Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Kathy Lette's son Jules on beating the bullies

When the heavenly author Kathy Lette emailed me an animation created by her son Jules on how he overcame bullies, I knew it deserved being shared on here.

Jules has Asperger's, which is on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. "It's a life long neurological disorder and its chief characteristics are the inability to communicate socialise", writes Kathy in the Sunday Times (August, 2013). Whilst there are things he finds hard, there are plenty of things he can do that he is quite brilliant at.... Kathy says he is so poetic. And now he's an actor - and has made the above animation which will hopefully help many others. 

I adore Kathy and have met her several times. She is described as Ruby Wax's doppelganger and has a way with words that is in a league of its own... Her most recent novel Courting Trouble had me gripped for three solid days. You'd be mad not to read it. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Finding Dory....

Following on from my previous post about falling back in love with the cinema - I am SO unbelievably excited that Finding Dory is being made into an actual film.... coming to our cinemas in 2016. 

I do a very good whale impression - Dory would be impressed. If you haven't seen the Disney masterpiece of "Finding Nemo" then for heaven's sake DO IT - its one of the best. 

She just kept swimming !

See the actual trailer here....

Monday, 23 November 2015

Walking on Sunshine by Rachel Kelly

Local Notting Hill resident Rachel Kelly has just launched her second book "Walking on Sunshine: 52 small steps to happiness" where she shares strategies that have helped her stay calm and happy since overcoming depression. In fact, the book provides nuggets of wisdom that will undoubtedly help anyone feeling gloomy, anxious, depressed, stressed – these things affect us all. 
At the book launch (two weeks ago) we were all asked to raise our hands if we or someone we know had been linked to any of the above and not one person kept their hand down. We were also asked if we rated ourselves as fundamentally happy – and the answer for many is: probably not.

Tips and tricks are provided for every week of a calendar year and as the book is written like a diary the chapters are grouped into Seasons. It also contains wonderful illustrations by Jonathan Pugh. There are also exercises Kelly has found helpful, like: Place your index finger on the side of your nose so you only breathe through one nostril. This instantly slows your breathing and makes you feel calmer in the heat of a stressful moment.
My favourite extract (there are many) is as follows – 
Chapter 13 (page 40-41) – Late May, and one overcast morning, my friend and I make time for a special breakfast. We go to a local restaurant and a waiter cracks a smile and gives us a corner table. The porridge is drizzled with honey and dotted with blueberries and raisins. I feel blessed that we are together and all is well in this moment. In the evening, I reflect on the gratitude I feel for such a pleasurable start to my day. Having suffered from depression in the past, I’ve found it helpful to focus on my mental health rather than my mental illness. Learning to be grateful is a key part of that philosophy. 
The rest of that chapter on gratitude goes onto describe some brilliant techniques and exercises to try – and even one that is great for children – so often we can forget what to be thankful for – and there really is so much. 
It is individuals like Rachel Kelly who bring so much good to the mental health world. Long may her work continue. 
Kelly is carrying out one of her poetry workshops at the School of Life in November – don’t miss it…
*This post has also been published on the Notting Hill Post

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

World Prematurity Day

Apparently it's World Prematurity day - both my sister Ella and I entered this world 9 weeks early (15 years apart) - we remain bonkers but we are also survivors. 

We might not have chosen to enter this world in the dramatic style that we did and we probably still lack maturity (!) but we seem to have been forgiven for that and we thank god for NHS neonatal units...

*I put this photo on Facebook and it received more than 100 "likes" in a few hours (its more than 3 years old but sums our close relationship up rather perfectly) so thought I would share it here too. We don't normally go round with leggings on our heads. I promise.

**15 million babies are born too early each year across the globe. Thats 29 babies every minute. Some are not as lucky as Ella or I. Read more here.  

Monday, 9 November 2015

Burberry's Festive Film 2015

Christmas finally feels like its properly on the way when the clocks have gone back, the lights have been switched on on Oxford Street and the John Lewis Christmas advert appears on our screens.

The other most notable and wonderful festive film is that of Burberry. This year it celebrates 15 years of Billy Elliott and features Sir Elton John and Julie Walters. I am slightly obsessed with that musical / film.

Like last year, Romeo Beckham is the star..... But so is James Cordon !

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Falling back in Love with..... the Cinema

It's fair to say that I am a theatre addict - I grab a copy of Time Out every Tuesday morning on my way to work and LOVE reading reviews of what is on the stage / going on in London. I always have something lined up to see - I love plays (I never blogged about my magical 4 days in Edinburgh earlier this year where I saw 18 shows in that time).  I do also love comedy and musicals (good ones) and I am longing to see Bend It Like Beckham, which apparently has been a roaring success. 

This year, I seem to have also fallen back in love with the Cinema. I never fell out of love with it but I've never enjoyed watching television - I can't sit still for long enough to enjoy watching a screen. But there have been some great films this year and there are more to follow in the coming weeks which I can't bear to miss.

Earlier this year, I went to see Pitch Perfect 2 with two girlfriends - they showed me the first one the night before so I got the general gist of it. And it was a good thing to do on the weekend - took my mind off the busy and overwhelming week that followed.

Then came SPY featuring Miranda Hart and Melissa McCartney - not to mention Jude Law... It was hilariously funny with such a great cast. I can't wait to get the DVD. It reminded me of a Bond film but with a lot more comedy. 

I was sad to miss out on seeing Amy - a documentary / film about Amy Winehouse. It received mixed reviews and was highly criticised by Amy's own father but apparently it didn't put him in a very good light so its no surprise he didn't like it... I adored Amy Winehouse - her voice and music was like nothing else this world had ever heard. Her battle with addiction meant her life was cut far too short. 

I also missed out on seeing The Intern which featured both Robert de Nero and Anne Hathaway. 

Last week I went to see Sufragette, which might be the most memorable and my favourite of all the films listed here. Everyone (and especially all GIRLS and WOMEN) should make the time to see this - it makes you realise what Emmeline Pankhurst and the other Suffragettes went through to gain women the vote - they really did put their lives on the line. I did cry....! Emmeline Pankhurst lived on my road - there is a smart blue plaque on the front of her house.... The film ends with a list of countries and the year that women were given the right to vote - some were terrifyingly recent.

And this week everyone has been talking about the new James Bond - Spectre - I went to see it yesterday and it really did live up to the hype. I walked past the Royal Albert Hall on Monday evening where the world premier was taking place. The last Bond film Skyfall was very emotional but this one was more heart-pumpingly (is that a word ? It is now) action packed... It was also quite funny in places. 

There are two more noteworthy films which are coming out soon and I will definitely make the time to see them - 

He Named Me Malala - I saw the advert for this film about Malala Yousafzai when I went to see Suffragette and even the 30 second trailer made me teary. If you haven't heard of this girl, then I beg you to open a new tab in your internet browser NOW and read about her. She is one of the most famous and extraordinary faces of the 21st century. In a nutshell, she survived being shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out on girls' education. The film looks at the events leading up to the Taliban's attack followed by the aftermath and includes her recent speech to the United Nations. 

The Lady In the Van - British legend Dame Maggie Smith is starring in this which is a reason in itself to not miss it. Dame Maggie appeared on a television chat show this week for the first time in 42 years - the audiences rightly gave her a standing ovation and she has a great sense of humour.

Looking ahead to 2016 - the internet has been bursting with excitement about Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie - Edie and Patsy are back. More on that another time.....(although they have already revealed some of the cast - many of whom starred in the TV series: so watch this space!) and a few shots from filming....

Monday, 2 November 2015

Claudia Winkleman's new Make Up

Claudia Winkleman is without doubt one of the funniest women on television at the moment. She's a BBC television and radio presenter - we currently see her every Saturday night co-hosting Strictly Come Dancing with Tess Daley. 

In an interview with Bryony Gordon earlier this year, Bryony writes that despite Claudia having a degree in theology and history of art from Cambridge university, all anyone ever wants to talk about is her fringe, her excessive use of eyeliner and not to mention the fake tan (a Strictly Come Dancing essential?).

It's true - her style is totally unique - nobody else could pull off such a great look. Her hair is gloriously shiny and her aim with eye make up is "more is more" - there's no holding back with that eye liner. 

In this hilarious interview with The Pool, she reveals her new make up range, which is exclusive to M&S and comes out in November with Percy Pigs !!

I can hardly wait....!

Sunday, 1 November 2015


Something huge is about to happen. 

All will be revealed (I think!) on Monday 2nd November. I can hardly breathe with excitement - and am really honoured to have been asked to be involved.

Keep an eye on #Equality4MentalHealth and I will try and post updates here as best I can....