By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
Click on my face to link to my vlog!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Cause I'm freeeee, to do what I'm paid to do...

Reader, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my spangly, sequin wearing shoulders. I have left the jobbing job at the callcentre of doom. Never again will I try and sell wine or other goods over the phone to patronising men who call me 'dearie'. Never again will I have to explain that, yes, if the customer wants 4 crates of booze delivered, they will have to pay for the delivery. Never again will I have to fake-laugh at the awful joke of 'is it free?' when I tell them there's a deal on. Nor explain that fruit and veg goes off if you leave it next to a radiator so we probably can't give them a refund for that.

Fingers crossed anyway.

As well as the acting malarkey going quite well at the moment (by which I mean fairly regular auditions and little paid jobs, sadly no juicy feature film, west end work or tv parts as of yet!), I've been doing some work in HR. It's being a pretty interesting swap, from working in a job where my brain was slowly rotting with every minute I had the exact same conversation with someone on the phones to a job where I need to essentially learn a whole new working language and be up to date on all the legal, cultural and employment news asap. It also makes me laugh a fair bit. On reading lots of journals and magazines on HR, I have come to realise something. People think that workers on zero hour contracts are basically people who couldn't get any other jobs due to visa issues, lack of education, poor work skills or other random failings. I've got to tell you folks, that most certainly isn't the case. Yes, being on a zero hour contract is crummy. You have no paid time off, no sick leave (meaning if you are sick you have to decide between not being able to pay your rent and recovering, or feeling like death every day for a month and scraping by), no maternity leave, no bonuses for hard work, no sense of stability, no right to notice of dismissal and added to that it's rarely connected to anything even remotely interesting. But nearly no one in the call-centre of doom did it because they couldn't get any other jobs, on the contrary, they were bright, fully educated people (more often than not with more than one degree). Our lunchtime conversations were often about feminism, culture, writing and theatre. We simply sacrificed having job satisfaction because it's the only way to earn money whilst trying to reach your dream career. The thing is, it's limited. Anyone with half a brain can only do it for so long before they suddenly go 'I work really bloody hard for a job with no pay-off apart from flexibility. I get patronised and yelled at by the same customers who willingly gave us their numbers and asked us to call them. I get told not to complain by the management because of the economic climate and because 'it's just the way it is' and my talents are completely unappreciated. I can't do it any more or my head will fall off.'

I've seen at least 10 people I really respect and got on with in the last 3 months or so leave for just that reason. Two things finally tipped me over the edge (apart from the pure joy of getting more paid acting and HR work).

 1) One of my best friends at the company got let go, for a really really silly reason. Doing the job without his dry humour to keep me going just felt a bit...well...crap to be honest. He'd worked for the company for two years, but was shown no loyalty, nor given any notice. It made me start to think about what I'd do if put in the same position, and I realised that I almost wanted to be fired.

2) A new rule came into place. Nothing was allowed on your desk. No books, no scripts, no crosswords, no pens and paper. Nothing. Which meant staring at the same screen for hours and hours on end. We were allowed access to a couple of acting and news websites, but let's be honest, there is a limit to how much you can read off a computer screen without your eyes going a bit dodgy and/or the call of the wild beckoning . I did a few days with a bare desk, and I've got to tell you, 8.5 hours a day of the same conversation over and over with no real distraction makes a gal go a little psycho (not dressing up as my mother and attacking soapy people psycho, more glaring at my managers, eating the contents of the vending machine and biting my nails sort of psycho).

3) I ran 5km (raising £1,300 for charity and beating my fear of my asthma), organised a legal training day for a small group of people who had collectively saved the U.K. billions of pounds, had a script which more than one production group want to produce, auditioned for a L.A. television pilot and had two requests to blog for film/casting companies. I suddenly realised that I could do better than being a phone-drone and that I was doing myself a disservice by doing a job I hated, selling for a company that I had started to question the ethics of.

The thing is, I saw a huge shift in how the job was when it started (a bit crap, but a lovely, small team with lots of incentives and very flexible) to how it was becoming (rules on top of rules, bloated workforce, lack of communication between clients and management and again between management and employees, no incentive apart from a very small amount of money, no sense of team spirit). And in that, I also saw a huge dip in morale. Every conversation I had included someone saying 'I wish I could leave' or 'They're cheating us again' or 'I might just lie and go home early'. I realised that I felt sick at the prospect of having to go in and kept searching for excuses not to work. Which is silly when I need the money so badly.

But now I'm free. I'm delighted! And working in a mentally stimulating job! Which is still as flexible as the old one! And I get paid more for it! And I won't have to get a monthly travel card any more! I am full of relief. I guess the lesson here is one for employers: It's all very well giving your workers flexibility, but when that comes at the cost of any semblance of job satisfaction, you will find yourself with a disloyal work force and a bad reputation.

Now Reader, I'm off to bed. I have to be up early tomorrow to research Employee/Owner's and George Osborne's ideas on giving up employment rights and then in the evening I have a rehearsal for a play I'm doing. I'm rather looking forward to it.

Until next time,

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Hit by the crimble bomb...

HoHoHo Reader!

       O.k. I know. It's November. Which means half of you are probably about to close this page down and throw darts at a handily placed photo of my head. But hear me out-Good Housekeeping just released their Christmas special, which I read in front of a roaring fire, with my favourite Yuletide tv channel on in the background (if you couldn't guess...Christmas 24 does it for me. Just watched The Nutcracker, followed by Eloise at Christmas). I've already brought the majority of my Christmas pressies for this year, and have been feeding my Christmas puds (wheat free and so boozy the smell of the vapours alone disinfected my cupboards) since mid October. Last week my Nan dropped off a bunch of twig blasted with gold glitter (and bizarrely smelling of star-anise. I'm not even convinced I know what that is) an they're currently decorating my fireplace in a twinkly festive sort of way. Essentially, I am prepared. Come at me bro, as the internet population of boys under the age of 19 would say. I feel as if I'm courting some kind of disaster by being so ready, but I'm also waaay to excited. I've noticed that my neighbours already have their tree up, and while I'm mostly horrified (it is only November after all) I'm also slightly impressed. And it's quite nice to walk past twinkly lights on my way home from work etc when it's dark. Not that I've been at work much of late, I've been horribly ill for weeks, my voice vanished completely and I've been having issues getting energy for anything other than walking up the stairs. I've literally been sleeping for 10 hours a night and am still needing naps and am only just beginning to come out the other side. And thank goodness because a whole load of acting stuff has started coming in. I'll be doing a one night show in December (a rather funny short play about....Christmas!), am starting modelling for an artist on Friday and am shooting an audition for pilot season in the US tomorrow (fingers crossed chaps, it's for a really groovy one). All rather busy! 

I've got the Woman and Home and Good Food Christmas specials still to come, and I'm not going to lie-the excitement is killing me. Sometimes I get so happy that Christmas is just round the corner, that I just sit and shake a bit. I haven't put my jingle choons on my ipod yet, I'm not a nutter after all.

I am burning Christmas scented oils though. And I got caught humming 'Baby it's Cold Outside' today...
I am like a reverse Grinch. I am so Christmassy that if I did a blood test right now, it would sparkle with joy and spirit and the faint noise of Reindeer sleigh bells.

I am a sick sick woman Reader, forgive me!
Until next time,

Monday, 22 October 2012

My womb is not marked with your name sir.

Just as a pre-warning: This is not the promised ice cream blog, nor does it have a picture of me looking sweaty after a run to show you how hard I've been working. This entry takes prescience because as a woman, I can't ignore my horror at recent events. I feel like men in suits on podiums have decided that they know my body better than me. I have witnessed boys, barely men yet, claiming that a girl being sexualised meant that she deserved the suicide that ended her short life. By staying silent on these things I betray myself. I betray my sex. This is not a blog entry to amuse.

Dear Men,

No. Not all men. Specific men. Middle class men who through some kind of religious or social delusion think that having a vagina means I am unable to make my own decisions. Men who seem to believe that us flighty, feminine members of the weaker sex are so stupid that we think abortion is the 'easy way out' or 'a form of contraception'.

I'm sorry chaps, but have you personally created my vagina? Is there a small tag on my womb that says 'TM A Man'? Have you ever had to face the prospect of your body, your life, your persona and your dreams changing dramatically at a far too young age because of what crimes; a ripped condom, a split second decision or a convincing but equally young and idiotic boyfriend? No?

Then you do not get to tell me what is easy. You do not get to tell me that I am not allowed to walk away from a pregnancy when you can-with so much more ease than I.

Abortion is not easy. Most women have periods of deep, agonising depression after. They have to wear thick sanitary pads to catch the flowing blood from their damaged insides. The complications can mean infertility, infection and deep psychological scarring. It is NOT an easy decision.

If I were to fall pregnant in the situation I am in now, with a partner in full time education, living with my parents, just starting my career as an actor, living below the minimum wage line-awful though the concept is, I would have to have the procedure. I would be unable to give the child anything but love, and despite what the Beatles once said, love is not enough to be a parent. My parents would have to take the financial and emotional burden of a child when they are still dreaming of a well deserved retirement. Yes, I would hurt, yes I would be horribly depressed and find it difficult to live with my decision  But I know that I am not ready to be a mother by any means, just as I know that one day I will make a bloody brilliant one. I will not be ready then either-but I will not be a terrible mother as I would now. I would not resent the child with every ounce of my being as I would if I had one now.

Dear American chauvinists; Guess what? Making a woman look at a picture of her foetus prior to an abortion is more than sick. It is emotional torture. Do you not think that each and every girl and woman who has walked through the doors of a clinic has tried desperately not to let herself think about being a mother because she know that she cannot be and that to let herself think so for just one second would bring devastation?

We have made huge, tremendous advancements in contraception over the past few years. The implant, for example, has changed my life. But I had to do huge amounts of research before I got it, so shrouded in mystery did it seem. It should be shouted from the rooftops that here is something that will stop you getting pregnant for three whole years, the most powerful contraceptive so far with practically no side effects and a minimal fail rate. Make contraception like this common knowledge, take away the fear of the unknown, rather than damning girls who have to go through abortion when schools do not offer enough reasonable answers on a level about contraception. Let them ask silly questions like 'will it make me fat? Will it make me moody? Will my sex drive go away?' and read out stupid urban myths that we all believed once upon a time. Speaking of contraceptives-the new 5 day pill has male (and-why?-female) politicos sqwaking that it will encourage us to use it instead of condoms or usual contraception. Anyone who has ever had to be asked the cringey questions of the morning after pill will know that once done, it is rarely repeated. Yes, there will be girls who are dim and use it more than they should, but they are the exception rather than the rule-and there doesn't seem to be the same level of shame cast upon men who won't use condoms on one night stands because 'it doesn't feel as good'.

Another moment of horror. Amanda Todd. Tragically killed herself after bullying got too much. Her schoolmates found out she had exposed herself on the internet in a chat room, not once, but numerous times. She had a relationship with another boy her age who was in a relationship. Teenage boys on the internet (most likely teenagers who go to chat rooms like that to ask girls to strip for them, buttering them up until they think it's daring and grown up of them) have slammed the girl, saying that because of these factors, her suicide is not a tragedy and does not deserve coverage. Wait. Because a girl was sexualised, she does not deserve pity and grief? Surely, if anything, she deserves even more? Amanda Todd was a victim of a society that told her that this was how to get attention and affection. She asked for help and was instead trolled by people with no understanding of depression or her situation. She was stalked for years by a man in his 30s who threatened to expose her. She died because she was guilty, scared and did not know where to go. And now, even after death she has been turned into a villain. All because in the minds of the public, if a girl knows about sex, it means she is evil.

By not letting us control our bodies, our own sexuality-you tell us that we are not worthy of independence  By the same rule, surely we women should rule that men MUST have a circumcision. Or can't be allowed access to condoms, because it will encourage promiscuity. We do not assume to control your bodies. Do not assume you own ours.

Sincerely, but not yours

p.s. I feel it is also essential to point out that desperate women will always find a way. Think of the Victorian era-women died in pain in illegal clinics. Impose ridiculous restrictions and they will again.

p.p.s No, I personally have never had an abortion. This does not make me better, it just makes me luckier. I have seen many friends go through them, helped nurse them better and seen the aftermath. I have also seen the process leading to the decision many times, and every girl in my friendship circle has had to at least consider 'what if?'. Abortion is something we all face, whether we have to experience it or not.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Running scared...

Ok Reader, so I promised that if we got over £700 on the sponsorship, I'd post a picture of myself post run. Well, We're about £8 away from £1000, so it looks like I might have to put that picture up a little sooner than I'd hoped. I was slightly hoping that by the time it came to post the picture, I'd have run so much I'd be seriously skinny and the photo would show me gleaming with health (sweat), washboard abs and a bottom you could bounce a penny off. Unfortunately, no one told me running makes you really hungry. So I'm now just sweaty and a bit fat (not helped by all the yummy recipes on Pinterest). Which isn't quite what I was hoping, but sod it, at least I can run for 5km now without dying.

The thing is, I know it's an impossible dream, but I'd love to be able to be really slim for a long period of time. I've done it before, it's incredibly difficult and bloody boring being on 1200 calories a day or something ridiculous like that, but I looked flipping amazing in clothes and out of them. The problem is, I'm a foodie and I hate having to say no to delicious food just to fit into a size 8, and I'm also really social, which rarely goes hand in hand with eating healthily. I was dreaming that just by running a few times a week I'd suddenly be at my 'happy weight', but since that's not happened, I guess I'll have to make do with being fast and strong. Which is pretty ok. Maybe I'll cut down on all the buttery toast too...

So today I'll be taking a picture of me after my run to show you all just how heinous running for 40 minutes is for a slightly unfit, size 12 asthmatic. It will be from the shoulders up. It will still be dire. Keep an eye out for my next entry and it will appear there.

In other news, the count down has well and truly started for mine and The Lad's holiday! Two and a half weeks to go...brilliant! I intend to bring my running shoes with me and do some early morning running before the heat of the day kicks in. Then I can eat all the yummy Cyprus food I fancy! (Oh dear...let's face it Reader, I may never be truly thin if this is my mentality!)

I've also written another blog for the lovely people at casting website, which you can access here: It's about a bit of a dodgy experience I had fairly recently (and I promise, there's no running or dieting talk in that one!)

Tarrah chaps!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Facial imperfection...

Reader, I have got spots. 4 spots to be exact. I think this is from all the running and sweating I've been doing whilst training for the October 5km. And all the chocolate to 'reward' my running sessions. But still. Spots.

Reader, I am not used to spots. I have Good Skin. Skin that has been moisturised and cleansed every day and exfoliated once a week (at least) since I was 12. I have been nice to my skin (if we ignore the 4 years of being a smoker). My skin should not be allowed to turn on me like this. Frankly, it's not fair. It's not even as if I'm skinny with spots. That I could deal with. Nope, I have a fat arse and spots and I'm getting up at 7.30 to run and sweat some more.

This hardly seems fair.

I just read a book that told me if I ran 4 days a week (the number 4 seems to be sponsoring this entry), I could eat whatever the hell I wanted. Not true. I am eating what I want and I am lardy. Maybe the author assumed what I'd want would be protien and veg. Nope. Bread and cheese. Chips and pesto. Carbs and fat. She also said eventually I would enjoy running though, so clearly she was a bit mad. No one can enjoy running. You can enjoy telling people you run and feeling smug about it, or going 'god, I'm getting up early for a run tomorrow' and doing something for charity earns MAJOR smugness points, but enjoy running? Never. Saying that, I am only on week 2 of training, so I could just be not at that point yet. I am at the point where I'm hungrier and spottier than usual and tired from getting up early.


And that's why you do it for charity. There's a sick, repressed, lapsed catholic part of me that goes 'yes! You deserve this! Feel the pain! Catharsis!'

I try to shut it up with ice cream though

If you want to sponsor me on my run (which is for injured soldiers and their families) please do at

If I reach £500 I will post a picture of myself after a run. It's comedy gold. I look like a teapot in a sports bra.


Monday, 6 August 2012


Reader, I am EXHAUSTED. In the past 3 nights, I have slept in three different beds, in three different parts of England. I have taken 4 trains, made 3 underground trips, one car ride and 4 taxi rides. I have been visited by a toddler, who I didn't get to see, but did hear having a loud chat with the air at 2 in the morning, was awakened by a man in his pants, horrified an old lady into switching seats, attended a hen do, went to a wedding, fell in love with a kitten and went shoe shopping with The Lad. I'm pretty sure my limbs have all gone on strike, I have suitcases under my eyes and I've found confetti in places confetti just shouldn't be.

It was a jolly good weekend.

The hen party was that of my old uni sister from another mister (and housemate of 3 years) Jague. Now, I haven't seen Jague much since we left uni. She's been becoming a teacher, I've been at drama school and working and I'm hopeless at organising anything, so only get to see her very rarely, but dear god I love that girl. She introduced me to some of my favourite musicals, helped me through some hard times and brought me fags and chocolate when I was poor and sad. Utter hero of a woman (and gorgeous with it too). The hen party was fab (although the vast majority of the hens were hungover from a pre-hen do the night before-I don't know how they coped with the early afternoon cocktails!) and I got to meet lots of Jague's friends who I'd heard many tales of, plus see some of my old uni friends who I haven't seen in an age (including Jeffers, who has the most rock and roll life of anyone I know, Crouchey who shares my love of trash tv, and Hannah, who is essentially my more grown up twin and who my mother wants to adopt-Hannah is pretty open to the idea too), went on an old fashioned carousel with the entire hen party, discovered lime daiquiri is the best thing since pina colada (which I also had, yum!), ate so much tapas (served by a fabulously sexy lady called Lolita) that I nearly burst, and then boogied the night away in the head bridesmaid 's living room, surrounded by pictures of willies and lots of cake (I made tiny wedding cakes with pink sparkly icing and jam fillings! Next time I think I may do the same but with lemon curd filling and a lemon cream topping...mmm). The next morning it was off to a beach-side cafe, where sadly I had to leave before the food arrived (it smelt AMAZING) to catch my train, but the weather was fab and the girls looked set for a great day on the beach!

After three hours on the train, I arrived in gorgeous Surrey, all dolled up in a fifties dress, heels and toting my suitcase and cake tin. The wedding was a) the first I've ever been to of my friendship group and b) the first me and The Lad have ever gone to together. Reader, I cried like a baby. The bride (an old director and friend of mine) was so stunning that the groom did a double take when she reached the front. There were wildflowers and candles and the sun even came out for the day! The grounds of this place were gorgeous too, we spent a lot of time wandering around and talking about what our wedding will be like (when we get round to it) and who we'd have as our bridesmaids and groomsmen (for the record...our wedding is going to be friggin amazeballs). The food was amazing too, and The Lad and I got to sit on a table with a couple of the boys I did my play in Camden with a few years ago, and who I'll be working with again over the winter months on a new exciting play, and we had great fun over the delicious dinner and wine. And I got talking to a very cool vegan girl who gave me lots of great recipe ideas! After that we had to dash away for our train. On which I kept falling asleep (SO tired). I'm still pretty exhausted now actually, but have been in bed for most of the afternoon, so hopefully tomorrow I'll be fighting fit!

Ooh, and I mentioned the kitten didn't I? This morning we were awakened by a strange noise, so The Lad went to investigate then came down, shoved his dressing gown at me and went 'YOU NEED TO GO UPSTAIRS' so I did (looking rather a state), and met the cutest, tiniest three week old kitten ever. She was abandoned in a garden by her mother and The Lad's housemate (a veterinary nurse) had brought her home since the surgery was closed for the day. It was love at first sight. Am trying to talk the parents into adopting her but am having very little luck. She kept crawling under my chin and falling asleep. Too damn cute for words.

Right, I'm off to collapse now, and dream of kittens and weddings
Night Reader!

Monday, 30 July 2012

More tales from the callcentre of doom...

Reader, this is an actual conversation I had today

Me: Hi Mr. Oldfart, it's just Ash calling from your wine society. How are you today?

Mr. Oldfart: Who?

Me: Your wine society Mr. Oldfart. Poshies Wine. You've been with us for 7 years.

Mr. Oldfart: What are you saying now?

Me (speaking veeeeeery slowly): IT'S ASH FROM YOUR WINE SOCIETY.

Mr. Oldfart: I don't want any groceries.

Me (trying not to be rude but failing miserably): No sir, we sell wine.

Mr. Oldfart: What language are you speaking? Bloody Indians.

Me (now pissed off): Sir, I come from England. I am calling from London.

Mr. OldFart: Are you from the library? 

Me: No, I'm from POSHIES. Would you like some wine? With a discount?

Mr. Oldfart: I haven't taken out any books.

Me: Sir, shall I call back later? You seem to be having trouble hearing me.

Mr. Oldfart: Stop mumbling! No, I can hear you.

Me: You can?

Mr. Oldfart: YES. I'm not deaf you know.

Me: Oh no Sir, I was just saying would you like some wine from us?

Mr. Oldfart: From the library?

Me: No sir, from Poshies.

Mr. Oldfart: I've never got wine from them

Me: Yes you have Sir, you got a case of reds and whites in march.

Mr. Oldfart: No. I buy from Poshies.

Me: That's us Sir.

Mr. Oldfart: No, you said you were called something else.

Me: No, definitely Poshies. Did you want some wine Sir?

Mr. Oldfart: I'm not deaf you know!

Me (groaning inwardly): I wouldn't suggest it Sir! What sort of wine do you like?

Mr. Oldfart: I haven't got time to talk now, call me back tomorrow!

Me: Ok sir.


Mr. Oldfart: Bloody callcentres in bloody India.

I can't win. On the plus side, I managed to plan my outfit for the wedding today between calls! Still no idea what to wear for the hen do though. What does one wear to a hen do anyway? Feathers? I'm going to wear feathers. And possibly a beak.


Friday, 20 July 2012

Roast spectacular...

Reader, on Sunday I made a truly awesome roast dinner. It took me six hours (not including the prep work I did the night before), but it was so ridiculously amazing that there were no left overs. None. Not even a scrap. So I felt it only right that I share with you how to make some of the best bits of it.


Lemon and Garlic chicken
Wheat free Gruyère and caramelised onion tartlets (we also have these at Christmas, they're a fab veggie alternative to meat for a roast as they work brilliantly with gravy and trimmings)
Twice roasted potatoes
Mashed potatoes
Carrots (boiled)
Broccoli (boiled)
Yorkshire puds
Wheat free apple and date pie

I'd never made a roast chicken by myself before, what with becoming a veggie at 16, but it was actually a lot easier than I thought. I completely ignored the cooking time on the package and prepared it three hours in advance, then kept it warm in the oven. Before that I stuffed the chicken with half a lemon and three crushed garlic cloves and rubbed it all over with said ingredients. I then massaged it with olive oil and poured a little inside. I baked the chicken on gas mark 6 for an hour and a half before turning it over (there were quite a lot of juices at this point) and cooking again for 20 minutes, then I raised the chicken above the residual juice left in the baking tray and kept it on a low heat of gas mark 2 till we ate. The carnivores of the family said it was very moist, flavoursome and perfectly cooked so something went right!

The pies are slightly more work, I originally found the recipe in Delia Smith's Christmas Cookbook, which is an old one we've had since either the late 80s or early 90s I think. It makes 8 small tartlets


175g plain flour
75g butter (room temp)
50g strong cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

For the filling-2 eggs (beaten)
175ml single cream (I used low fat)
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
75g Gruyère cheese
25g butter
240g red onions
salt and pepper to season

Heat oven to gm 4 (180 degrees C). Firstly make up the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour till it  looks a bit breadcrumby, then add grated cheddar and mustard powder plus enough water to turn the make a smoothish dough. Shove it in the fridge for 20 mins (ten mins will do in a pinch). Roll out really thin and line greased patty tins, before baking in the oven for 15-20 mins or till pastry is airtight but still pale. Cool to the side, while you caramelise the onions in butter and sugar over a low heat, till they've turned all gooey and golden brown, then take off heat. Brush pastry with a bit of the beaten egg, then put back in the oven for 5 mins (stops them getting soggy). Mix beaten eggs with cream, mustard and salt and pepper. Spoon the onions onto the pastry, top with grated Gruyère and then carefully pour the eggy mix over each tart. Bake for 30 mins or till golden. I tend to do mine the day before and then reheat them, they are also amazing cold with salad.

With the potatoes, I boil them till practically falling apart. While this is happening, I'll have a deep baking tin (Or two) in the oven doused in olive oil, salt and pepper on full temperature. Drain the potatoes, let them dry for five mins, then (wearing oven gloves and standing away from the oven) pour them into the tin. Be careful at this point, hot oil is really not your friend. Stir them round the tin and flick some knobs of butter on the top, then leave cooking for 45 minutes. Come back and toss them and then leave in oven on middle shelf for up to 3 hours on gm 3. They're ridiculously crunchy and soft on the inside-killer!

Hope you guys enjoy if you get round to trying these little methods!


Saturday, 14 July 2012

The first of many

Reader, I have about 6 blog entries I need to write. This is mainly my own fault for not writing one for so long, but then between trying to earn money, looking after my family, keeping my relationship in a happy place and feeding my ever growing Pinterest addiction, there hasn't been much time for typing up my thoughts and ideas. But I have realised that when I don't write them down, they are a lot harder to keep coherent in my brain, so I shall make much more of an effort to update weekly. Apologies for the long absence. Again.


The week before last was ridiculously full. Maybe I should make headings? That way I won't end up just mixing everything up in a big haze of bleh. Here goes..

Buffy on a big screen

So the lovely (and jaw droppingly young to be so wise) SJ had a birthday. As she works in a cinema, I found myself spending my Sunday night dressed as a geek in oversized glasses watching one of my childhood  favourites, Buffy 'Once more with feeling' (AKA the musical episode for those not acquainted with the series) on a big screen. Along with people dressed as Hans Solo, Lol Cat, My Drunk Kitchen and that masked guy from Watchmen whose name I can't spell (Rawshak? Raushack? Bollocks. I could look it up, but it's almost more fun not knowing.) Bloody brilliant. It reminded me of how good a role model Buffy (and indeed the majority of women in the series) is for young girls. I feel a bit sorry for the current generation of tweens actually. I mean...they have Bella in Twilight. I had a kick ass teenage vampire slayer. Who still found time to look after her mum and sister and do her homework. And choose bad men, not because they intrigued her with their sparkly male enigma-ness, but because if they took a step out of line, she was perfectly capable of breaking their pretty little necks. And because they were pretty (Oh Spike! Be still my beating heart! That awful accent....that gelled peroxide hair!) On reading The Hunger Games of late though, I was struck by the thought that Katniss kicks quite a bit of bum too. But there are only three books. Ideally, we need a weekly TV show with a strong female role model. I want my 8 year old cousin Daisy to aspire to fight her own battles, not to hope she'll be rescued in the nick of time by some randomer on a horse...


Because the lovely fruit and veg account I was on at work has suddenly and unexpectedly downsized (major bummer), I spent much of the week before last training to go back on wines. I very nearly died of dull. It's not that the subject matter is boring, on the contrary, I'm actually quite into finding out about stuff like that. It's more that I did the exact same training nearly a year ago. And although it's very much needed, it was all stuff that in my heart of hearts, I knew. So although my brain needed to hear it so it could remember, it was also going 'uber yawn...I've HEARD this before!' I'm hoping that soon I'll get a nicely paid acting job that will take me away from the dreaded phonelines for a few months at least. Or maybe I'll get a promotion so I'll have to talk to people on the phones less. I am quite possibly developing a phobia of talking on the phone, having worked at the office for a year (in between various acting projects). Going away for four months to do my tour actually made it harder to come back I think! Having done something I adore for so long, going back to the daily monotony of phoning people was like going back to jail after a holiday in the sun. And speaking of holiday in the sun...


An exciting thing has happened! I've just booked my first ever holiday with just me and The Lad (apart from our two nights in a dodgy Britannia hotel in Brighton last year, which was lovely, but more mini-break than holiday). In September we'll be spending a whole week in sunny Cyprus, eating nice food, lounging by a pool, dozing in the sun, frolicking in the sea and generally hanging out. I am so excited that I've already started making a list of the perfect holiday capsule wardrobe. It will be a short list since I'm only allowed to bring hand luggage, but I feel this means it's essential to get planning early. I'm even getting a Kindle so I can bring loads of books and not have to worry about not having room for clothes! Can't wait!

Film festival

A film I made got featured in The East End Film Festival! And people seemed to like it! There was applause and everything! There was a bit of a scary minute when my sex scene came on (I'm always worried I'll overhear someone talking about how mad my sex face/noises are in it) but everyone seemed to just take it as part of the film. And no one noticed me giggling nervously into my shirt and hiding my face while it was being shown, so I didn't look too uncool. Hopefully. There were so many great shorts that night, it made me really excited about the short I'm writing at the moment, about which you'll probably hear quite a bit more over the next year or so, but for now, I'm keeping mum.


Coming back to the callcentre has made my dream life go crazy. At the moment I'm having vivid dreams every night about everything from primary school, to exploring alien planets, to cooking, to The Lad, to family, to little ruby babies with rabbit ears, to castles in the sky, to eco systems and worlds based around having water fountains everywhere, to weddings (of which I will be attending a lot next month), to acting, to poems by Blake, to dragons with opal stone scales. I'm not complaining because they're brilliantly interesting dreams, but they're a bit mad. It's like my daily working life is so boring now that my dream life has to be super interesting in comparison. Lets hope soon I have an acting job I can flood it all into!


I saw Spiderman. I kind of expected to hate it. But I loved it. I cried. Rhys was brilliant and green. I'm a little in love with Andrew Garfield right now (super strong, super cute, has big eyes and floppy hair, brings you flowers and stutters a little? Erm....yes please. Also, his and Emma Stone's on screen kisses look HAWT). On a less teenage crushy level, Garfield is a great actor. I saw him years ago at the National playing an American kid thrust into a massacre abroad and he was off the charts brilliant. He gives Spiderman something that I felt Toby Magwire lacked, a kind of teenage boy appeal that is very truthful (despite him actually being older than me). He gets bruised and battered, he can't form words without a slight lisp appearing, he walks like he's only just shot up to six foot whatever and still isn't used to it and he has a charming teenagey clumsiness to him. And Aunt May! She's so much more interesting in this film. In the last set, I always felt like she was a very 2D image, in this film they don't offer huge amounts of back story to her, but the relationship between her and her husband is so real and silly and touching that the tragedy (trying not to spell it out for anyone who somehow doesn't know what happens) is a huge blow when it actually happens. The mystery surrounding Peter's parents was also great and left me wanting more. The inevitable Stan Lee cameo was hilarious. In fact, the only thing I didn't like about the film was the teaser after the credits. It felt poorly structured and rather than exciting me about the next film (as the Avengers teaser did) it felt like an unnecessary nod to the fact that they still hadn't rounded off the narrative. Apart from that, damn fine show.


I have a fringe now.

I guess that's about it for now! Hopefully there will be another post from me tomorrow eve, quite possibly about the family day I'm going to be having!
Tarrah Reader!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

In which I am addicted to Pinterest...

Reader, I have an addiction. No, nothing involving drugs, or dry martinis or anything like that. My addiction has to do with looking at online scatter boards posted by complete and utter strangers...

Yes, Pinterest has got me in her instagram photo'd grip and I am obsessed. I first discovered the site at the beginning of this year, when someone recommended it to my newly engaged friend Tikki to help her organise her ideas for the wedding. Tikki didn't like the idea of strangers being able to see your boards, but I was instantly intregued.

I personally use the site like an enormous online universal wishlist. I'm still really just starting off, so I only have three boards, one which shows the sort of things I'd like in my wardrobe, one that shows how I'd like to decorate my first home and one which is just sort of things that grab my attention. Now, if I win the lottery, the first two will come in very handy, as all of the pictures you post on the site link back to where you found it originally, meaning if i suddenly had the moolah to afford a shiny red smeg fridge, I could just click on my link and be able to order one. Delightful.

Of course, half the fun of the site is that you get to see what other people put up, which is like a facinating glimpse into what's going on in their heads and what kind of lifestyle they dream of having. It seems lots of people want painted wooden furniture and spiral staircases. And, surprisingly, models peering through long messy hair. I get particularly excited by the recipes that get shared online, as they tend to feature new techniques and the more colourful American approaches to cake decoration. I've already tried out three ideas I've had from images posted on the site and they've all gone spectacularly well so far.

Now, the only problem with this is that checking to see who's repinned your pictures and what's been posted is addictive. Along with checking my email, Facebook and Twitter, pinterest is one of the first things I check online in the mornings and I find myself strangely disappointed if someone hasn't posted something I can bake, dream of shopping for or place in my ideal home. and it takes up an awful lot of time. Also, because there's not an android ap for it, I see something I want to put up during the day, I have to wait till I get home and do it on the computer and write down the link, which is all very inconvenient!

Apart from that though, there's something very calming about going online and seeing a wall of things that make you smile. It's a bit like being a kid at Christmas with the argos catalog-you probably won't get all the things you circle with your red biro. But It's nice to live in hope!

So get on Pinterest Reader! And start posting yummy things I can drool over, stat!


Sunday, 24 June 2012

The itch...

Reader, it's been just over two weeks since I last did a show. Two of the longest weeks in my life. It feels like it's been months and months since I last did some acting, even though in those two weeks I've had a voice job. So technically it's been a week and a half since I did an acting job.

The thing is Reader, I have an awful itch. For the past four months I've been acting every single week (or at the very least anticipating acting) and now I'm not, the weeks seem to stretch into aeons. And everything is terribly grim and depressing. My bank balance is woefully low. The English summer has yet to show signs of actually existing. I am overweight (for me anyway) from too much eating out on tour and too much comfort baking the week I got back. I am working at the call centre every single day of the week. The agencies I applied for have been more silent than the grave. I've spent loads of cash on fillings, travel cards and phone bills. I've finished reading The Hunger Games. I'm developing fine lines and wrinkles. My hair is really really boring...

Maybe that's it Reader. Maybe I need a drastic new haircut. Something like....a fringe. That's it. I need a fringe to make me feel all youthful and exuberant again! Where are my scissors...No....must refrain from cutting hair at 2.30 in morning whilst doleful and tired and (let's face it) a bit podgy round the face. I would definitely have forgotten about it by the morning and then be too tired to deal with the complex emotions that come with waking up to a wonky fringe. Still, couldn't be worse than last time. I asked my friend Claire to do it for me. In my defence she said she'd cut people's hair before...she gave me what can only be described as half a bowl-cut. The fringe was cut so far round my head I looked like a Beatle attempting to look like Yoko Ono from behind. Next time I'll trust my own hand more. Or possibly go to the hair salon. My best ever fringe was done by a girl called Vicky I lived with for a year in Canterbury. We'd just watched The Devil Wears Prada and I was young and excitable and made her do an Anne Hathaway fringe. She was remarkably good at it. She probably wouldn't appreciate a call at nearly three am saying 'Hey Vicky! Yeah, I know I haven't seen you in nearly four years, and you live in Essex now, but fancy coming to North London and cutting me a fringe in again?' Shame that.

Of course, there's also a whisper in my ear that says 'you'll be offered a period audition for something the second you cut it in' but then, by the time filming/the actual play came about, I'd have been able to grow it out surely? My hair grows really stupidly fast after all...or I could wear a wig. And besides, I'm getting old fast! I won't be able to do crap like this in a few years time! I'm already getting a bit too old for my playsuits!

So essentially, either I get cast in something sharpish (here or in america, really not fussy...or somewhere hot hot hot!) or I cut an Anne Hathaway fringe in. Or both. Reader, I think I need a spiritual advisor to make these decisions for me....

On that hairy note (my puns are getting worse...)

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Guess who's back?

Hey Reader, sorry about the long blogging absence, I've been back from the tour since Sunday and as you can probably imagine it's been a bit of an adjustment period. In fact, I'm still adjusting. To the extent that I can't quite bring myself to go put my suitcase upstairs because I feel like I'm going to be on the train to East Anglia again tomorrow. But no, am officially a jobbing actor again. I should really go on holiday and have a rest or something, am so run down I look like a meth addict/hag who lives in a cave and eats eels but I'm really really poor at the mo, so that's not looking too likely. The Lad might be going on holiday with his friends, and thus will probably have to endure quite a massive sulk from me, given that we were supposed to be going away together but then he decided he wanted to go abroad for the summer and work (nope, that never happened, interviews for his PGCE had to take precedence, understandably). If it ends up with me being stuck in England and him prancing off somewhere balmy with his mates, I will be rather grumpy. I may be forced to spend some of my savings (for our future home together) and go off by myself on a cheapo last minute deal. Or (more likely, given my skintness) go and spend a while in my friend's house in eastbourne, having no heating but being able to go swimming in the sea at night after a few cocktails and eating chips out of greasy paper every day. Actually...that sounds like just the ticket...

Going back to work has been pretty weird too. On top of being so exhausted I can't hold a logical conversation, the whole of my floor is full of people I don't know, talking about how great and flexible the job is. Ok, so they're right. It is flexible. But I've been there on and off for a year now, and every time there's a new batch of workers, they say the same thing. Within a month it's all doom and gloom. And then a new batch come in, etc. I've slightly turned into a grumpy old biddy, crowing 'you'll learn!' at them in my head as I try and resist (and usually fail) the temptation of the vending machine.

I'll be back to my usual, irritatingly optimistic ways soon, after lots more chocolate and sleep. Till then, I apologise to anyone I snap at, I just have post-tour blues!

Before I go, I HAVE to tell you about the mad thing that just happened to me! I'd just jumped in the bath and dipped my head under when there was a positively FRIGHTFUL hammering at the door and ringing of the bell. Thinking my mum had forgotten her keys and had a work call to make, I leapt out of the bath, wrapped myself in a big old towel and legged it downstairs. Not my mother however. Nope, a massive Caribbean post man holding a parcel to be signed for. He sort of leered at me and went 'no school today then?' To be fair, the towel was hiding all my curvy bits and make up free, I look absurdly young, but still, I'm 24! 'Nope, bit old for that Mate' I said as I took the parcel and went to close the door to I could retire back to my bath 'Just my luck!' He letched 'Come for a drink with me tonight'. Reader, I've already told you I'm a moody cow at the moment. I just went 'NO, My bath is running, BYE.' and almost slammed the door in his face. But seriously! If I look so young that he thinks I should be in uniform then what on earth is he doing asking me out? The bloke was in his thirties! At the absolute oldest he must have assumed I was 18, but I have a sneaky suspicion he thought I was more like 15. Also, I'm in a towel, which makes me massively vulnerable, how dare he proposition me like that at my own door?! Where is his sense of professionalism? What a creep. Needless to say, double lock went on the door after that and I'll be ignoring the bell next time I'm in a towel, even if I'm SURE it's one of the family needing to be let in! 

On that creepy note Reader, I'm off to dry my hair!

Monday, 28 May 2012

It's all happened rather quickly...

Reader, in two weeks time, my tour will be over. OVER. DONE. FINITO. I am, quite frankly, terrified. Ok, so it had to come to an end eventually. But given that I've spent more time with this group of people over the last four months than I have with my family, it's going to be a serious adjustment not hanging out with them at every given opportunity. It's been a bit like working with the famous five, only with vodka instead of ginger beer, a minibus instead of bicycles and Little Chef lunches instead of Aunt Fanny's picnics. And there's also the point that I have nothing lined up for after the tour, apart from a film I did last year being shown at the East End Film Festival in London and a few possible auditions. Being self employed is bloody scary sometimes. Being on tour is great, because when you tell people you're an actress and they ask if you're up to anything, you've always got an answer. In mid June, I will only be able to reply with 'Erm, well, I'm working at a call centre, but hopefully something will come up soon...' Time to get back to letter writing and appealing to casting directors I think.

At least when the tour's done I'll have more free time. I've been a social hermit since it started, and I'm despo to see my old uni friends again! And catch up with my drama school mates, who are all doing mad and interesting things! And bake more often...

Maybe I'll take up knitting. Or I'll start working 6 days a week. More money would defo come in useful since I am currently outrageously skint and in need of a holiday (which I haven't had in three years). Or I'll get an acting project in a hot climate with another group of really fun people? Yes please...

To be fair, it's probably about time the tour ended, my poor liver is as shrivelled as pot pourri with all the booze I've been chucking back, and nightly cheese sarnies have made my scales screech in horror. Salad and tofu with a side order of jogging for the month after I finish I reckon. And maybe the odd solero. Because it's summer, and a life without ice cream at summer is no life at all. And maybe the odd glass of pimms...or pitcher....oh dear....

Enjoy your fab lollies Reader!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

How do you fund a thing like theatre?

Reader, a lovely chap who I went to uni with asked me to write a little bit about theatre funding recently. Mainly because he's doing a show and is trying to get people to give him money on a site called wefund so he can get it off it's feet (if you want to help out a very worthy cause and donate a couple of quid to this up and coming company, I'll put all the info you need at the bottom of the page, please do, they are jolly nice). Once I'd gotten over my epic smugness at being asked to write about something rather intellectual and 'proper' (which surely marks me out as the sort of writer who should get paid for what they Not yet? Blast.) I was hit by a sudden and abject fear.

Reader, the truth of it is that I know NOTHING about funding the arts. Bugger all in fact. I am supposed to be making a short film at the end of the year/beginning of the next, and although I know that we'll need money, it's a very vague concept that I assume I'll just magically understand when I need to. Like getting a mortgage. Or having a baby.

The thing is, increasingly for actors in today's industry, if you want to play the big/small but interesting parts, you have to create the stage on which you present yourself. Producers and directors go for named actors from the larger agencies rather than taking a risk on an unknown actor and when the opportunity to do that part that you've been dreaming of finally does come up, what's the likelihood that you'll be able to play with it and make it truly yours? Actors and crossing the line into writing, producing and directing, meaning a wider skill base (and higher levels of sanity) is needed. And as well as accepting more creative control, you also take on the not such fun bits. Like finding locations, paying for things like lighting, cameras and theatres and being the person that's supposed to be a) responsible for everything and everyone and b) the fall guy. Hmmm, a less attractive prospect perhaps. Luckily there are ways of getting help from the public. Increasingly, fewer creatives are relying on producers or commercial partners to fund their projects, but are instead putting it in the hands of the public on websites like wefund. As far as I can tell, you basically create a page for your project, you set a target and people pledge money. So if you make your Target, the money automatically goes to you, if not, no one pays anyone anything. Which seems fair. I may even use it myself one day soon!

Of course, if anyone would just like to donate a couple of grand to me to get it made, that would also be marvellous...

Hope you're enjoying the sun Reader!

Some Stuff on Volpone (The play being sponsered on

With thanks to Matthew Badham

1) why did you decide to use wefund?

This is my first time funding a show with we fund, a few companies I know have used it in the past to take shows to Brighton Fringe or Edinbrough etc, So after seeing the success they had using the site I decided we should try it out.

One of the great things about We Fund is that it gives you a chance to spread the word of a show before it even happens. Usually getting together the money for a show is quite a solitary affair, a lot of sitting at a desk and letter writing; with we fund you set up your own page for all to see, get a bit of hype going (hopefully) before the show is even in rehearsal and even the chance to forge relationships with supporters of the theatre who will continue to follow your company’ future productions.

2) What sources of funding have you used in the past?

In the past I have funded shows thoroughly through corporate sponsorship. It’s a lot of hard work though, consisting on letter writing and phone calls to follow up. It’s a bit of a pestering game.

Of course there is the option of applying for ACE funding, In the future I would like to apply for some form of Arts Council England funding for company development; our plan is to start to run workshops for actors, but the task at hand is to get this show funded and up on its feet. 

3) And what do you hope to achieve from the show? – Kris to answer

The shadow of Shakespeare hangs long over British Theatre. In this year where the UK plays host to the Cultural Olympia to play side by side with the Olympic games you cant help but encounter more and more of his productions; the Globe to Globe project, RSC residencies at the Noel Coward and Roundhouse, Timon of Athens in the Olivier, the Histories on the BBC. Shakespeare is our national poet and it is fantastic that he is being celebrated in the year where Britain is being showcased on a global scale. However our reverence does seem to lead to other playwrights of his era being left in the shade. The case for Ben Jonson is that he is too good to be ignored.
In his time Jonson was the master, Shakespeare his heavyweight challenger. Jonson, a man with links to high society, resident playwright to King James, tackles in his the man on the street; the rogues, brawlers and hookers, Shakespeare more often then not wrote about Kings and those who aspired to be. Ying and yang in style and thought, the audiences at the Globe spoke and Jonson eked out a points victory to stand as the Jacobean’s most important writers. Now looking at his legacy he has left us with three comedies that more than match up to any written by the quill of his rival; The Alchemist, Bartholomew Fair and in my view his ultimate masterpiece- Volpone. The chance to tackle one of the great, underperformed plays in world theatre was an opportunity we couldn’t turn down.
The themes of greed and avarice chime particularly loudly in our present society; desperation to gain more then what we own compels people to acts of desperation and folly. Jonson writes about human foibles and the darkness of human psyche but keeps us on side with a great sense of mischief and rollicking set pieces. The audience is charmed whilst in the company of the louche playboy Volpone and his ever-resourceful parasite Mosca. These are two of the greatest parts in the classical repertory, a joy for the actors to embody and a joy for the audience in encountering them.
By cutting the sub-plot of the Politic Would Be and entourage, the plot of Volpone ricochets along, akin to the great mechanisms of farce, as the leading protagonists juggle the scheming legacy hunters and take disguise to keep their ‘plot’ going right through to its definitive conclusion. By updating the action to a modern day anachronistic world we aim to bring out the bawdy, dark, sexy and hilarious world that Jonson created
Memorable characters, thrilling, funny and dark, Volpone was the obvious choice to complement the Shakespeare heavy summer we are about to witness. We hope audiences will come and witness a play that stands up to the very best work of his friend and rival William Shakespeare.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Fifty shades of flipperty-jibberts...

Ok Reader, so I read the book that's had the literary world in a bit of a flap of late. The book that's being hailed as the new big thing in the world of erotic literature. The one with spanking....

The thing is, Fifty Shades of Grey was a bit of a surprise. A friend's mother gave it to me, describing it simply as 'acceptable porn'. Now, this could have covered a multitude of areas. It could have been about cake or really good food given my love of cooking/eating. It could have been a bit Madame Bovary, all sexy but subtle. It could even have been like one of the Agent P. Short erotica stories. But it wasnt't. Reader, Fifty Shades of Grey is essentially Twilight with less vampires and more S & M dungeons.  A ridiculously good looking millionaire with commitment issues decides that a somewhat ordinary twenty something who interviews him for her uni rag needs to be his submissive (if you don't know what that is, look it up: explaining the ins and outs-Haha-of sado masachism isn't my job dear) and begins pursuing her with all guns blazing.




... still with me? Good. So, she's also a virgin. Not just a virgin, a virgin with pretty much no interest in getting spanked/whipped/having things done to her bum/being clamped in awkward places. And yet still she's like 'ok, let's give this a go!'


So she's saved herself for 21 odd years, just to give it up to the first S&M sex god to turn up, even though she's not that fussed about all that malarkey. Suddenly she starts referring to being f****d. After doing the dirty roughly once. With someone she barely knows. Fair enough. But then why bother saving herself for all those years?

Also, she sort of falls at the first hurdle. He spanks her and she nearly has a fit about how awful it is. Dude. Seriously. What did she imagine might happen? Then whenever he suggests anything new she gets all scared and prissy about it. Surely she knew this sort of thing may be par for the course with a S&M enthusiast? And she's supposed to be intelligent...

The other thing that annoys me a bit is that the novel really panders to a 'chick lit' readership-it's not enough that they have great sex, they also have to be in a relationship and her parents have to like him. Ooh, and he has to be really rich and gorgeous. Right. Realism. The novel (?!?) needs to make up it's mind. Is it erotica? Is it chick lit? Is it literary fiction about sex? At the moment it seems to be a mish mash of all of the above. If you liked Twilight you might enjoy it but to be honest I found all the characters turgid, one dimensional and generally intensely irritating.


Sunday, 6 May 2012

Insert exercise pun here...

Reader, exercise and I do not mix. I did a zumba class yesterday and now my abs are in AGONIES. So much so that I can't go from a laying down position to a sitting position using just my tummy muscles. I have to pull myself up with my arms, all the while going 'ooohhhhhhh ow ow ow ow' and looking like I'm chewing on a lemon. It probably didn't help that I then did a run this morning, but I felt like I had to take advantage of the new treadmill Mum's invested in whilst I'm in London, before the next segment of the tour on Tuesday, which will (as ever) involve eating out. And whilst I love eating out, I've put on just under half a stone since rehearsals for the tour began and I want to get back to my 'I'm so skinny I can wear a bikini' weight. Because it's smug-making. And I can wear the section of my wardrobe that gets ignored most of the time due to it being slim fitting.

But now I'm suffering after ages of not exercising followed by two big old bouts one day after another. My body was made for baking and pillocking around on a stage, not running in trainers or shaking my booty to r&b 'choons'! The Lad currently has severe manflu but I am the one who can't sit up without assistance, so I am getting all of the attention. And pillows. Mwa ha ha. My aim is to do another run early Tuesday morning, before I have to catch my train, so hopefully my body will have repaired itself before then. I'm sure chocolate must be a cure for this sort of thing. Right? If not, I may have to eschew the running for some nice gentle yoga. And hot baths.

In other news, I am off to see SJ tomorrow, and we're returning to Bea's of Bloomsbury, which has now got a diner! We're hopefully going to be doing a mini review (much like our cake reviews, only this one will probably be back in the old format of being blogged rather than vlogged), so keep your eyes peeled. After that am planning to go visit my lovely Irish grandparents, who are then going back to Ireland till the end of May, when they'll be coming to see my show! Huzzah! It's so nice having family in the audience, because you know there'll be friendly faces to come out to at the end. And drinks bought for you after of course!

Alight chaps, The Lad is coughing something dreadful, so I'm going to force some fisherman's friends down his gullet. If I can get myself in a sitting position that is. Ouch.

Friday, 4 May 2012


Reader, as you can probably tell from the title of this entry, I recently saw Avengers Assemble. And it was bloody brilliant. What is there not to love about a superhero movie featuring Mark Ruffalo (BEST HULK EVER!), Robert Downey Jr. (I want to steal him away so he can sit in my room being snarky about everything), Tom Hiddleston as the lovably naughty Loki (you just can't hate him. He's too funny...) and Chris Hemsworth (...dribble...)?

Oh yeah. Scarlett Johansson playing Black Widow. Bleh. Ok, so I know some of you will be going 'you're just jealous' and to an extent, you'd be right. I am extremely jealous. I mean HELLO best superhero movie ever? I'd KILL to do that! But there's also more to it than that. Firstly, why does the only female Avenger have to be-let's face it-not a real super? She is essentially a ninja/spy who's a bit crap at hiding who she is. Plus, there's all the 'oh yeah, she's a girl, she's sexy'. Ok. We get it. Ladies have curvy figures. But how insulting that she once uses the tear ploy (my superpower is pretending to be sad!) and once uses letting people beat her up to get information out of them? And how comes she doesn't get to be funny? Every other character has humour to them. She gets one, really pathetic line about parties. Some could say that's the Russian sense of humour. I say it's poor female character building. One more piece of criticism before I move on: The American accent. Maybe fanboys/girls of the comics can help me out here as Black Widow is a relatively unknown character to me, but she's supposed to be Russian, right? So where's the accent. There's mention of her having her brain messed with, was it a side effect? So yeah, not terribly impressed by that element of the film. Also, I met her once and she's kind of bitchy in real life.

Not all women in the film are irritating though. Gwyneth shone (hurrah! An intelligent female character!) as Pepper Potts and Cobie Smulders was a delight every time she spoke (So much so that I wanted to see her on screen much much pandering there!)

The thing is, I'd really like to see a female super on screen that isn't entirely crap. Let's face it, Wonderwoman as an idea is wonderful but is essentially all about the body, although I'm completely intrigued to see how they'll handle that one (if it's made into a respectable character that at least nods towards her feminist, Amazonian past and doesn't use her feminine wiles constantly, I'll be satisfied). Personally, I want to play SheHulk. Now THERE'S a character I can get my teeth into. Just to say 'SHE HULK SMASH!'  I'd also love to see Zatana hit up the big screen, her comics always seem to hit the perfect balance.

To be honest though, all the feminist stuff didn't distract that much from the utterly brilliant filmwork going on. I loved the interplay between the characters, the one liners were spectacular, it was fabulous for a relatively superficial comic geek like me but also for The Lad, who prays at the temples of Forbidden Planet and Orbital comics every Wednesday to get his fix. I came out with a massive smile on my face, quoting lines and still drooling a bit from Chris Hemsworth. The Lad is convinced that I am, much like Chris Evans, someone sent from the past, because I understood all of the same references that he jumped on, and I needed to pee for the final half hour but didn't leave the screen. For me, that's pretty much a first. Usually I'm not that fussed about missing two seconds of a film, but with this one it would have felt like a real loss.

Now, this was just going to be a blog about the film, but given that today was the elections, I can't go without mentioning how ashamed I am of my generation in terms of voting. There are countries out there where people don't have the chance to vote, or where their voting is completely disregarded. In some, women aren't allowed to vote yet, in others people are killed for their political beliefs. And here we have one of the lowest turn outs for years. I mean seriously?! Are our citizens that disillusioned with democracy? Ok, so we didn't have an Obama standing for Mayor of London this year (I wish). But at least vote to make sure UKIP don't get it. The BNP featured a racist reverend talking about 'fighting the threat of Islam' for goodness sake. At least vote so THAT doesn't get in! And I'm sorry, but you can't complain about the cost of the tube, or congestion charge, or your STREETLIGHTS not working if you don't vote for your local MP. Who do you think is in charge of this stuff? We vote them in. By majority. I know who I voted for, I know if they got in and did a crap job, I'd only have myself to blame. I also know that if a party I didn't vote for got in, I'd at least feel like I'd done all I could by voting for someone I believed in. But the crap I've heard over the past month or so about the elections really beggars belief. Here are a few titbits, overheard from strangers, friends and (oh lord) family,

  • 'I'm voting Boris, cause he's SUCH a joker!' Brilliant, well done. That's just what we want. Guess how much your monthly travelcard is? HAHA!
  • 'I'm not voting, because I don't like any of the parties' Really? None of them? Or just the main three? You do understand that one of them will still get in though right? And it might be the one you hate the most!
  • 'I don't really understand why the BNP have such a bad name. My parents vote for them, and they're not racist' Uhm....what?!
  • 'It's just one vote, it's not like it makes a difference' Funny, that's what everyone else said...
  • 'I'm not really directly affected by these elections' Oh I'm sorry, do you not take public transport? Or drive? Or pay tax? Or rent? Or get benefits of any kind? Or LIVE?
Sorry to be a sarcastic susan Reader, but it really does peeve me the way some people throw their vote out the window. People have died for us to have the vote. Why would you be that blasé about it? And on that note, I'm off to go check the election results...gulp...

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

My coconutty confession...

Reader, I am a terrible person. Why? When I got back from tour the other day, there was a full Tupperware container full of my favourite Irish biscuits, sort of a soft base with coconut covered pink marshmallow layered on top with a strip of neon red jam in the middle (it looks vaguely naughty from certain angles, but I've only just worked that out from trying to describe it without it sounding like a lady's secretive parts). Now the Tupperware is empty. For a while, I tried to convince myself that other people had been eating them too, but I must face the truth. It was me. I ate at least 15 biscuits in two days without really realising. I have a wheaty food baby and am on a strange sugar high and I'm pretty sure I've smeared marshmallow somewhere on my hair that will only be discovered when at the newsagent's tomorrow. This is also not the first time this has happened. By a long shot.

There was also the time I accidentally ate all the Christmas chocolate coins. All four bags. My reasoning was that it was officially after Christmas so I should really be congratulating myself. And before I knew it, all of the coins were buried treasure. And the time I melted down all my Eggs to make into fridge cake, so I could share it round and save myself from the calories. Silly idea, without the foil in the way there was nothing stopping me. The poor, innocent little fridge cake lasted less than a day. The Lad insists he only had three chunks, but surely he must be fibbing...

The thing is, I'm very good at sort of inhaling food. If it was a contest, I'd be an Olympic gold medalist. In fact, if they made it part of the games, I'm pretty sure I'd be able to give Britain a chance of winning this year. It's why I tend not to have nice treat food in the house. Because I don't realise I'm eating it until it's gone. And then I mourn it's absence. When there's only healthy food in the house, I eat very healthily. The other night at The Lad's new flat I had low fat aubergine bake. With no dessert. And no carbs. Ok, so I may have slightly grumbled about it, but I survived and was probably all the better for it. When I have my own place, there are certain foods that will just have to be outlawed. They are the following:

1) Bread-because if drunk enough or hormonal enough, I could eat a whole loaf.

2) Chocolate-obviously

3) Crisps-because I always think-oh, I'll just have half the bag, and then I eat the whole thing and sit in a smug salty pile of chubbiness.

4) Supernoodles-too easy to eat for a lazy lump like me (as in 'Hmmm....I could make a healthy tofu stir fry with all these veg....or I could have supernoodles on toast.....')

5) Chocolate or Honey nut based cerial-because I will treat it as a non-real-food product. In other words, consume it like air.

6) Biscuits-I think as the first paragraph mentions, I can't be trusted not to eat all of them by accident in one sitting

7) Salted nuts-See crisps

8) Dried Pineapple-even if massively healthy version. Have a strange addiction to it and WILL work my way through a family sized bag if left to my own devices.

9) Nutella-we had some in the house once, and then I discovered how good it was on a spoon and it vanished very very quickly

10) Processed cheese and onion pastries-don't judge me!

The fact is, if I have healthy food in the house, I am a very clever cook. I make a mean spicy ratatouille. And my garlic leeks in low fat cream cheese are sensational on top of a jacket potato or just with a bowl of greens. I do things to aubergine that make them taste like something that should be very very bad for you and I know how to make pancakes low fat. But I am a sucker for nasty, sugar filled, salt drenched, abjectly fake food. I think I may have to accept that my addiction to fatty fabulousness is just part of who I am and be proud of it. After all, everything in moderation, right?

Now I just have to work out how to shift the blame about those biscuits...

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Lurgy Continued...

Reader, this illness malarkey is getting a bit dull. I stayed home from work today because my head feels full of cotton wool and I keep feeling like my bones might break beneath me, so I'm going to be royally skint for a fair while. The Lad was going to take me out to the cinema but once I'd got my make up on and skinny jeans zipped up, I was too knackered to do anything other than lay on the sofa and watch season two of Made In Chelsea (and then get weakly jealous of them). Now I'm in bed, because sitting upright felt too difficult and my head got really heavy and fuzzy.

I am not feeling quite myself.

I need to get better, because tomorrow morning brings a meeting with a potential new agent and then searching for a present for my eight year old cousin's Communion (don't want to get here anything too religious, because I'm not and it would be hypocritical, but feel a bottle of whiskey and some fags might be pushing it). If I get home early enough, I've got lots of emailing to do too, I just hope I have the energy for it after the excitement of being in Central London of a day! I may have to slink back into bed and just sleep through the afternoon to be honest. Or watch Caggie and crew go spend loads of cash on MIC.

On that note Reader, I'm going to doze off and hopefully dream of being born a biscuit empire heir,

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Anniversary, long distance.

Reader, yesterday was mine and The Lad's third anniversary. Three whole years of being together! Neither of us can remember if it marks the date we first kissed or the date he asked me to be his girlfriend ' you want to be boyfriend and girlfriend or something?' 'Let's see shall we?' (Yes reader, I was the ice bitch from hell when we got together), but the anniversary is still quite a big deal I reckon. Last year we went to Brighton on a mini break together and ate lots of cake and played on the beach all day. This year, not only are we both skint but I'm away on tour, so we couldn't be together over the weekend. And, like on valentines day, I was somehow surrounded by couples again! Bad luck. This time round though, they're all rather lovely couples that I actually know, rather than random pashing teens in central norwich. Better luck! And one of the female halves of one of the couples made me a gorgeous veggie carbonara, so I will of course be forever be in her debt! Then I watched jaws. You know, cause, sharks.

We are going to celebrate, but we only have one evening to do so, when I'll have been travelling all day and will have to to go the call centre the next day to attempt to earn a bit of cash so my phone bill doesn't bankrupt me, so it may be a bit of a tame one. No swinging from the light fittings at the electric ballroom etc. Probably more like eating pasta and watching a film in bed and catching up after not seeing each other for a week and a half. Which is rather nice really isn't it! Maybe next year we'll do something really exciting. If he's not sick of me by then, obviously!

Today is Easter Sunday (a whole weekend of excitement), so I celebrated by eating a caramel egg in bed then making my cast pancakes. I now feel like a rather bouncy inflated whale toy. I did have an actual Easter egg from home, but since I have no willpower, I broke the egg and pulled it through the little window at the front (because if you don't open the box, the calories don't count, blates.). No willpower at all. Not a trace. If i can, I might pop into church at some point today and light some candles for my family. The last vestiges of catholicism are driving me in! Note to self-call grandmother...

Right, I'm going to go wrap up and have a nice long walk on the beach,
Happy easter folks!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The hotel inspector...

Reader, I had a wicked time over the past few days. We're back in east anglia for a bit, and we've had a couple of days off from the show, staying in a nice hotel and recharging before the next leg of the tour. The hotel we're staying in is a premiere inn, which I thought would be pretty basic, but compared to our last hotel, It's luxury!

The last one was just outside of Manchester and it made all sorts of grand claims like 'swimming pool' and 'cocktail bar'! The swimming pool was closed due to an 'electrical fault' (god only knows what that means, probably that they couldn't filter out the wee and used plasters or something) the bar didn't even serve diet coke on tap, let alone pina coladas and the whole place smelt of sulphur and cabbage. Add to that a overly sarcastic front desk manager, dirty towels, mad art in the halls that looked like free posters from the local post office, scarily hot showers, old tea left from the previous occupants in the room's teapot and a 7am false fire alarm and essentially we were in faulty towers. Luckily, the new place is clean, quiet and nicely put together so we've had a perfectly chilled few days of watching films, doing face masks and eating rather nice food.

It's felt like a bit of a holiday actually, complete with the obligatory Easter holiday rain and so much pick and mix that we all felt slightly pukey. The holiday's over now though, off to a new venue tonight for the show and then going to a seaside cottage till Tuesday. What a hard life I do live!

Right Reader, I'm off to do a bit of a work out, all those neon sweets I've been munching on are going to do dreadful things for my thighs and I've just brought a (possibly ill advised) pair of high waisted hotpants). Bugger!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Beaten by psychic Sally...

Reader, last night I did a show on the most enormous venue I've ever performed in. It seated well over a thousand people, had a ceiling so high you probably could have done an indoor fireworks display and at one point I'm pretty sure I heard the far off bleat of a mountain goat on the higher seats. The problem was that it was a bit of a last minute venue for us after the funding for another venue had vanished, so they hadn't had time to put us in their seasonal program. And the two local footaball teams were playing against each other. Reader, there were so few people in the crowd that you could almost count them.

It's quite hard when you have such a small audience. They don't laugh as hard as the funny bits (there's a strange fear thing that happens to a small audience, like the other members will judge them if they make noise) so it's difficult for the actors to gage how the show's being taken, there's less energy flowing back and forth and generally it tends to be a bit of a confidence crusher. Luckily, the applause at the end was enthusiastic and there were a number of whoops and hollers (started by one of my old uni friends, thanks Gill!) So we didn't feel too dodgy about the whole thing. Psychic Sally is performing in the same venue this week, and it looks close to selling out. Poor old Dickens! Luckily next week we're in a 70 seater theatre, in a town that's very welcoming to the theatre company (or at least has been in the past) so fingers crossed we'll have a few sell out shows! But first, two days off around Norwich. Bliss! I may go down to the farm to feed the lambs. And have coffee with my norwich based friend. And maybe even get a bit drunk....Hurrah!

Until later reader,

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Off again off again jiggedy jig...

Reader, I have been atrocious at blogging recently, for which I can only apologise. It's quite tough to find the time (and internet) on tour and when I'm at home I tend to be trying to fit in seeing friends and family, doing some hours at the call centre so I can pay my phone bill and travel card and hanging out with The Lad as much as possible. As such, things like blogging, exercising and going to the doctors have all been left by the wayside! And now I'm about to go back off on tour for another week and a half. Blimey! What a busy life I do lead. Tomorrow I'll be performing in a completely enormous theatre just outside of Manchester, a slightly terrifying thought given that it's a weekday and the biggest venue we've performed at so far. Hopefully Manchester is Dickens friendly and the theatre will somehow sell out. Come on theatre gods, please let that happen! Just think of the profit share...yes please!

In other news, my 8 year old cousin just had her first big audition, for a yoghurt advert on the telly! And she got a recall! Proud cousin over here. Although obviously will be highly bitter if she wins a bafta at 8 years old. Although I won't show it. I'll just scheme and plot in silence like some medieval royal who's younger relative is more loved by the public than them. The tower of London may get involved. I'm currently very aware that once the tour is done I have nothing lined up acting wise. I am having a slight actor's panic. I have tentatively applied to a show that's happening right after mine's finishing, and a couple of film jobs, but so far, no cigar. Bums. Such is the life of an actor though! Constantly slightly anxious about where the next job will come from and how you'll pay your rent. Ideally I need something really well paid to come along so that I won't have to panic quite as much and can focus on doing workshops at the Actor's Centre rather than trudging into the call centre. I am being slightly ridiculous as the show doesn't actually finish till June, but I like to know that there's more stuff waiting in the wings (as, I suspect, does every actor on earth). Mastercard ads pay quite well don't they? Can someone get me one of those?

The tour is going brilliantly though. Teaching me all manner of things and luckily I have a lovely cast who are huge amounts of fun to hang out with. It's sort of like living The Famous Five (if they were all actors and quite a bit older. And if there were loads more of them). Last week we stayed on a country estate in the middle of nowhere, so posh that they had a hunt and served a hot dinner at 5pm sharp every day (meaning that we'd be starving once the show ended at 10.30 and have to load up on buttery toast and left over apple strudel). Pretty awesome stuff. Being on tour also means you get to experience stuff going wrong, which may sound bad, but it's a great way to teach you how to cope on stage if everything goes akimbo. Last week for example, a rather crucial sound effect didn't come in, so my co-actor and I improvised a ten second scene. Terrifying but brilliant fun.And actually, once it's happened once, you don't get afraid of it happening again. because you know you can cope if it does. And you know that you can have a stiff drink after, and joke about it with the cast. Am keeping my fingers crossed that it stays nice and sunny, because at the end of this week we're heading to a little seaside town, and I have my heart set on sunbathing and having a swim! Typically, we've been predicted snow...

My little brother is back for his Easter holls now too! Already there's been an argument about him wearing a smelly t-shirt and his room looks like something's exploded in it. It's lovely having him back though, he's reached the age now where he's fun to hang around with and he knows lots of handy rude words. Although the fact that my younger brother has almost finished his first year at uni makes me feel incredibly old! Maybe I'll get another tattoo...

On that note Reader, I'm off! I haven't actually packed yet...oops...
p.s. ANOTHER couple I know just got engaged. That's 9 couples since new years and it's only march! Has the government released something into the air?!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The wheels on the bus go...

Well Reader, the tour is well and truly underway. This morning I woke up in beautiful Cumbria, where the sun was shining and the birds were twittering in a distinctly northern manner. Cumbria northern? Maybe I should have listened to Mrs. Bidewell in Geography when I was 13 instead of sniffing scented gel pens in the back seat like a rebel. Well, you get the drift anyway. Toto, we're not in North London any more.

Of course, I could have realised that from when we got in yesterday. A Booths instead of an Asda, a micro-brewery full of people seemingly outraged that a bunch of strangers were descending on their quiet night (to be fair, it was a Wednesday and rather late in the day when we turned up demanding pasta and beer) and the view from my window frames a mountain with a replica lighthouse rather than a cement school playground and a railway track. It's all rather nice! If this is touring theatre, it's pretty cushty stuff. The house we're staying in is gorgeous too, big open fireplaces and cosy chairs all over the place. Lucky actors! Only one more night here though, then we're off to perform in the Clonter Opera Theatre, where we'll be put up in a rather fabulous country estate. So far this touring malarkey is pretty good fun, but must make a mental note not to keep stuffing my face with service station grease fests because if I don't, I'll be taking up two seats on the tour bus!

The thing is, service stations remind me of holidays. Going to Devon or Margate and stopping off on the way for something decent  to last us till night time (for decent read chips and beans and possibly dippy doughnuts) so I have this pavlovian response to them. I see a little chef and I start drooling and thinking of onion rings. It's an addiction really. Other people don't seem to share my weird addiction. Someone told me it was unhygienic to eat at service stations the other day. I just stared at them, aghast. THAT'S ALL PART OF THE FUN, SURELY? Along with the moody staff, the groups of elderly tourists going on a Saga trip, resplendent in wrap-around sunglasses and cut off slacks. Marvellous.

I'd carry on talking up the wonders of service station cuisine, but I have to prepare to go to the theatre (please imagine Brian Blessed reading those final two words, it makes it far more fabulous and epic sounding),
Hope you're enjoying yourself as much as I am Reader,

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Baked in Chelsea

Hey Gang!

So this is a very very late cake vlog, we made it back in January, but we've been so busy since then that it's taken a back seat behind shows etc (my terrible skills at technology may also have had a slight hand in it). Many thanks to camera guy/director/editor and all round brilliant person William Walsh, who lugged camera equipment, fearlessly braved scary waitress wrath and did all sorts of computer wizardry on the video. Apologies for two thing in advance

1) My hair-I was trying to train it into a centre parting for the show, something which I'm not very good at doing, so I look like a weirdo with greasy hair and am a bit self concious,
2) How patronising I sound, I'm not that condescending in real life, cake just turns me into a weirdo, promise!

Other than that, enjoy the cakey cakey goodness!

Ash (and SJ and Billy!)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Dreams, dozing and drowse...

Reader, I can't stop sleeping. I think there's probably something wrong with me, like the beginning of a cold or vertigo, since I feel all flushed and dizzy too, but today I had a 4 hour nap. After an 11 hour sleep last night. And a 2 hour nap yesterday, with a similar night's sleep the night before. It's just plain weird frankly. I'm doing what my body is telling me to do (i.e. hugging my pillow and nodding off at 2pm and knocking back vitamins like smarties) but something is definitely amiss. I'm not even that hungry, which, as I'm sure you'll have guessed from my previous blogs, is just freaky.

It might also be because we did the opening weekend of the show last weekend, and my body is finally allowing me to unwind from all the tension and nerves. It has a profound ability to shrug off all illness when I'm busy, only to bring everything crashing down on my head the second I stop. Maybe I'll have some lucozade, curer of all ills! And yes, the opening weekend went well. First night we were all so stricken by nerves it was mainly just a relief to get it over with, but the second night went so well we got that glowy feeling in our tummies akin to good mashed potato and sausages, an act of profound charity or really fabulous sex. In fact, we all stayed hyper till 3am, chattering nonstop over a brilliant dinner whipped up by our resident genius chef Helen and generally being flabbergasted at how the rehearsal process had flown by.

Maybe I have rehearsal withdrawal. Is that even a thing? Will I end up getting really psychotic and making my cat act out scenes with me? I'm not sure he'd approve...

Right, I'm off to eat quorn spaghetti and balls, drink some milk (health food!) and watch Despicable Me. And then I'll probably sleep for 100 more hours. I'm like sleeping beauty! Only instead of being pretty, I look all pale and twitchy. Nice.