By Aislinn De'Ath

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

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Filming in the countryside...

So Reader, I've just returned from a few days working on 'The Kepler Deception' for Sky Sci-Fi channel in the wilds of Dorset with the fantastic people of Scanach Media Productions. Filming in the countryside is always interesting, from the people (we had a taxi driver who was best friends with Ray Mears and spends 3 months a year living with the Masai tribe!) to the weather (flooded roads meant our trips to set sometimes took twice the time they should have) and the locations (it was like filming Lord of The Rings. So much greenery...). I'm hoping the film is going to look rather beautiful, as the setting was fantastic!

We were staying in a couple of cottage/villa type houses on a working dairy farm, the crew in one house, the cast in the other and there was nothing in walking distance. And by nothing, I really do mean nothing. No pubs, no newsagents. Nothing. So making our own entertainment was an important part of the experience. Luckily, we're a resourceful bunch and every night made a group dinner together (my chef night recipe was caramelised onion and Gruyere tart with all the trimmings) and took the mick out of the people on tv a lot. One terrible thing did come of this though-I am now slightly addicted to Take Me Out. I'd never seen it before, and it is truly awful programming, but making fun of the people on it is a truly joyful experience. They are so cheesy, and so brilliantly, brilliantly thick. But now I want more. So far I have resisted the urge to watch another episode, but I don't know how long I'll be able to hold out! Send help!

Now I'm in serious recovery mode. After three days of getting up at 6.30 and working till late in rain soaked, windy conditions and travelling all the way to Dorset, I seriously need a break. In fact, I'm planning on booking a day of massages, manicures, pedicures and sofa time next week-I've had a headache for the past two days so some downtime needs to happen. But have some lovely things coming up-it's my gorgeous mum's birthday this weekend, so I finally get to give her the spoiling she deserves, Saturday I'm babysitting for my adorable godson AG, who I'm planning on giving all my cuddles to (he's at the age where he'll let you hug him, so I am taking full advantage) and during the day I'll be trying on bridesmaids dresses with The Bride and some of the other girls as well as a lovely lunch!

For my latest vlog on my filming exploits, go here (if you click on my picture below the video, you'll also find all my other vlogs too!)

Tarrah chaps!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

(Hand) making a home...

Reader, I've done well on the acting front this year. I've been able to pay off half a year's worth of council tax, haven't been late on a bill yet and I've even invested in some driving lessons! However, I'm not exactly into the big bucks yet. Which is why I tend to do a lot of crafting and live my life by 'mend and make do'.

I'm currently using old pillowcases and shirts to make bunting for our living room! To be fair, I've also been drinking some of the delicious blueberry vodka my uncle's lovely fiancee' Julia brought over for us as a housewarming gift, so they're turning out ever so slightly wonky, but still. BUNTING. I also hand made most of our Christmas decorations this year! I still say they were a raging success, despite the fact that anything I make with a face turns out slightly evil looking, so our tree had a slightly posessed theme. And now I'm getting a bit better on Bellatrix the sewing machine, I might even have a go at clothes! I found a great pin for how to make a pretty 50's dress, but I think I'll need a bit of practice before I get that far...

Our flat is also rather bad at keeping in heat, so our bedroom windows are covered in bubble wrap to keep us warm (it doesn't look great, but at least we can't see our own breath any more). But the problem is, crafting is a bit compulsive. I want to run before I can walk (and for a girl who trips up when she's walking, that might be a bit of an issue). I see things on Pinterest that look fabulous and assume I'd be able to make them, but given that sewing a hem is tricky at the moment, I'm not that convinced-worth a try though!

Over Christmas, my skills at handmaking things came in quite handy. The uncles and aunts got home made fudge, my godson got a dinosaur pillow (design idea slightly stolen off someone selling them for £45 on Etsy) and my wrapping was hands down the prettiest under the tree. I even did a craft swap with my unofficial Italian fairy godmother Anna, who got my wheat free pudding in exchange for heavenly smelling dried orange and cinnamon sticks (and who is a fantastic craftswoman herself! I'm just about to have some of her home made jam with cheese and oatcakes! Buy some of her brilliant work and some Moroccan finds here: )

Right, I'm going back to my wonky bunting. If anyone has ideas for great homey things to make, post in the comments below!


Saturday, 18 January 2014

Big City Life...

The thing is Reader, living in London is awesome. Seriously. If you haven't tried it yet, you are a loonie bin and should come for a visit. Sometimes I look at my life and go 'wow. I'm living in a Richard Curtis film.'

I'm sitting on my bed in North London, drinking a glass of vodka and diet coke with lots of candles burning, my housemate is about to show up with some friends and more booze, I have frozen yoghurt in the freezer and the music my downstairs neighbour is playing is so good that I just had a dancing/jumping on my bed session. Tomorrow, I'm taking driving lessons so I can do more film work. This week I'm going ice skating. For the past couple of nights I've watched a tv show I was in for the BBC. There is no part of this that is not AWE-INSPIRING.

2014 is doing well. A short film I wrote for SKY is in production, another is in Pre-Production with one woman MACHINE Caley Powell and every week I get another exciting bit of news about stuff going on later in the year. I'm going to be a bridesmaid for the first time since my boobs grew in and my gorgeous friend The Bride has great taste so I won't be stuck in a fuchsia silk monstrosity for the whole thing.

Frankly, living in London makes me very happy. On Monday evening I'm going for cocktails in SoHo with my producer Gary Morecambe and talented writer Vicki Baron of Empty Photo Theatre (read their blog here: ) to discuss our next tv project together and at the end of next week I'm off for a week filming on SKY Sci-Fi film 'Kepler' with Scanach Media. I'm also going to take a day to go and sit in South Bank with my notepad and work on the book I'm writing, it's an incredibly beautiful area  and incredible for inspiration.

There's something about being in London that makes you feel like every day is rife with possibility, you could do anything and be anyone. You can be completely anonymous or you can surround yourself with loved ones. And right now? It's where I need to be.

So here's to London, with it's grimy streets and tame foxes. Here's to crotchety black cab drivers and hipster cyclists. Here's to 24 hour Asda, buskers and street lights gleaming through a heady mist of rain. Here's to street food and Soho and secret places that you accidentally discover when you've walked past it every day for a year. Here's to drunk teens on the underground, strange flavoured ice cream in Camden and the view from London bridge. Here's to London. And all it signifies.

Londoney love Reader!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


Guess what Reader? I'm VLOGGING now! If you haven't heard of vlogging, it's a filmed version of a blog and if you go on YouTube and look up people like KatersOneSeven, Anna Akana and Jenna Marbles you'll generally get the jist of the sort of thing I'll be doing.

At the moment I am pretty awful. Although I write fairly eloquently, I rarely think before I speak, so I trip over my words and repeat myself a whole bunch and sound vaguely like a simpleton in the vlogs. Plus, I'm only just learning how to edit. Warning-these may take some time to be that interesting!

However, if you want to watch, please do, and subscribe, comment and like the videos so far!

Don't worry, I'll still be blogging as well, just slightly less often-while I work out the whole vlogging thang.

Tarrah Chaps!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Through a glass darkly/what everyone else sees....

Reader, I've often found mirrors a really odd thing. I mean, a good mirror with great lighting can make you feel like an A-lister with curves (or muscles) in all the right places. Bad lighting and positioning (John Lewis, I'm looking at you) makes you feel like an obese person with sallow skin and you decide never to leave the house ever again. On a trip to John Lewis in Cardiff recently I was nearly reduced to tears by what I saw and wore baggy jumpers for a week. But mirrors lie. Because you never really see what other people are seeing and it's completely dependent on a certain light, usually in a cramped little box of a changing room. You're seeing a flipped version of yourself, distorted slightly in a flat plane of glass, not unconscious and unaware and in free flow.  And what's really interesting is that a reflection can be completely objective. There's this amazing video by Dove where they get a crime artist to sketch women as they describe themselves.  Then they get complete strangers to describe what the women look like, and inevitably the pictures described by the women themselves were far harsher than the strangers and they didn't even notice the really incredible, attractive things about themselves.

And to be fair, the pictures described by the strangers come out looking far more like the women actually look. It's a really beautiful exercise in self confidence, but I also find it really interesting as a slightly scientific study in perception. I'm quite critical of myself, but have always put that down to being an actor and needing to have an honest grasp of what other people see, because most of the time, that's how you're initially cast-on image. I try to remain very impartial, but because so many of my peers are tiny weenie and drop dead gorgeous, I always feel a bit like the chunky giant with wonky teeth and a bent nose lumbering among them. I'm not saying I feel ugly, my mum instilled a healthy dose of 'if your body works and you think nice thoughts and do nice things, then you are beautiful' into me, but I do see my imperfections very clearly. However, I sometimes wonder where the line is between an honest and objective critique of myself as someone on screen and in print and just being a human being who sees the bad more than the good (as is the natural downfall of most humans). One of my most beautiful friends Lady Luxe, who has the most incredible figure I've ever seen, an elfin, model like face and this incredible sense of style thinks she is in need of a diet, has bad skin and hair and that her boobs need to be bigger. Which always makes my jaw drop, because she is utterly stunning and I regularly describe her as 'a goddess' to people that haven't met her. Ditto one of my oldest friends, The Bride, who has the most incredible thick glossy hair, beautiful almost black eyes and this fabulous, heart shaped face. She just can't see the same reflection that I see. Isn't that weird? That we can't see the things that other people think are amazing? Or that we just see something completely different? Sometimes it's such a severe thing that it becomes an actual disease; 'Body Dismorphic Disorder', which is a leading cause of anorexia and bulimia. We create this fake, out of proportion, misshapen creature in our heads that looks vaguely like us, but isn't really.

You can watch the (really lovely and worth a view) video here:

In the meantime, as a bit of an experiment, I asked my followers on facebook and twitter to privately message me with an objective and honest description of what I look like, without trying to be flattering to me, as if they were describing me to someone who had never met me. It was less about trying to boost my self confidence (as in the Dove film) than trying to work out if what I saw in the mirror was a true reflection of what I really look like, because although I pride myself about being quite sensible and practical about how I appear, I'm almost certain that others see me differently. While I was waiting, I looked in the mirror and tried to unemotionally describe myself as honestly as I could.

My description: 

I'm sort of 'alright looking'. I wouldn't call myself beautiful by any account, but I don't think I'd scare small kids away too much. My hair is coppery red, and goes down to just past my breasts. It's actually a bit too long at the moment and is in dire need of a good cut, loads of split ends from a few years of letting it grow and trimming it myself. It doesn't ever really do what I tell it to and looks scruffy most of the time, but I like the colour I have it at now. My fringe has a life of its own and likes to point upwards (particularly my cow's lick on the right hand side) as if trying to answer a question. I'm very very pale, more yellow than pink skinned and I have lots of freckles, which in the summertime come out and make me look about 12 and in the winter fade and just make my skin look a bit uneven. They're not cute-just-over-my-nose-in-a-very-sweet-way-freckles, they're sandblasted all over my chin, upper lip and forehead as well, as if a small but excitable moth decided to disco dance on my face while I was sleeping. I have quite full, very pale pink lips, and wonky teeth that I try and hide when I smile or laugh and always feel a bit self conscious about. When I talk, my mouth does odd things and makes odd shapes, it doesn't look like a normal mouth, more like a strange Picasso mouth. My nose has a bump in it from where I skiied into the french rugby team when I was 13 (don't ask) but I've actually grown to quite like that, because it makes me look a bit interesting. My eyes are a nice colour, dark green, which in direct light turn blue, and I have a streak of gold through one of them which I only noticed when I started getting headshots. I have dark patches under my eyes though, which never ever fade and make me look tired, and I'm starting to get little laughter lines. I have one very big wrinkle between my eyebrows (I blame squinting too much). I have dark, thick eyebrows, which are quite arched, making me look either quizzical or suggestive. Those definitely come from my dad, whose eyebrows regularly try to take over his forehead, but which on a man look dashing. On a woman they look a bit surprising, like someone magic markered them on. I have large (I always forget quite how large), pointy ears, quite high cheekbones and a sort of angular long face. There's a beauty mark under my right eye that make up artists keep trying to rub off because it looks a bit like I'm just grubby. I have a long, pale neck (which I like), but slightly rounded shoulders (which I don't). My arms are quite slender, but very very long. I'm a bit apelike. Or, if I'm dancing madly, like one of those inflatable armed sticks you see outside of car dealerships. My boobs are quite big and quite a nice shape (even though they're lower than they used to be, but I still pass the pencil test-hurrah!), and my waist is quite small (and ridiculously high up meaning I have to be careful what I wear because if I wear something low waisted I tend to look like a big square), but NOTHING is toned. I have what I would describe as a flubby belly that pokes out and rather than just laying flat has a slightly more pokey outey bit under my belly button (as if my womb has to be extra protected by a layer of fat), I can't really wear pencil skirts because of it and my ginormous, very rounded hips, which a kind relative recently described as 'child bearing'. They are the main reason I try to steer clear of trousers. My legs are long, but have huge thighs and my bum is enormous and not in a lovely Brazilian way (more in a flat, back of a lorry, English way with loads of cellulite, which is mostly my fault for being a lazy cow and practically never exercising) and I have very knobbly knees. My calves are quite slender and curved and I have tiny ankles (which may be my favourite part of my body) but my feet are quite flat and long, with odd looking, blobby toes. In all, in the right underwear, with my mouth closed, from quite far away, I look alright. But up close I'm sort of messy and misshapen looking. I dress a bit like someone who'd like to be a grown up at some stage but doesn't quite now how to make it look easy or fit it all together. I don't hate the way I look, because I think it's a waste of time, but I sometimes wish I had a fairy wand to wave over myself, especially when I'm with my beautiful friends who are petite and perfect. 

Isn't that odd Reader? I tried to be objective and scientific, but I think it's quite obvious that as soon as my pen touched the paper that just wasn't going to happen. And for a girl who thinks she views her own image very sensibly due to her career being very image based, it turned out very emotional and weirdly trying to justify how I see myself. So I put out this call for people to describe me objectively (also asking a lot of people that I've only met in passing as well as people I've known for years who are some of my most honest critics) and waited, slightly anxiously for 'You're a bit soft around the edges' and 'Sort of oddly put together' to turn up.

An hour later I had 15 messages in my inbox. Deciding to wait till the morning I went to sleep, resisting the slightly masochistic urge to read them all at once at 1am.

When I woke up, I had even more, so I sat down and read through them all. They couldn't have been more different to what I'd written if they'd tried. Some of them I didn't include because they had misunderstood what I was asking for and just written about personality (or, in my mum's case, been family and therefore biased), but here are a few:

'Aislinn has a very feminine look with a strength that comes from her high arching eyebrows and 

pointed features. These go with a distinct Irish colouring: a pale, gently freckled face framed by 

sometimes soft, sometimes wild, waves of red  hair'

'I'd describe you as looking like Judy garland, but when you speak you also have a bit of Christian 

Bale in there - a bit weird yes, but i've always thought you could be his sister!'

'Like a red haired Venus doll who also has a look of Christian bale'

'A bubbly redhead with a sassy smile. An elegantly defined facial structure with striking eyes set 

against pastel toned skin.'

' she's shorter than me, say, about 5ft4"? And teeny tiny, like waif like, red hair, big eyes, very sort of

vintage looking, but thinner. She's got a bit of a strange look to her, like attractive but not 

conventional. '

'Striking red-head, head-turner, unique look - something out of the ordinary, fair skinned which

highlights the hair further,pretty and light-skinned, slim but curvy - looks like she keeps herself in

shape - slim but not skinny.'

'I think I'd describe your appearance on first viewing as a bit of an amalgamation; cute, elfin face

which would work well in fantasy films, combines with colourful blocks of retro clothing. And of

course, a smile on your face as if we'd been friends all our lives rather than meeting for the first time!'

'Scar-Jo, with warmth'

'Sophie Ellis Bextor but more gorgeous'

'I know I haven't seen you in a while, but I SERIOUSLY think you look like Taylor Swift who's 

classy and demure by the way'

'Tall, Slim build, finely featured, hair striking shade of red and well cared for, stylish sense of dress'

'Ash has the vintage look of Paloma Faith combined with the looks of Lana Del Rey with an enviable 

figure and a very warming face'

'A red haired Sandra Bullock, with a similar sense of humour. Very warm, open face and huge eyes.

Pin-up style body with perfect skin'

'Beautiful. In the totally British sense. An English rose likened to that of kate winslet in titanic era'

'Well, it's been a while - the last time I saw you was probably 10+ years ago, so I'd say then you looked

like an elfin Harry Potter (the hair). I'd say nowadays you look like a 1930s vamp.'

If I was going to draw a picture of my own description and the descriptions of those that have met me, they would come out like two entirely different people. What was really interesting to me was that all of the little things that I pick out about myself as being weird things, or things that aren't particularly attractive, no one else seems to notice-they explain me as a whole person, not as 'broken nosed' or 'flubby on the belly'. And while I tried to think of famous people I might look like and couldn't think of any, they found loads. The Christian Bale references made me laugh rather a lot, because a guy I fancied told me that I looked like him and I laughed my socks off, thinking he was joking but it seems to be true! 

The thing is, image is entirely subjective. Never in a million years would I describe myself as 'slim' but people seems to think I am. And I'm kind of overwhelmed by the response. It puts those days when you feel like everyone's noticing how fat and odd you look into perspective really, doesn't it? I always thought I was fair to myself, as someone who deals with how they look as part of their career-but it seems like I'm just as self conscious as everyone else. Last night, when I was explaining this post to my lovely housemate, I said 'I mean, I'm an actor, but I think I'm also a bit of a girl'. She laughed her socks off at me, yelling, 'NEWSFLASH: ASH IS A HUMAN GIRL!' but it's true! I think being an actor means you have to self critique a lot but it's easy go a bit overboard and still think you're being objective. The thing is, we are human and therefore, try as we might to suppress it, are vain, fretting creatures. 

I wonder what my friends and family would say if they described themselves-but I can bet you anything it would be very different to how I would. 

Thank you so much to everyone that contributed to this blog post-I'm really touched and-unexpectedly,  although it was not the aim of this experiment, the things that I look in the mirror and wince at seem far less obvious to me now.

Reader, I hope you realise how beautiful you are, inside and out!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Ways to feel like Bette Davis...

Reader, who is the most confident, powerful, gorgeous and witty Sex Bitch out there? Bette Davis of course. And she does it for herself. Not for any bloke. You wouldn't catch her wearing a onesie when she's alone and satin pjs only when she has, she wears them all the time. Or a floor length silk dressing gown. Then she eats truffles, while she listens to jazz records. A potential lover calls, and she laughs gaily down the phone at him. 'Daaaaarling.' (a glass of something warm and amber with ice is raised to her lips) 'Daaaaarling I simply can't. No no. No, I am simply indulging myself tonight.' She would probably watch something a bit trashy on the telly (she appreciates a little trash), but would do it whilst draped on a chaise lounge in a turban. The phone rings again. 'Well hello!' she breathes huskily (flicking through a Russian novel with a long, manicured finger), 'How simply devastatingly wonderful to hear from you! Married you say? Good for them. Me? Hah! Fie and fiddlesticks!' Down goes the receiver and she flicks over to David Attenborough as she pets an exotic looking kitten.

She goes to a club, not a 'dnst dnst dnst' club or one of those clubs where sweaty men with too much hair gel grind up against you, but a blues bar, where she sits on a stool and laughs with her fabulously catty friend Melvin as they drink cocktails that aren't on the menu but that the bartender just knows how to make. Later they'll go somewhere for food that isn't trendy, just dimly lit and marvellous. Nowhere that does salad ('Daaaaaarling. I simply can't be near salad, it's just so tiresome!') and nothing messy, like spaghetti. Maybe something tiny and perfectly formed, like sushi or tiny portions of fabulous things. She might lean against a window and eat a slice of very thin pizza with a cheeky glint in her eye ('I simply HAD to. It was just giving me the most marvelously desperate look').

When she goes on holiday, she'll walk round ruins in a very big hat and enormous sunglasses, hands in the pockets of her very loose palazzo pants, then she'll head back to the beach where she'll wear a simple but cleverly built swimsuit and lounge with a glass of juice and a book under a huge parasol ('Tanning Daaarling? How very droll of you!') and then head back to the fabulous hotel, flirting with the young bell boy as she goes. She makes it her mission to know the names of all of the staff because 'They work so terribly hard you know, and they're the sweetest of folk. Why I have half a mind to stay here forever and work with them!'

She doesn't get ridiculously drunk (we all know Dear Bette, and that if she does, she'll have the most tremendous rages, and no one wants that), she doesn't parp, nor drink anything that's not 'Simply the nectar of the gods Daaaarling' nor live a day that is not delightful. Everything she does is supremely delightful, even if it is just watching telly with her cat or going to a massively cheap all inclusive holiday, because there is no better way to hold yourself in her eyes.

And that is why we love her.
Even if we may only be like her 10% of the time...

Tarrah Reader!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Shiny new start...

It's 2014 Reader! And I am feeling positive!

2013 ended, quite predictably, with a migrane. A pretty good way to sum up how the year was spent actually. But as the clock struck midnight my head felt better and as Jools Holland partied hardy with lots of pretty people I got a rush of pure optimism. The shitty year has passed and the shiny new, full of potential year is here. I got back to Bag End, said goodbye to my Christmas decorations and tidied the place, lighting all my candles and planning vlogs for as soon as my memory card arrives in the post.

It made me think a little about what sort of person I want to be in 2014. I want to stop being 'that girl' and start being 'that woman'. No more Primark underwear for me, just proper structuring and beautiful vintage fabrics. I've even ordered some more grown up clothes online in beautiful rich colours, and my wonderful friend Lady Luxe got me a stunning ring for Christmas to begin my grown up jewelry collection. I'm going to spend more on important things like theatre, incredible adventures and gorgeous, soul feeding experiences and stop spending on stupid crap like cigarettes, cheap, badly made clothes and candy crush. I've got some amazing projects planned and a brilliant agent who is dedicated to helping me succeed

This is going to be a truly excellent year.

And I have a lot to be thankful for. I live with one of my best friends, who introduces me to a lot of really fantastic cheese and theatre, my family are incredibly supportive and I'm very close to my amazing parents, I have both sets of grandparents in my life, my friendship circle has the ability to make me laugh so hard I sometimes lose the ability to stand and make me feel worth a billion quid and my career is going from strength to strength. A number of really incredible people passed away in 2014 and I think it makes you realise that life is short, and if you don't live it the way you want to, it will all be for nothing.

So this is my mission: live 2014 like I might not be around forever. Cherish every minute and every experience and give out (ok, this is going to sound wanky, be prepared to roll your eyes) positive energy everywhere I go (yep, I just vommed a bit. I sound like Gwyneth bloody Paltrow). My mission is also to drink more flavoured vodka. Because flavoured vodka is AWESOME.

So what do you want to achieve in 2014 Reader? A more cultured enjoyment of art? Swing dancing? Reading all of the Harry Potter books in Latin? Pinching more bums? Trying every kind of Kit Kat flavour across the world? Writing a film where all of the characters wear school run mum jeans but no one ever comments on it?

Well, whatever you want, I hope you get it and that it makes your life richer than a trifle.