you’ve suffered from Eczema, acne or just fancy some self canvas care. Here are my saviours.

My Six Skin Saviours

The Regime. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanse.

The eczema tamer. Eau Thermale Avene XeraCalm Cream.

The make up remover. Bodyshop’s Camomile Fresh Micellar Cleansing Water.

The protection. Bodyshop’s Skin Defence Multi Protection Essence SPF 50.

The mask. Sand and Skye’s Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask.

The zit zapper. The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid 2% Sollution.

Step 1. Get a regime and let it be Liz Earle.

Liz Earle was a game changer for me. Naturally inspired cruelty free products made from glorious botanical ingredients. The Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is award winning and I’m an avid fan. It just feels gentle and calming on my skin, it does the job and smells wonderful. In the polluted world we live in today I cleanse twice daily, followed by their toner or exfoliator and finally moisturiser. All the products come in different ranges; normal/combination, dry/sensitive and oily/combination to cater for all skin types.

https://uk.lizearle.com/category/Skincare/CLEANSE-AND-POLISH

Fight the flakes.

To all eczema sufferers I salute you. It just isn’t fun. No matter how flakey, itchy or sore you are. My whole body would suffer when I was a child, I’ve slowly grown out of it, reducing my dairy intake has definitely helped, but I still suffer from flare ups on my face, scalp and neck. Probably the thousandth product I researched was Eau Thermale Avene XeraCalm Cream. Made with minimal ingredients to avoid irritation and allergy. It’s made with I-modulia, an ingredient helping to stimulate skin defences reducing itching and redness. It nourishes the dry skin and also helps to replenish the skin barrier.

https://www.avene.co.uk/face/specific-products/red-itchy-skin/xeracalm-ad-cream

Stop buying make up wipes.

Make up wipes are pretty much the devil. They’re bad for the environment and they’re harsh on the skin. Micellar waters are my go to and Bobyshop’s Camomile Fresh Micellar Cleansing Water is calming and soothing whilst also removing even the thickest of war paints. Bottle of this loveliness paired with some cotton pads and your canvas is clear.

https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-gb/face/cleansers-toners/camomile-fresh-micellar-cleansing-water/p/p002947

Don’t have unprotected skin! #SPF

Bodyshops Skin Defence Multi Protection Essence SPF 50 is the highest defence facial moisturiser from Bodyshop protecting us from daily aggressors like the sun to the environment. Sun damage is also the main cause of ageing so the more the merrier (younger)! It’s lightweight, nourishing, suitable for sensitive skin and smells heavenly.

https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-gb/face/moisturisers-with-spf/skin-defence-multi-protection-essence-spf50/p/p001071

It’s Tuesday, treat yourself.

We made it through Monday and masks are just plain fun, they feel indulgent but are also incredibly good for you. All time favourite and worth the Instagram hype is Sand and Skye’s Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask. Again, completely natural and cruelty free. I struggle sometimes with deep cleansing masks as they can be too much for my fragile flakey skin. This one however is the perfect balance, you feel clean and taut afterwards but also hydrated.

https://www.sandandsky.com/products/porefining-face-mask?gclid=CjwKCAjwndvlBRANEiwABrR32KdV-WHESTxABh3b-m6NtilcfNKIVZ1_kXYDIMwhyJA8g99mrIad3BoCFWIQAvD_BwE

Because spots aren’t just for teenagers.

Let’s be honest I’m still getting spots well into my 20’s. Be it hormones, wine and chocolate fountains or generally just down to genetics. The red and white mountains formed on our faces can be tamed. Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxy acid used to exfoliate the skin and battles inflammation, common in anti ageing and acne treating products. The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid 2% Sollution can be used directly on a single mountain or used extremely thinly over the whole face once or twice a week. I’ve tried toothpaste, sudocrem, tea bags, the lot. Nothing reduces redness and swelling quite like this. And it’s a bargain.

https://theordinary.com/product/rdn-salicylic-acid-2pct-solution-30ml?ccm=6afb414ca0a748bd85ed7ead6c4e6729f133993f2fd49d2697d9aa1f3700dc05f70102cb1d00da802a8fe86a4f7a904b2cc58b019d79610ab89b7e00b33f328bc753a4096d6833cfdfd104393f7b6d2e240187f02064a6044c8f96c417d89bb3f13897c230ba4387f4fbb2b27abc45436e901b207e6cbaf49b2e1601cadd929194aa702e8b756494afb59bb6248a5de6&ccvis=1

Our skin is our biggest organ and our only canvas. Look after it. And love the skin you’re in.

xoxo

Don’t Miss It.

E6BCABDC-D105-4A10-9850-1A3E2B70E78CThere’s nothing like a shot of perspective and the post perspective whisky to get you thinking. Whether it’s relationships, health, our family, not getting the job, injury or illness… they come in all shapes and sizes, it’s how we use the perspective that makes a difference. Post whisky I instantly put a lot of pressure on myself to ‘live in the moment’, ‘make every moment count’, and ‘be my best self’. These are common mantras of self help on my social media feed and when taken too literally in my opinion not all that helpful. The pressure for unadulterated happiness and to ‘slay’ ones life can make us unhappy in the process not helped with inequality, global warming and Brexit filling our newsfeed.

Disclaimer. I am not 100% happy 100% of the time. I don’t think anybody is, even if social media and my blog name would have us believe otherwise. And that’s ok. Happiness is subjective and different for everyone. There’s no one way to be happy there’s no quick fix, finding happiness comes from a million different things. Just as lows can come from a million different things. I also don’t want to compare something like heartbreak to spilt milk. I just wonder if making small changes could actually make an influence on getting the most out of this thing called life. So here’s my musing; rather than running 10k everyday, drinking champagne every night and going skydiving over the Grand Canyon, I’m simply making a conscious effort to be my most present and engaged. I’ve made three categories – The Three P’s – to kick me into present and if you fancy a kick too, enjoy.

Be present, progress, then party.

Be Present. #SocialMedia

Most of our generation’s lives revolve around social media. It’s an incredible thing, used for business, relationships and for hilarious videos of cats (personal favourite). However in this digital age a worrying amount of us are probably addicted to social media, if you don’t believe me have a look at your daily screen time on your phone, you can even find out which particular apps you’re devoting your life to. Does it really matter? Who cares? I didn’t, even though a few months ago I was giving Instagram 3 hours of my average day. Then I did some maths. I knew that GCSE would come in handy some day. 3 hours a day for a whole year totals to 1,095 hours, that’s over 45 days. We only get 12 months in a year, so that’s a month and a half of my year on Instagram. I want to be remembered for the light and love I brought to my own and my loved ones’ lives, not my avid scrolling and thumb strength. My solution is no phones (social media) at meals alone or in company, turning my notifications off, swapping my pre bedtime scroll for a book and eye contact! If someones talking to you the least we can do is look at them, manners cost nothing.

Progress. Move, because you can.

As a 25 year old in musical theatre currently in a roller skating show I think I take being able to move for granted. I was on the treadmill at my local gym jogging along, not because I wanted to but because I felt I should. There are big plasma screen TVs that blare inspirational tunes, images and quotes and as I jogged along creating a mild ungrateful sweat I read “Move. Because you can.” This packed a punch, how lucky I felt to be able to do this but also how grateful I am to be spoiled for choice. Not everyone is as lucky and I doubt I’ll be rollerskating through my 80’s so I want to make the most of it now. My aim is to walk to work, try out new spin classes and add more yoga into my week, putting these things into our daily lives is just plain good for us, endorphins, sunlight and health. The more we move the more progression we’ll feel. Move, because we can!

Party. Daily.

Celebrating myself and my loved ones is one of my favourite things. Who doesn’t love birthday cake!? But I’m talking more day-to-day. If you just smashed a personal best at the gym, finished a puzzle, even the most mundane chores, celebrate them! Maybe not at the Ritz – maybe with your favourite cup of tea or treat yourself to a new candle. If we don’t reward ourselves for grafting we’re less likely to keep up the graft. Maybe it’s like training a dog: she sits; she gets a treat; he fetches the stick; he gets a tickle. There’s this thing called hedonic adaptation, whereby no matter how exhilarating something we do is we quickly get used to it and go back to our same level of happiness/contentment. Clever human brains but slightly annoying. And setting ourselves mammoth unrealistic feats is sometimes too much. There’s nothing like encouragement to get me going so I’m adding daily celebrations in because why the hell not? Congratulating myself for the smallest mountains. Because as Miley Cyrus once said ‘It’s the climb.’

The Three P’s.

Every bit of us and our lives matters. I may not be 100% happy 100% of the time but I know there’s something to be happy about 100% of the time and for me that’s enough.

Engage with yourself and others because we don’t get a second go at life. Every bit matters. Don’t miss it.