Drama school set up by Corrie star Tina O’Brien after she couldn’t find suitable acting class for her daughter celebrates 10th birthday

Drama school set up by Corrie star Tina O’Brien after she couldn’t find suitable acting class for her daughter celebrates 10th birthday

Drama school set up by Corrie star Tina O’Brien after she couldn’t find suitable acting class for her daughter celebrates 10th birthday

By Katie Fitzpatrick


away from Weatherfield coronation street actress Tina O’Brien’s own drama school, The Drama MOB, is celebrating its 10th birthday after introducing a new generation of talent to the soap.

Mum of two, Tina, 39, who has played feisty Sarah Barlow nee Platt in Coronation Street since 1999, launched The Drama Mob in 2013 with her best friend, Esther Morgan, 40, after the star couldn’t find a suitable acting class for her daughter Scarlett, who was then aged three.

Since then the drama school has grown from strength to strength. Skills learned by the youngsters at the school have seen them win professional roles in soaps and dramas, adverts and theatre. 

Tina, who has been working in TV and theatre since she was 10, regularly teaches in the classes and offers one-to-one guidance. And fellow director Esther, a former primary school teacher specialising in drama, manages The Drama MOB casting agency.

Launched in 2015 following the success of the classes, the agency represents young actors with roles in Coronation Street and Hollyoaks and their talent has worked with big brands including Waitrose, Tesco and John Lewis.  

In 2018 four-year-old Freddie Henderson became an instant star playing the youngest version of music legend Sir Elton John in the eagerly-anticipated John Lewis Christmas ad The Boy and the Piano, which charted the hitmaker’s musical journey after being gifted a piano for Christmas.

He was chosen from thousands of children, with Sir Elton himself giving him the seal of approval because of his likeness to himself as a child. 

Sebastien Tensel and Jake Ademola star in children’s series The World According to Grandpa and Maizie Wickson stars in the BBC 2 sitcom Alma’s Not Normal.

Other The Drama MOB talent have appeared in the feature film The Railway Children Return and the 2o22 Amazon rom-com Your Christmas Or Mine. Twin brothers Freddie and Isaac Rhodes play Tina’s on-screen son Harry Platt in Corrie and The Drama MOB provided triplets and twins to play Chesney Brown and Gemma Winter’s quadruplets Aled, Bryn, Carys and Llio. 

The Drama MOB represents 11 children in total on Corrie. They also represent Rufus Morgan smith who plays Bertie Osbourne in the show, Eleanor Beckles who plays Glory Bailey and Oakley and Carter Townsend who plays Alfie Franklin. James and Charlotte Holt and Lily, Lucy and Arthur Taylor play the quads.

Tina, who played pupil Bex Fisher in Waterloo Road back in 2010, was proud to see her daughter receive high praise for her role as Izzy Charles when the show was rebooted earlier this year after learning the ropes at The Drama MOB.  They have never been busier while keeping their books small and selective to ensure that they know their talent well.

Tina and Esther have been friends for 29 years after meeting when they were just 11-years-old at Trinity High School in Hulme, both sharing a love of drama.

“It started out when I was looking out for a place for Scarlett,” explained Tina, “There were a lot of big places but they were all franchises. Between us with our experience we thought ‘we could do that’” she added.

And Esther, whose nine-year-old son Isaac Armstrong was thrilled to land a role in an ad for Emirates with the Arsenal team, said: “One of our first students who joined us when they were just four still comes to us.

“Some of the kids have grown up with us and Drama MOB has given them the confidence they wouldn’t have had before.”

Classes start for children from the age of four and in 2021, due to demand, The Academy launched for performers aged 16 and above with Hannah Bounds of HBActing to give talent the opportunity to remain with Drama MOB into adulthood.

Tina explained: “Last Friday night one of our talent had her first acting credit in Corrie. She played a nurse in scenes with Dame Maureen Lipman. To have your first TV credit alongside acting royalty is brilliant.”

After 10 years, starting out with just Tina and Esther at the helm, Drama MOB now has 450 budding stars signed up to classes with 12 drama teachers leading 23 classes per week and 400 on the books with the agency. The school runs a scheme to offer some free places to ensure that access to training is accessible to everybody.

After launching at The Parsonage in Didsbury, Drama MOB now also runs classes at Gatley Hill House in Cheadle and The Fairways Lodge in Prestwich. 

For more information about The Drama MOB visit thedramamob.com

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Summer makeup trends 2023: By Sally Rowe

Summer makeup trends 2023: By Sally Rowe

SUMMER MAKE UP TRENDS Wanting to wake up your complexion from dull to full of colour? Here’s a view to an ultra glossy look with flushed cheeks that is a hit this summer. Mid tone blush is a new trending technique for blurring together your blush and under-eye makeup...



When I started to really see that my feelings of guilt came from the thoughts I had about myself, I started to see guilt as a wonderful alarm and indicator for me to actually lower my expectations of myself, relieve the pressure and be much more patient and compassionate with myself! It is simply and indicator that our thoughts have gone off in an unhelpful direction.




Parents of three, (soon to be four) Actor James, and Blogger Victoria Bye, have had a whirlwind few years, as their children came along at the same time as their careers started to soar. Having relocated from London to Cheshire just before they had their first child – Edward, James then got the part as Martin Fowler in one Britain’s best loved soaps – Eastenders. Consequently they made the decision to move back down south, so that James wouldn’t be separated from his family for the majority of the week. The couple have since welcomed another two boys to their brood over the years, and James took part in last year’s Strictly Come Dancing, and they are looking forward to welcoming their forth boy into their hectic lives this summer. We had the pleasure of chatting to the lovely couple, about how their lives have changed over the last few years, how they juggle everything and their ambitions for the future.  

James & Victoria Bye and their family

What did your careers and life look like before you had children?

 Victoria – “Well career wise James was a struggling Actor, we lived in London, but we used to spend a lot time heading to Edinburgh doing the festivals, as he did a lot of theatre. And in terms of our lifestyle it was soo different from what life is like now! [They laugh] We would spend our weekends having picnics in the park, leisurely drinking a bottle of wine. We used to spend a lot of time actually in London, enjoying the city and spending time in pubs and restaurants, but obviously that all changes when children come along!”


When did it all change both in terms of your career and becoming a family?

Victoria -”So Edward was only 6 months old when James got the part in Eastenders, we had actually moved up north to Cheshire at the time and we were very happy there. James had still been auditioning, and had a few small parts alongside his regular job, but obviously Eastender was a complete game changer!”

 James – “Yes, I still remember my agent calling me, he did a bit of a Simon Cowell, ‘It’s not good news, it’s bloody great news!’” [He laughs]

 Victoria – “It was amazing, but we knew James couldn’t commute to work and obviously with Edward being so young we didn’t want to be apart, so we moved back down south, not to the centre of London this time though, we decided on Buckinghamshire as we thought that would be better for us now we were a family.”

 What have you found to be the biggest challenge about juggling family life, alongside your career so far?

 James – “I think for any soap stars, who are in people’s living rooms most nights of the week you have those moments when you’re out and about and people can either say hi because they think they know you; or they watch the show, and instantly recognise you, and they will come over, and I think that can be a bit overwhelming for the kids at times. It’s part of my job and I’m used to it, and it’s fine, but for the kids it can be hard when people they don’t know are asking for selfies or for you to sign something. One thing that helps that though is that they haven’t known any difference as they have only ever known me on the show.”

 Victoria – “We just try and make sure everything is normal at home though, we don’t want them to be affected by anything, we just want them to enjoy all the ‘normal’ everyday things in life such as going to the park and shops. Them being grounded is really important to us.”

 James – “One of the biggest struggles for any working parent is time away from your kids. Sometimes at Eastenders we do really long days and so I always make sure to hop on FaceTime in between scenes. With Strictly, I knew it was going to be tough schedule wise, but I don’t think I realised how hard it was going to be! I missed the kids so much! Family means everything to me and I’m always excited to get home.”

 Victoria – “You always try to get back for story time don’t you? Because James does much better voices than I do when reading them a story!” [she laughs]

 Did you manage to find any balance at all then whilst James was on Strictly as well as filming Eastenders?

Victoria – “It was tough at times, there were some really long days so there was lot’s of solo parenting by me which wasn’t easy.. We relied quite heavily on family to help, especially as I was going to the show at weekends to support James too. Our weekends became quite crazy for a while.

We tried to keep certain things as normal as possible and one of the great things to come out of it was showing the boys that dancing is for boys too! They loved watching their Daddy!”

James – “It was a great experience but we’re glad to be back to normal now.”

Victoria – “Yeah, we had a family holiday in January that was very much needed and it was lovely just to spend lots of quality time together after such a crazy year!”

Cath Tyldesley talks BROOD Live Manchester

What are your dreams for both your careers and family life, going forward?

James – “I think for me moving forward it’s all about consistency and longevity in the workplace. We want the kids to understand a good work ethic that you do have to work hard, no one is going to give it to you on a plate. And if you do work hard you reap the rewards. But above all else, if youve a supportive family around you. Youve got everything you’ll ever need..”

Victoria -”Yes, we just want them to know that they can be anything they want to be but they have to work for it. That’s something they can see from James’ career path and hopefully his career will continue to flourish. Who knows it is an unpredictable industry to be in but we’re hoping it will be bright and as a family we have a new baby coming along this summer and I just want us to continue being there for each other and continuing to support each other, which as james said, is what it’s all about really. They are your ‘why’, the reason you go to work. We’re just trying to build a lovely life together. So we try to make time for special family times, whether that’s a walk, or a movie day or just making time to all sit down together for dinner, Just spending time together away from work, homework, anything like that is really important to us.

And personally for me career wise we’ve got our blog, Life with the Byes, which has been growing and I love doing that as I get to write which has always been a passion of mine. And I’m hoping going forward I can continue to write and see where that takes us!”

James – “It’s exciting times for you, you’re on your way up! I hope I can keep up with you!”

Victoria – “ You’re not doing too badly twinkle toes” (they both laugh)

What tips would you give to other parents who are juggling busy career schedules alongside bringing up their family?

James – “I think what really helps us during really busy times is we are very fortunate that we have a really amazing group of friends, and we all help each other out. I think you have to find the courage to reach out and ask for help, and once you start doing that, you can all work together. So, I definitely think that’s a really important tip – don’t be afraid to ask for help – especially reach out to those closest to you.

Victoria – “Yes, totally. And for me in terms of the family side of things, when you do get those moments together, to remember to put your work down, and be present. At the end of the day, work is just a job, it’s replaceable, family isn’t.”

Cath Tyldesley talks BROOD Live Manchester
Summer makeup trends 2023: By Sally Rowe

Summer makeup trends 2023: By Sally Rowe

SUMMER MAKE UP TRENDS Wanting to wake up your complexion from dull to full of colour? Here’s a view to an ultra glossy look with flushed cheeks that is a hit this summer. Mid tone blush is a new trending technique for blurring together your blush and under-eye makeup...



When I started to really see that my feelings of guilt came from the thoughts I had about myself, I started to see guilt as a wonderful alarm and indicator for me to actually lower my expectations of myself, relieve the pressure and be much more patient and compassionate with myself! It is simply and indicator that our thoughts have gone off in an unhelpful direction.




“After photographing Man City for the last ten years, I’m ready to capture the beautiful journey of motherhood

Talented mum of one, Victoria Haydn, has made waves over the last decade as Senior Photographer for Manchester City and one of only a handful of women photographers in the Premier League. After spending the last ten years capturing some of the most incredible moments in both the club and footballing history, now that Victoria has welcomed her adorable son Charles to brood, she has decided to hand over her reigns at Man City, embark on a new venture and step into the world of entrepreneurship.

Victoria’s photos have been published all over the world. From snapping photos of the team on the Great Wall of China to capturing Manchester City Women lift their first ever trophy, Victoria has lived every football-fans’ dream. Victoria even travelled and captured Manchester City in their first ever Champions League final in Portugal in 2021, while five-months pregnant. But since experiencing first-hand, the amazing the transition into motherhood, Victoria has decided to dedicate her craft to empowering women and mothers, by telling their stories through photography.

Victoria is an incredibly warm person, so it’s easy to see how she can get people to shine in front of the camera. We had the pleasure of chatting to Victoria about everything from her decision to step away from a role that she has had so much success and joy from; to how she has found returning to work and Charles starting childcare, to her aspirations for her new business.

Victoria Haydn

How have you found returning to work and starting Charles at Nursery? 

“I was an emotional wreck when he first started nursery, because up until that point I knew exactly what he did during every second of the day. We didn’t have any babysitters or family looking after him for the first nine months, so I knew everything from every nappy change to every time he sneezed. To suddenly just drop him off at nursery for four days a week was a massive shift! I found it really hard. Although it was difficult for me, it was the best thing for him and he absolutely loves it. He waves me off every day as he joins his friends and teachers. I watch him growing and learning and I know he’s loving this chapter for himself. He’s doing so well, and I’m so proud of him”

Have you felt pressured to make the most of your time whilst he’s nursery because it’s been so hard to leave him?

“Yes, I have felt like there is a huge weight on my shoulders, and a feeling of anxiety. A part of me wanted to drop him off so that I could go out and make an income and get my business off the ground. I felt that for us to have a really good future I needed to start my business right away. So as soon as I would drop him off at nursery, I would be in the head space of ‘work, work, work’. But I would also feel guilty about not being with him. You go through so many mixed emotions. You want to spend time with your child, but you also have a responsibility as mum, a wife, and a homeowner to work too. He’s been in nursery for around three months, and I still have that worry of trying to do everything possible for the business whilst he’s there. There is so much to do when you’re running a business, you’ve got marketing, accounts, creative shoots, editing and there are so many different things going on, so it’s been quite hard to adapt to.”

How have you found stepping away from your role as senior photographer at Manchester City after that has played such a big part in your life and career?

“I absolutely love watching the matches at home in the warmth with Charles, but I’ll miss the nights at the Etihad Stadium soaking up the atmosphere and photographing all the special moments. I’ve had the chance to photograph history unfold for the last ten years, which is genuinely one of my greatest career achievements and I’m so proud of that. On the other hand, I now have the opportunity to photograph on the days and times that work for me and my family. I get to choose whether I work on the weekends and can allow myself time to set up for beautiful shoots with my wonderful clients.

During the summer my husband (who also works for Man City) was in the USA for 10 days during their preseason tour, and I would have been there ordinarily. If I’m completely honest we hadn’t really considered that side of things. So that was a bit of shock when it dawned on us – ‘What would we do with Charles for 10 days?’ So that played a big part in my decision. After photographing ManCity for the last ten years, I’m ready to capture the beautiful journey of motherhood. I’m going to miss the world of football and the fast-paced lifestyle brings, but equally I’m so passionate and excited about my new business which has made my decision easier.”

What are you most looking forward to about your new business? 

“I’m excited about my whole new adventure, but I suppose after photographing men for ten years, I’m looking forward to photographing women. I’m passionate about getting mums in front of the camera and telling their story. I feel like that’s my greater purpose. I have a platform to highlight how amazing mums are. I want to give them photographs to be proud of. They can be photographed at 30 weeks pregnant during this beautiful transition where they are about to become a mother, and then they can come back into the studio with their beautiful babies. I get to capture these precious moments for them, and I love that. Since becoming a mum myself, I know we have a habit of always being behind the camera, taking the photos – I’m on a mission to change this. I have spent 10 years capturing the everyday moments of Premier League heroes I’m now my mission is to capture the heroic moments of everyday super mums. Mums are strong, independent, fierce women and I can’t wait to photograph them every day.

Do have any tips to any other new parents, in particular those who are returning to work?

“Everyone says enjoy your sleep while you can, but it doesn’t really sink in until it happens and then you’re like ‘Oh my god I’ve not slept for nine months!” [We all laugh] “But you just seem to manage somehow. I look at parents in a completely new light now, I just think that they are superheroes! How they just crack on with things is amazing, because now I know what they are going through and how tough it can be.

I have lived and breathed sports photography for over 10 years, so I only know going at 100mph. When Charles came it completely changed everything, it forced me to slow down a bit. Balancing work and being a mum has been a challenge but I’m constantly learning and evolving. Working helps me to remember ‘Oh, I am still me!’ and I think that’s so important.”

If you want to be photographed and step into your power, then you can arrange your own photoshoot with Victoria at www.victoriahaydn.com and see her portfolio on Instagram @victoriahaydnportraits.

Victoria Haydn
Simon Wood
Written by
Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris




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I never expected to be a dad: The path to adoption with Adrian Adair

I never expected to be a dad: The path to adoption with Adrian Adair

“…Honestly, I never thought I’d be a dad”

For many, the path to parenthood is not made from perfectly shaped, life stepping stones. Keen to explore the diverse routes to, and experiences of, becoming a parent I reached out to one of our Morson executive managers who has recently navigated the adoption process to become a father with his partner.

For safeguarding purposes, we have kept the identity of the family anonymous, so there’s no BROOD photography provided by the talented Tom Pitfield, but I’m confident you’ll be as moved by this honest, inspiring and, at times, emotional story as I was.

During our conversation, we explore the challenges of raising a child with a traumatic past, the complications of using traditional parenting techniques with an adoptive child and why adoption should be considered more widely as a path to parenthood.

Morson Group
Adoption Process
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Let’s start with your new reality, parenthood. How long have you been a dad?

We have had our boy for just under a year now, he moved in with us in November of last year. Honestly, I never thought I’d be a dad, but my partner and I have been together for 17 years and we felt it was time to start a family, so we decided to explore adoption.

We’ve had many a conversation over the past 9 months about how your little boy has changed your life and I’m interested to understand more about your experience of adopting and the adoption process itself…

It’s been an interesting time, not least because of the personal circumstances and realities you become aware of. All children who are in the adoption process will have experienced trauma in one way or another. The very reason they’re in the care system is because they have encountered some kind of harm and that could be anything from physical, sexual or emotional abuse and severe neglect. So, a big part of the process is having to prepare yourself to cope with, understand and manage that child’s experiences and life story.

Because we’ve adopted a slightly older child, who wasn’t put into the system until they were five and a half, he’s had years of not having his needs met. As you can imagine, caring for a child who has gone for five and a half years experiencing that when you cry, no one’s cuddled you, or when you’ve been hungry, no one’s fed you, their parent has gone out and left you alone at home on your own… there’s a lot of things to unpick. Often adopting an older child can come with more challenges than if you adopt a newborn baby. For example, in adoption, you can do something called early permanence. In early permanence, the birth mum is still in pregnancy and social services are aware that it’s a challenging environment with the birth family, so as soon as that child is born the baby is taken into care. These babies are safeguarded and cared for by the system from birth.

However, whatever the path to adoption, one thing you can rely on is that each child who enters care has experienced some type of trauma whether that’s in the womb or in the outside world. So you just need to prepare yourself for this.

So, as a couple, how do you prepare yourself for this reality and becoming adoptive parents to a child with a traumatic past, did you take any leave from work?

We did loads of research, training and workshops so we were fully aware of the challenges and prioritised creating an environment where our child would feel safe and supported. To help with this I took three months of adoption leave. The adoption policy for Morson would have allowed me to take 12 months or more if I wanted to, but I was conscious we needed to introduce work/life balance into our environment as part of the process – because that’s the reality of our lives. Three months full pay was amazing because when you bring your child home, that period of attachment with your child is massively important. Being able to take three months off and not having to worry about my salary was huge for me. My partner took off six months and he could have extended it to 12 months as well. That period where we both stayed at home together to nurture, understand and get to know our child and adapt to our new lives was essential.

Of course, the beauty of having a slightly older child is they do go to school which gave us some downtime, so that’s an advantage! Self-care and a strong support network is of paramount importance when you adopt a child, so allowing yourself time to have a relaxing bath, read a magazine or go for a coffee with a friend is a must.

As the parent of a toddler, I’m looking forward to school! Also, please give me hope, do they sleep when they’re older, please tell me they do?!

Do you know what? It’s funny because when he first came to us he would go to bed, then he would get up a short time later and become dysregulated. During this time he’d be throwing cushions and screaming at us, and it would take him probably an hour to settle.

And now?

You can put him to bed at 7:30 pm, say ‘Goodnight, I love you’ and he’ll not get out of bed until the morning (which happened to be 5:55 am today). We spoke to an educational psychologist who explained to us that if you do not feel safe the primary thing that is affected is your sleep. So, the fact that he sleeps through the night is speaking volumes about how he feels at home with us, so that’s a huge win.

That’s amazing and so positive to hear.

When you first came back to work I remember us chatting and you had loads of interesting tips like this for adopters and anyone caring for a child. Would you mind sharing some more?

Do you know what, a lot of the training when you go through the adoption process doesn’t just deal with children who’ve experienced trauma. Much of it can cover how to handle any child who is demonstrating challenging behaviours.

For me, the one key takeaway here was the power of playfulness. No matter how agitated they are, playfulness will nearly always get a child out of the mindset of being angry or upset. If you can get a child to smile or laugh, they cannot feel anger or upset at the same time. So one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that being playful and silly will help your child to become regulated again. Because of this, we find ourselves doing the most ridiculous things! If he suddenly becomes distracted, frustrated or unsettled we’ll do a stupid voice or a silly dance, or we’ll put on a silly song. As soon as he starts laughing you know he’s coming around, so playfulness is massive.

One of the other tips is distraction techniques. If you can distract your child it can help to diffuse potentially challenging behaviours. Tactics like making anonymous phone calls, for example, picking up the phone and making out that you’re speaking to someone immediately gets him to ask questions like, ‘Who’s that on the phone dad’… his curiosity takes over his agitation.

So, yes, playfulness and distraction are the two big things we’ve learned. My partner and I certainly have a playful nature, so I won’t lie, we actually really enjoy it.

Natasha Jonas Training

So you say those tips are universal but do you think there are differences in parenting an adoptive child vs. a child who has had a more traditional upbringing?

I would say yes. You cannot parent a child who’s experienced trauma the same way you would a child who has not had a traumatic start to life.

Discipline is one key difference. If you’ve got a baby or child who cries a lot, traditional parenting methods may suggest leaving them to self-soothe or tactics such as sending them to their room to calm down. You can’t do that with a child who has experienced trauma because if your child used to cry, and no one ever came, their behaviour regresses. So you have to go and comfort them. Because of their experiences, many of these children have not met their developmental milestones because they haven’t had their needs met. Therefore their chronological age is different to their emotional age. For example, you may have a child who is eight, but emotionally still could be only 18 months old because they never had their emotional needs met.

It’s little things like when they get out of the bath, wrapping them in a towel and rocking them, which they didn’t experience as a baby. Another thing is around meal times, for example, my boy will occasionally ask for help eating because he didn’t have that support in his earlier years so is looking for that need to be met now. As an adoptive parent, you’ve got to consider their emotional age, not their chronological age. Remembering this is key.

I’ll be honest, I’ve found this part really difficult. I’m fighting 38 years of being parented and in a particular way. The fuses in my childhood home were very short and you cannot behave that way with an adoptive child, you must have patience. So it’s been a real eye-opener for me on how to try and control my initial reactions, be more tolerant and think about things more carefully.

So is it fair to say that the adoption experience has taught you a lot about yourself? Has becoming a parent changed you in any way?

Yes, I would say this experience has definitely taught me more about myself. I’ve always been quite an empathetic person and this has helped me transition into the adoptive parent role. This whole process has highlighted how important empathy and understanding people’s situations are. I think I’ve always been that way, to be honest, but even more so now.

Although I was only saying at work yesterday it’s funny how I have so much patience and tolerance with my team, yet you flip it onto parenthood and my tolerances and patience get a bit shorter. But I think this is because, when you become a parent your child becomes the most important thing in your life. Things that I would get upset and frustrated about beforehand in work, I’m just like, it’s not that important anymore. I don’t sweat the small stuff because my child and his well-being are my priority.

I agree. I think patience is the key word. People say to me all the time that I’ve calmed down since I’ve become a dad. I think when you’re at home, in a social environment or the workplace being more patient with people whether that’s colleagues, children, family or friends ensures you get the best out of those around you.

Speaking of friends, when we used to meet up we’d talk about which restaurant we’d been to or what holiday we’d just booked. Now it’s all mealtime strategies, sleep cycles and ‘guess what food has been smeared on my clothes this morning?’ Is it fair to say life has changed?

Yeah! Now it’s all about soft play and where the best children’s theme parks are. Holidays are not the same. Now you book a hotel based on the kids club reviews and availability of free slushies.

It’s not a holiday anymore. It’s a trip!

Yeah, it’s very, very different, but different in a good way.

I never expected to be a dad. Ever. Because I thought parenthood would be something that I would never do, you don’t work towards it. I think in heterosexual couples (or certainly it used to be) you would get together, get married and have a baby; you’d have these relationship milestones set out. But often in a gay relationship, couples get together, get a house and live the rest of your life frivolously. But as soon as my partner and I started the process we knew we were meant to be dads and I would never change it.

I always said when I first met Leanne that I’m not getting married again, I don’t want children and I don’t like pets…

And look at you now.

Yep, 15 years on, we’re married, we’ve got a dog and Alana proceeded pretty swiftly afterwards. You make a good point though. Society used to force everyone into these ‘norms’ but nowadays people are ripping up the rule book. I think we were probably the last generation who felt that pressure.

Though I couldn’t see my life any other way now. To see the world through a child’s eyes is probably the best thing I’ve ever experienced because they just love everything, don’t they? The first time they step on sand or go on a plane, it’s all new and exciting…

Oh absolutely! The number of times we’ve sat there and our little boy has just looked up and gone ‘This is the best day ever!‘.

It’s particularly powerful for him because he was taken into care at five and went through several different foster placements, so he’s never been able to feel safe, settled or have things of his own. He’s never been spoiled, and now he’s having all these experiences, he’s like WOW! Though we’ve had to reign it in a little bit!

What’s it like seeing the difference in him and knowing you’re giving him the best life experiences possible? Are you an adoption advocate?

A massive yes on both parts. I think more people need to see adoption as an option. People don’t look at or talk about fostering and adoption enough. I mean, consider the positive impact you can have; not only are you bringing joy to your life, but you’re also giving a child who would not have the best life a chance to have an amazing life. So people should think more about it because they’re crying out for adopters.

Look, it’s challenging, I won’t sugar coat that, in some early conversations with you I probably burst into tears a couple of times, but the rewards on both sides are huge.

That’s such a powerful message and you’ve completely opened my eyes, like many others I’m guilty of being relatively naive to the adoption conversation. Do you have any tips for people that are thinking about going on that journey?

I think my one tip would be that you cannot be overprepared. Read the books. Do as much training as you possibly can, because there is nothing that can prepare you for some of the challenges that are involved, but it is very, very, very rewarding. Some training courses we went on and some of the stories we heard were so sad and unbelievable so yeah, just be prepared. That’s the most important thing.

We’ve worked together now for 11(!) years and it’s been lovely to see you go on this journey, I know I’ve never seen you happier. You’ve got such a nurturing personality, and a brilliant relationship with your partner, I know you’re creating a great home for your boy.

Yeah, times have certainly changed since we were dancing on tables doing Karaoke and singing Barbie Girl! But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Through my relationship with this particular colleague and others, I’ve seen first-hand how adoption has enriched the lives of both adults and children. For me, it’s so important that organisations support and enable people to explore all routes to parenthood, and as business leaders, we must help to facilitate and champion this.

At Morson, our adoption policy has been crafted to ensure that adoptive parents are supported equally to those on traditional maternity or paternity leave. Primary parents receive the same entitlement as those on maternity and secondary parents mirror paternity policy. But, it’s not just adoption, we’re looking at various family structures to ensure our colleagues are supported by policies which are fair, inclusive, and reflective of their personal circumstances. For example, we’re currently working directly with one of our colleagues who is going through IVF to help write and shape our IVF policy to ensure it offers the right level of support.

As a business with a large, global reach we’re passionate about influencing positive change across our network based on learned experience. As such our HR teams are working with a number of clients to help them craft inclusive policies for their current and future workforce, through our HR Outsourcing service.

If you are a business wishing to explore how best to champion inclusion and support your employees or an individual looking for an opportunity in an organisation that cares for the personal and professional you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly adrian.adair@morson.com

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Cath Tyldesley & Tom Pitfield share the news of Cath’s incredible career opportunity overseas that will leave Tom  ‘holding the baby’.

Cath Tyldesley & Tom Pitfield share the news of Cath’s incredible career opportunity overseas that will leave Tom ‘holding the baby’.


“Mum guilt never gets any easier!

Only last week our co-founder Tom Pitfield, and his wife, a successful and widely respected actress, singer, writer and producer – Cath Tyldesley, had a gold-plated spanner thrown in the works when it came to their family life; when Cath was offered a dream role in an exciting TV drama, which meant that she would be filming on location abroad for three months! Within the space of a week, from the amazing opportunity arising, Cath was on a plane and on her way to pursue an incredible career opportunity, with Tom effectively left ‘holding the baby’.

Anyone who knows Cath knows that she is a doting mum and that she absolutely adores her family, so it goes without saying that leaving her family behind to embark on her latest career adventure was not going to be something that she would find easy, but having worked so hard her entire career and proving people wrong through undeniable determination and unwavering talent, the only option was to embrace the opportunity, and make both herself and her family proud. Cath is flying the flag for all the formidable Mamma’s that stand tall and say it’s more than ok to be a mum and still want a career and achieve their dreams; and equally Tom is flying the flag for all the fantastic hands-on dads out there, as anyone who knows Tom, knows that he is more than capable of manning the fort alone for a few months, (albeit that he may need to have lots of rum on hand!) Tom is an amazing father, and he completely supports his wife’s career goals – just as she does his! Between them they make a marvellous team and are showing their children that teamwork really does makes the dream work. We had the pleasure of chatting to Cath and Tom about this very ‘BROOD-esq’ situation, just before Cath had to leave for the airport, and they bravely shared both their excitement and fears that the situation has brought upon them, and they explain how they see it as just another adventure that they will complete and that will further enhance their family’s life in the long term. 

Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris

“- yes, I am a mother, but I am also still Cath, and an actress

Cath, you’ve just landed a dream role – congratulations! It’s so well deserved and such amazing news!!! You’ll be working on location for a number of months though, meaning you will be away from your family, which will inevitably be really hard for you all, but in order to succeed in our careers it can often mean making sacrifices – especially when you have little ones, and you are self-employed; how important is it to you to lead by example in showing your children that they should always follow their dreams, and how much did that impact your decision in accepting the role?

Cath – “It’s hard, I almost feel like two different people, because there is career-Cath who is incredibly ambitious, extremely self-motivated and very driven, and so I’m always determined to fulfil my goals. Failure isn’t an option. And I love my job. My job is my happy place. But then on the flip side being a mum is my happy place too and it’s ok to want to have both of those things! There’s never a true balance, so there is no point trying to get that. I think I have to remember that sometimes I’m with them [the children] and sometimes I’m not, that’s just how it is. But I get to see my children more than most ‘9-5’ people, so although I might work away for a couple of months here and there, in between jobs I have a lot of downtime and that is always spent with my kids and my husband, so in a lot of ways we’re very lucky. But, yes, I’m not denying it’s incredibly difficult and I’m actually just about to leave to go to the airport and I can’t stop crying! I’ve got tears of joy because it’s an amazing role, it’s an amazing job, with amazing talent, but the other part of me is crying because even though I’m going to be reunited with my family in 10 days’ time, my little girl is only 16 weeks old, so it’s a long time to be away from her, to be away from them both. But I hope I instil a good work ethic in my children and show them that it’s important to remember who you are, because yes, I am a mother, but I am also still Cath, and an actress.

Also, my parents held down several jobs to give myself and my sister a good life, and for me to be able to go to drama school, so I grew up with working parents. And my kids come everywhere with me, wherever possible, we’re flying them out in just over a weeks’ time, where I go the kids go, we’re a family so I always strive to make it work!”

We live in a society where unfortunately it still seems to be ‘not the done thing’ for a mum to return to work while their babies are young, what would you say to anyone who may cast judgment on you for working away whilst Iris is so young?

Cath – “You can’t cast judgement on any parent! Being a parent is the most wonderful job in the world, but it is also the most challenging mentally – and physically! You need to be in athletic condition to be a parent, especially when you’ve got several children. Looking after your health is everything when you’re a parent for so many reasons. It takes real strength of character to be a good parent and you just need to make things work for you and your family, and every single family is different. I couldn’t do a 9-5 job, knowing that week after week that I would be caught in the rat race and only be getting home just in time to put the kids down for bed. That does not appeal to me. Whereas the way that I live, as mentioned earlier, yes there are intense work periods, but in between that I have weeks and weeks where I’m with the children, where I’m able to do the school runs and we can do lots of nice things together, and I just think that whatever your situation you make it work.”

Tom is obviously an amazing Dad and completely hands-on, so both the children are in very good hands, but the dreaded ‘Mum Guilt’ always seems to creep in – even when there is nothing to feel guilty about! What coping mechanisms do you use to help you deal with ‘Mum Guilt’ when you’re working?

Cath – “Mum guilt never gets any easier! I was awake at half three this morning and I had a little cry, I’ll admit that because I do feel guilty sometimes. But then I used to feel guilty when I had a more regular job, because I was working all day every day and there was no real end in sight. So, I think that no matter what position you are in as parent in terms of work, you’re always going to feel guilty, and the fact of the matter is that I want my children to have the best possible life that I can give them and for me that means being surrounded by love and wonderful, inspirational people, and that’s what my children have tenfold.

Hopefully they’ll be inspired by me and Tom, and I really hope that they both have driven personalities and can follow their dreams. I tell Alfie all the time that if you can see it, you can achieve it. I’m living proof of that. So many people told me I wouldn’t do half the things I’ve done, and I’ve done them! I think goal setting is very important in life and it’s very important to establish that positivity for your children because the world that we live in, more than ever, can be a very dark place, so helping them to have a positive mental attitude is so important.”


Tom, how much Rum did you drink when you realised Cath was going to be working on location for so long and that you would be left effectively holding the baby?! (Lol)

Tom – “I’m not going to lie; Rum will play a part in my parenting over the next three months!” He laughs. “To be honest, with this job and how it just all happened so quickly we didn’t really have time to think. As soon as Cath walked out of the door to go the airport, I had that realisation that I’ve got to cook the tea now, whilst holding the baby and looking after a 7-year-old, and that’s not going to change for the next three months. But you know what, we’ve done it before – albeit it was just me and Alfie then, so we’ve got an extra one this time, but we’ll do it! We knew this was going to be our life whether we had one or two kids, or no kids, so we knew the deal when we first got together and we always said we would do everything as a team, so this is just the next adventure, and we’ll complete it and move on. And we’ve got to just stay positive like that, as Cath’s following her dreams and we support her, just like she supports me, so it’s mutual respect.”


What are your biggest fears of juggling being the main carer for children and maintaining your own growing career whilst Cath is away?

Tom – “Initially I think my biggest fear is centred around Alfie, because he’s our first and he had 7 years of it being just us three, and when Cath was working away, it was just us two. I’ve explained to him that Mummy’s working away again, but that this time we’ve got Iris so it will be harder, and I might not always be able to give him the attention he deserves.

With regards to the career side of things, it will be a challenge, but it’s always a challenge when you’ve got kids anyway, especially with Catherine’s career being the way it is, so that has always been a juggling act. Having the extra element of having Alfie and Iris on my own will make it a little bit harder, and I’m sure there will be a fine line in making sure I don’t compromise the kids or my career, but I know I can do it and my main goal is just to get the job done and not to drop the ball workwise at all so that from a client point of no one will see the struggles, as that’s really important.”

You are a very hands-on Dad and although a lot more people are these days, for some there still seems to be a ridiculous perception that the majority of parenting responsibility should lie with the mother. Are you proud of the example that you are setting your children, in showing them that parenting isn’t just for Mum and that it’s about teamwork where Dad can play just as much of an important role as Mum?

Tom – “Yeah, absolutely. I think if I look around at a lot of my friends, even though they’ve got full time jobs, they are very hands on like myself, so I think it’s definitely changing. But when you are out in the wider public there certainly is still a perception for what dads ‘should be doing’ and what mums ‘should be doing’ – even in this day and age! So yes, I’m extremely proud. Even if I’m just walking through the supermarket to go and change Iris or something, and it’s just me and her, I’m very proud of wearing the changing bag and just being as hands on as I am. And I absolutely do think that will flow through to the kids and I’d like them to be the same, especially Alfie. I think the way both of us parent, going back to Cath working away, is because we want that work ethic to pass down to the kids. We always show them that Mummy and Daddy train hard, they work hard, and they play hard, and I think there is a lot to be said for that. So, if they can go into adult life with that similar mentality, we know they won’t do so bad. So, it definitely plays a part in the way we construct our lives, because we do want them to learn from it. The roles are very similar these days, it’s not just a dad’s job to go out and earn, Mums are just as big and as important in that respect and vice versa from a parenting point of view. And this is obviously one of the things that BROOD Magazine is about, we want to highlight that it’s ok for it to be 50/50 and get rid of that stigma!” 


Tom Pitfield, Catherine Tyldesley and Family
Tom Pitfield, Catherine Tyldesley and Family © TOM PITFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY 
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Mike Toolan

Mike Toolan


“- there is a guilt anytime you do anything for yourself” Mike Toolan

Award-winning Radio & TV Presenter, doting Dad of two, Mike Toolan, is one of the UK’s most loved presenters; with an impressive career spanning over 20 years. After starting his career as a radio presenter in America, his career in Radio really took off in UK at the exact same time as he became a dad for the first time! In recent years Mike became a single dad, with his two children living with him full time, so he had to learn to manage the juggle of looking after two teenage children and school runs, alongside his work as a radio & TV presenter, Voice-over artist, numerous theatre roles and the latest string to his bow – writing for TV! We sat down with Mike to chat about how he managed to get through the haze of his first big break as a breakfast presenter (with 4am starts), alongside becoming a father; becoming a dad to two under two, and the job opportunities that he turned down when they didn’t fit into his family life.

Known for his incredible sense of humour we enjoyed a hilarious interview with Mike, but underneath the jokes it’s clear to see just how much Mike’s children mean to him and it was inspiring to hear that despite having to turn down some amazing opportunities in order to put his role as a dad first, it hasn’t hindered his career at all, and he has no regrets about prioritising his family life first and foremost.    

Mike Toolan & Sir Alex Ferguson. (Image: Key 103/Hits Radio)

Where was you at in your career when you became a dad and how did you find the transition of managing your career alongside fatherhood?

“I have been a radio presenter all my life really, but I had just started on the breakfast show on KEY103 the same week that Luca was born. So that was a busy week!” He laughs “I think I got less sleep than a political prisoner for the first months, because he had colic as well, so he didn’t sleep at all, and I was getting up at 4.30am every day. It was all just a weird blur for those first six months to be honest. Obviously, it was amazing being on the breakfast show and it was all quite glamourous, and I remember thinking ‘I should really be enjoying this, but I’m just too tired to’. It was a bit like that feeling you get when you’ve been on a long-haul flight, and you get off the plane and the place is stunning and there’s a nice pool and you just think yeah this is great, but I just want to sleep!”

How did you survive? Because obviously it was a great moment in your career to get the breakfast show and obviously becoming a dad for the first time is wonderful, but that was quite a demanding schedule.

“I’d break up my sleep into two halves. I remember people in December would say only 18 sleeps until Christmas and for me there would be 36!” He laughs. “Every day turned into two days, I would go to sleep everyday about midday, wake up at 4pm and it would feel like a new day, although I did spend most of the time feeling very confused – I’m not sure I even knew my own name at that point!”

So as if that wasn’t enough to manage you went on to have another child – your daughter Lottie. 

“Yes, and there wasn’t a massive gap between them either, Luca was around 18 months old when Lottie was born. Lottie was a bit of surprise really – a nice one of course – but having two under two was a lot – the juggle was real managing that!”

Your children are a lot older now, how have you found managing all the different stages that children go through?

“I personally don’t think that there is any one stage better than another stage, they’re just different. It’s like my son Luca, he’s growing up now and he and I are just like mates, and it’s wonderful. And Lottie has just finished her GCSE’S and she’s an amazing girl. And it is so different to the beginning, because obviously at the beginning you’re like a full-on carer. When you have a baby, you get up to someone else’s schedule, your playtime is to someone else’s schedule, your sleep is to someone else’s schedule, you eat to their schedule and it’s almost like being in jail but you’re in love with warden.” We all laugh “Because it’s like 4am and you wake a bit disgruntled, then you’re like ‘oh it’s you’ and suddenly you don’t care what time it is. As the move through the different stages there are advantages and disadvantages to each stage.”

How do you think you have changed since becoming a dad?

“I think I was a lot more selfish pre kids, when you have kids, you instantly have to put someone else first don’t you? Your whole priorities change, and you become a much kinder person. I remember that’s when I started doing charity work, it sounds like a real cliché, but once I’d had kids if someone at the children’s hospital or somewhere would ask me to do a charity event I would be like ‘Yes!’, because you have this precious little bundle of life and you want to put more back into the world.”

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Has parent guilt been a factor for you throughout the years and do you manage to factor in some ‘me time’?

“Oh yeah, there is a guilt anytime you do anything for yourself – I was raised a catholic so there’s enough guilt going on there anywhere!” He jokes. “But there were things like I had always had a season ticket at Manchester United, but when Luca was born, I thought no, I can’t just leave him and his mum every other Saturday to go watch the football, so I decided to give that up. And for the last ten years me and Luca have been trying to get a season ticket back!” He laughs “But if you’re a decent parent you’ve got to put all of there interests first. There’s always going to be sacrifices but you get the fun in different ways once you have the kids because you’re having fun with them instead. Massive Saturday nights out with the lads become Saturday swim club with the lads, so you have fun like that. I was lucky because there was a group of us, almost like the show Friends. We were a group of single lads, then there were girls on scene, then everyone started getting engaged and married, and we all had kids at the same time. So now our kids are all the same age and we’re all still friends, so it’s been great to have that network of people all going through the same things.”

Has becoming a parent ever impacted your career decisions?

“Yes, it has actually. I have been offered jobs in London on a couple of occasions, various big radio opportunities in London, but I couldn’t really take them, because at the minute the kids live with me full time and have done for a few years, but there was a time that they were split 50/50 between me and their mum, and I just didn’t want to lose all that. I was actually offered to do This Morning regularly too, it would have been two days a week doing the interactive stuff it was called ‘The Hub’ and it was myself, Rylan and Coleen Nolan, and they said to me did I want to do Tuesdays and Thursdays, but it would have meant I would have had to give up my radio job here and spend time away from the kids so I just couldn’t do it. But I have no regrets about that at all.

I read a book recently called the 5 regrets of the dying. It’s written by a woman in America who works in end-of-life care, and she interviews all these people on their death beds – it’s really interesting. And she asks them ‘What is your biggest regret in life?’ and a lot of them say that their biggest regret is that they didn’t achieve their full potential in whatever area. I think yeah, I could have gone on to be a TV presenter but I couldn’t have sacrificed the relationship with the kids so I would still do the same thing tomorrow if I had to. I think whatever is meant for you will come anyway. Family is everything, and I’m very lucky to be able to do something that I enjoy as a career and it’s obviously important to me but it’s a secondary thing for me.”

Are there particularly moments that stand out to you where the juggle of work and kids has crossed over?      

“I was interviewing Fergie (Alex Ferguson) at Tesco when he had his first book signing, and he invited me down and I was on my way down there and I got a phone call from Lottie’s school and she had a sick bug, so I had to go and pick her up. But I still had to do this interview with Fergie, and I was just like, ‘Oh no! Oh god! What am I going to do?’ there was no one else that could help and no where I could take her, so I literally had to take her along and she had to sit there whilst I did the interview. Thankfully she wasn’t sick again, so it was alright, but he tried talking to her and she just kind of stared at him with this green face, and I was like ‘This is Sir Alex Ferguson Lottie’ and the poor thing was just sat there heaving!” He laughs “And there was another time, where I had to go and pick up a signed copy of Fergie’s book from his house for a charity event and had to call on my way home from the school run, so I had Luca with me – he was about 8 at the time and a massive Man United fan – and I said to him we’ve got to go to the Man United manager’s house. And Luca’s face was picture, because Fergie was his idol he was like a god to Luca, and we actually ended up going in and he gave us a tour of his house and sat down and had some tea with him. It was incredible, Luca was just sat there in his school uniform in a bit of daze, he couldn’t believe it. It’s still actually to this day one of his happiest memories. But they were both one of those times where you’re juggling, and you’ve got no choice but to do both things at once. Overall though I think I’ve been lucky that because of the shifts I’ve done, that other than having to get someone to come round and help in the mornings, I’ve been able to do the rest myself. Because I was on the breakfast show and I would finish at 10am, I could do everything apart from the morning school run. I was always at the school gates for pick up, doing the homework and cooking dinner and I know a lot of people don’t get that, as they might not get home from work until about 7pm so I have always felt lucky that my career has allowed me to be able to be hands on like that.”

Have you got any tips for any other parents juggling work and family life?

“I’m always making notes of everything on my note’s app, and I put everything in the diary, so the iPhone has changed my life in that way as there’s always reminders popping up. So, I would say just to be as organised as possible, as it really helps you from dropping the ball. I have to write everything down otherwise I’ll forget as I have a memory like Nemo!

Then the other thing that I do, that is quite a nice tip, is that whenever we go to bed, I have always got the kids to say their prayers at night – not even from a spiritual point of view, but just for them to think ‘what are you grateful for today?’ And we’d do a little list of gratitude, and then the one thing that does is remind them of the best bits of their day, even if that’s the dessert they’ve eaten or something like that. I think that it’s important that the last thing they do before they go to sleep is remember all the good things that have happened, and then they end their day on a positive. That’s really helped them both actually and I think it’s important to integrate a bit of mindfulness into their daily routine.”

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Charlie Condou on parenting as a gay man

Charlie Condou on parenting as a gay man

Charlie Condou is a successful British Actor, Columnist and LGBTQ+ Rights Activist – not forgetting his most important role – a doting dad of two, to Georgia, 12, and Hal, 9. For as long as Charlie can remember, he always had an overwhelming desire to start a family and create the kind of upbringing that his own lacked. But as a Gay man in the nineties and early noughties, his dream of having a family seemed almost impossible.

“I was always determined that when I had the opportunity to be a parent, I was going to be a really good one.”

Undeterred by the lack options available to him at the time, Charlie kept the faith that one day he would become a father. Thankfully the universe delivered and Charlie, along with his husband of 17 years, Cameron, and their good friend Catherine, embarked on the journey of parenthood together, collectively creating an enviable co-parenting relationship, that has provided a loving and nurturing home for their two children.

We sat down with Charlie on a lovely sunny day in Hyde Park, London, and chatted through what made his desire to have a family so strong, how he managed to find a way to become a dad against all odds and how having kids has impacted his career decisions over the years. Charlie’s passion for his kids and his aspiration to be the best dad possible is both admirable and endearing, and we were enthralled by his incredibly story…

“I’ve wanted to have kids for as long as I can remember. I came from quite a difficult background; my dad was put in prison when I was about 6 months old, and although my mum did an amazing job she was trying to work three jobs and take care of me and my sister – who was around ten years older than me, so it was tough. I think because of this I was always determined that when I had the opportunity to be a parent, I was going to be a really good one. But then when I was 18 years old, I realised I was Gay, and I knew that having a family was going to be a lot more complicated than I thought. I’m friends with Kathy Burke, and I have been since my early twenties, and I can remember chatting to her about it and saying to her, ‘I’m finding it really hard to let go of the idea that I might be a parent, because this is what I’ve always wanted’. And Kathy in her inimitable fashion turned to me and said, ‘Don’t be a c**t, if you wanna be a parent, then be a parent!’ he laughs, “‘Just find a way to do it! Why would you let that get in your way, if it’s something that you really want, then just find a way of doing it!’ And she’s quite uncompromising in that way, and she’s my son’s godparent for that exact reason, as I wanted him to have a bit of that influence. But even though I knew she was right, I still wasn’t sure how I could make it happen, because you couldn’t adopt then as a gay man – certainly not as a single gay man! Surrogacy wasn’t a thing and even if it had, I didn’t have any money then to have gone down that route nor was co-parenting even a word then. So, I thought ‘what do I do?’ And I think for a lot of gay men from my generation, and Cameron’s – who’s ten years older than me, back then if you were gay man who wanted to be a parent, you either got together with a woman and went down that route – that lie – and lived your life that way, or you parked the idea and accepted it just wasn’t going to happen. But for me it was so important that I knew I was going to have to figure it out somehow, so when those kinds of conversations came up, I started saying ‘when I have kids’ instead of ‘if I have kids’. I suppose I did that to adopt the power of positive thinking, although I didn’t think of it that way at the time. So, I started talking to my female friends about it, and a few of them said, ‘Well if you’ve not met anyone by the time you’re forty, then I’ll have a baby with you!’ And being honest, there were varying degrees of seriousness in these conversations. But then I met Catherine and we became close friends; and as the years went on and she got nearer to forty we started to talk about it a lot, she desperately wanted to be a parent too. Then one day she came to me, and she wasn’t with anyone at the time, and she just didn’t want to wait any longer and miss out on the chance of becoming a mum, so she asked me if I wanted to talk about it properly, about the logistics of it all and how it would work for us. At this point I was with Cameron, and I had been for a few years, so that was obviously something I had to consider because there would be the three of us involved in co-parenting; that’s where the inspiration for my column name in The Guardian came from – The Three of Us. Anyway, we talked about it for a long time, probably for much longer than we needed to, because we talked about every eventuality – ‘What if someone moves to Australia’ he jokes “Or ‘What if we fall out’ for example. We were so cautious, because we wanted to get it right – especially coming from a broken home it was very important to me.

What encouraged you to start your popular column ‘The Three of Us’?

“Well, there were several reasons why I wanted to do it; one of the reasons was to show people that parenting is just as relentless, mundane, and hard work for gay people as it is for straight people too. I wanted to show that apart from a few logistical differences, i.e in how you get pregnant, that overall, it’s pretty similar. When I started the column there was no one talking about being a gay parent, so I wanted to show that we can do it and we’re perfectly capable of being parents too. But I also realised that I wanted to make myself accountable. I thought if I write about this publicly and it’s out there, then I can’t get it wrong, I have to get it right, and I realised that came from my fears from coming from a broken home. My dad wasn’t a bad man, but he wasn’t a good father. He wasn’t present and I was determined to be a good dad. I was determined to be present, so I think I wanted to put it out there and talk about my experience in an honest way, so that it gave a certain amount of extra pressure that I wanted. That doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes, because we all make mistakes, it’s impossible not to, you make different mistakes to your parents, but you make your own mistakes and realise that as you go on. There is no such thing as perfection. You can’t ever get it 100% right, but you can do your best.”


Do you think the fact that you are so conscious about being a present dad, that it has affected your career choices?

“Yes, that was the reason I left Coronation Street. There were a lot of great things about being at Corrie and it was a hard decision to make. I had been deliberating it for months, because in a sense you’ve got job security – you can potentially be there for a long time; you know when you can take your holidays, and all those things. I was giving that role up with essentially nothing to go into, but my children lived in London, and I didn’t want to be so far away from them. I remember the moment that my son, who was about 2 at the time, broke his leg. I got the phone call and all I could think was ‘I should be there’, but I was in Manchester, and I had to film the next day. That night, I had to go back to my flat alone, when all I wanted to do was be with him and I just realised that I couldn’t do it anymore. Of course, any job can take you away from your kids at times but being in Manchester 5 days a week was really tough. I would come home on Friday evening, and I’d have to go back to Manchester again on a Sunday afternoon. It just wasn’t working, so I don’t regret it at all, but it was still a hard decision to make.”

How do you make it work logistically on a weekly basis, have you managed to find a way to do it that suits you all?

“We’re very close with Catherine and we’re very good friends and the way we do it [and the way we’ve always done it] is, they live between the two houses, we have them Monday and Tuesday, Catherine has them Wednesday and Thursday, and then we alternate the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so it’s great and the most we’re ever away from them is 5 days. It also means we get a break, so I can honestly say I’ve never got that point that I just need a break – because I get a break. I know a lot of my peers get to that point, like a lot of people do when they have kids because it’s full on, so we’re very lucky that it works the way it does. It means that when they are there, we’re engaged, we’re our best selves and we’re not exhausted. The other side of it is that the kids get a break from us too, so they really enjoy coming home to us, just as they equally really enjoy going home to their mum. There are three of us, so we literally do have an extra pair of hands, to pick up the slack! It really does work well.”

After Georgia was born you went on to have Hal, was it always your intention to have one than one child together?

“I always say we had Georgia for ourselves, and we had Hal for her. We had done IVF and we had still had an embryo that was frozen, so we kind of thought well why not, lets ‘chuck it in the oven and see what happens’” We all laugh. “But in all seriousness, I think no matter how well you’re doing, parents can drive you mad at times, particularly as you get older, and I think nobody really understands like a sibling. My sister has just passed away, but we were incredibly close and it’s because we were a unit – after our crazy childhood. Even now I see that between my son and my daughter; only the other day my son was in a mood about something, and he wouldn’t talk to me, and he wouldn’t talk to Cameron, and he wouldn’t discuss it with Catherine, he just wouldn’t get into it. So, Georgia said to me, ‘I’ll talk to him’ and within minutes he was sat on her bed letting it out to her. She said to me afterwards, I’ll always tell you what happens, and I said no don’t, tell me if need to know, otherwise you have your relationship with him because that’s really important and I don’t need to know, you can have your private stuff together away from your parents, it’s how it should be. It just made me feel so grateful and relieved, obviously they bicker at times, but just to know that she’s got his back and that he’ll go to her if he needs support just made me think, if I’ve done nothing else, I’ve given them that.”  

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“- I realised that came from my fears from coming from a broken home.”

Do you think it’s important for children to know that they’re parents aren’t perfect, and to be open with them about that so that they themselves don’t feel the pressure of needing to ‘perfect’?

“Yes, I was talking about this with someone the other day actually, and I’d apologised to the kids after I snapped at them about something, and they were being a bit annoying, but I realised that I didn’t snap at them because of them, I snapped because I felt tired. It wasn’t bad but I just said, ‘I’m really sorry I snapped at you, it wasn’t about you, it was about me’ and I have no issue with saying sorry when I’ve done something wrong. I think it’s important. People often feel like an apology is a sign of weakness, but you should look at it as your owning yourself and your mistakes. It’s also a gift to another person, because if someone apologises to me, and it’s heartfelt and unconditional, then I know I feel good because of that and it’s making your relationship stronger.  So, if I can give that to the kids and teach them that it’s alright to say you’re sorry when you’ve done something wrong, because we all get things wrong. And I don’t want them to think that I’m perfect, because kids can have that perception about their parents, and I think they should know that we all make mistakes.”




How important do think it is to be the best version of yourself, in order to be the best parent?

“I think it’s about making sure you are a solid foundation, because yes, I’ve been through some terrible times in my life, but I have consciously tried to sort my s**t out so that I don’t put that on to them. I had a bit of breakdown after I left Corrie , as I had left for the right reasons but suddenly I had job, no money, and things were tough and I got myself into therapy because I needed to help myself, because it’s very easy to look back and blame the fact that my dad wasn’t around and my mum was working all the time, or whatever it maybe be, but it’s very easy to blame your problems on other people and while that might be the reason for your problems at some point you have to take ownership of that. So, seeing a therapist was brilliant for me and helped me to figure out who I was. I think we take care of our physical selves all the time but so many of us don’t take care of our mental health and wellbeing.”


What tips would you give other parents, in particular co-parents?

“I think my advice would be don’t take advice from anyone, find your own way. Everyone thinks that they know the right way how to be a parent, but everyone finds it out for themselves. And from a co-parenting point of view, the most important thing you can do is communicate properly, whether that’s talking about how things will work, logistics, making sure you do it with someone who has the same values and morals, and ideas about bringing up kids.

And also, if something is irritating you, just get it out and just say it. That’s what us three do, don’t get me wrong it’s not easy but then it’s done, and we can deal with it. Because if you don’t speak up, these things just fester and before you know you’re screaming at somebody, about something so small! It’s much better for everyone when you can communicate well, and you move on.” 

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Emma Neville – Philanthropist, counsellor, WIFE and doting Mum of two

Emma Neville – Philanthropist, counsellor, WIFE and doting Mum of two

Emma Neville and her two daughters she shares with football legend Gary Neville © TOM PITFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY FOR BROOD MAGAZINE

Philanthropist, qualified counsellor, wife, and doting Mum of two

“the first big thing that I did for them was a fundraiser which was 3 days, 3 countries and 3 mountains, I was quite nervous going as it was with a group of ladies that I didn’t know bar two of them, but collectively, we raised £178,000 ”

Philanthropist, qualified counsellor and doting Mum of two, Emma Neville, has always kept herself out of the public eye despite her husband, Gary Neville’s, extremely high profile and widely documented career; meaning that a lot of Emma’s personal achievements and her incredible dedication to support so many charities have gone under the radar. Emma is exceptionally modest about her charity work and what she has achieved already in her career as a counsellor. It’s a journey that she embarked on around five years ago; after spending many years embracing her role as a full-time mum and taking the lead with the family’s home life to counterbalance Gary’s demanding career schedule. But as the girls got older Emma realised, she wanted to do something for herself, consequently pushing herself out of her comfort zone and pursuing a lifelong ambition of becoming a qualified counsellor. Emma also accelerated her contributions to several charities through volunteer work, rather than ‘just’ making monetary donations. Emma volunteers for many charities including Destination Florida, Bury Cancer Support Centre, Girls Out Loud, Child Bereavement UK and she is very passionate about enhancing the amazing work that these charities already do, as well as helping to raise awareness for them. 

When you meet Emma, you can instantly see why she is so well suited to her chosen career path, as her warm and endearing nature shines through. It was an absolute pleasure to chat to Emma and listen to how she has carved out her new career path, whilst making a difference to so many people’s lives, and to hear how she balances that alongside her role as Mum. We chatted away to Emma before the girls, Molly 13, and Sophie 12, returned home from school and joined us for our photo shoot; that we managed to squeeze in between school finishing, teatime, and netball practise!

So, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about what you have been up to since embarking on your new career.

“I qualified as a person-centred counsellor in 2019 – I never thought I would actually finish it as lockdown came along and it was really difficult as I’m very much a classroom learner and without the classroom, I didn’t think I would have been capable of doing it on my own. But I got there, and I passed, and I was really proud of my little self! I gain my 100-hour client learning at two placements; one was at the Simeon centre, and one was at the Bury Cancer Support Centre. They were two very different organisational structures, I enjoyed both ways of how the client process worked. After my placement finished at Bury Cancer Support Centre, they asked me if I would like to stay on and continue in the role, and I was so happy that they had asked me as it was such a special place that I accepted straight away!

Emma Neville
Emma Neville and her two daughters © TOM PITFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY FOR BROOD MAGAZINE
Emma Neville

I’ve completed numerous other courses since looking into different modalities, such as transactional analysis, working with children and adolescent counselling course and trauma and PTSD. It is really important to me that I make sure I’ve learnt as many skills as I possibly can, so that I can offer people the best support possible.”

What made you enter the world of counselling, to take the first step and start the course?     

“Well, I had always wanted to do it, I remember contemplating it when was working at wholesale jewellers in my twenties, and I was obviously quite young then though so I’m really glad that I didn’t do it at that point in my life, as I feel like the life experiences I have had since have actually helped me become a better counsellor. So, even though it is something I’ve always wanted to do, I feel like I’ve done it at the right time in my life.

It was actually through working with a charity that I decided to take the plunge and start the course. I was at a ladies lunch at the Hilton in Manchester and Gary Barlow was speaking as an ambassador for Child Bereavement UK and I got chatting to Liz Taylor, who had put on the event, and I asked who the CEO was, and Liz introduced me to Anne Chalmers. I had a really good chat with Ann, and she gave me her card. I left the event with an overpowering urge to be involved with them somehow, I wanted to help them to do more; hearing all the stories and watching the videos had really touched me. But I didn’t want to just make a pledge and give money though, I wanted to do more than that, I wanted become hands on with the charity. So started doing some volunteer work for them on their family support programmes, which run from a centre in Widnes. I would do one weekend on and one weekend off there. We would read bereavement books with the children and do various craft activities with them and talk about the special person that they had lost. These children would have lost their Mum, or their dad, or their brother, or their sister. People used to say to me ‘How can you do that it must be really depressing?’, but for me those Saturdays were my favourite Saturdays out of the month. I would leave there feeling so privileged that these amazing children had let me into their lives. And as the weeks went on, it was just so wonderful to see the children’s personalities grow and develop, and to watch all the friendships form between the children. They were making friends with other children that they could relate to, as they had all shared similar experiences. So, it was through doing that volunteer work that gave me the push to become a qualified counsellor.”


Destination Florida Charity

“…I explained some of the children that I’m working with have lost their mummy’s and daddy’s, or brother’s or sister’s, so I was needed there to help those children.”

So how long had you been doing volunteer work before you decided to enrol onto the Counselling course?

“I did it that for a year and I did some training with them whilst I was there, and then I just thought right it’s time for me to take the next step and I enrolled on a part time course, at night school for my Level 2 qualification. I hadn’t studied for a long time, so it was a big thing for me to go back into the classroom. Then I progressed onto my Level 3 and then Level 4 – which is a two-year course with 100 hours placement. So, it took me three and half years in total to become fully qualified.”


During those three and half years of studies and placements, how did that impact your mum role and how did you find the juggle?

“I did feel guilty doing the work on the Saturday at times, because obviously the girls are at school all week, but I looked forward to sharing how my Saturday had gone with them once I got home. I’ve always been open with them as well and explained that some of the children that I’m working with have lost their mummy’s and daddy’s, or brother’s or sister’s, so I was needed there to help those children.”

Are the girls proud of you now that they are that bit older, and they can understand more about what you do and what you have achieved?

“I think so!” she laughs, “They’ll often ask me what I’ve done that day – sometimes they’re not listening to me (she laughs) but other times they really do take an interest and they’ll ask about the books that I’m reading etc. When I’m putting on a charity event though I like to try and get them involved, so I will ask them to come up with ideas for fundraising etc. I actually did a placement at a hospice in Radcliffe, and they did a stall and was selling toys to try and raise money for the hospice. I think it’s really important to get them involved and I hope that they themselves will go along the path of getting involved with doing some aspect of charity work too.”


Did you feel like you had to wait until the girls were a bit older in order to start your education and career?

“I definitely wanted to be with the girls when they were younger and be that mum that can do every school pick up, but as they started to get a bit older, even from the age of about 7, they would start taken themselves off to do things for themselves and it just felt like it was the right time as a whole for us all. In hindsight I think I would have liked to have started this journey earlier. But I suppose everything happens at the right time in the end, and I still had and do get, those feelings of mum guilt, even though I know that they are fine. I would have struggled to have started my studies now as they have so many activities and commitments after school, but back then they had only just started playing netball, so it wasn’t too intense at that point trying to manage everything. I am also not very good at delegating and that came from my own feelings of wanting to do everything for them, so I’m lucky that the career I have chosen actually fit’s in really well for us a whole, as it’s quite flexible, so I’m lucky that it didn’t add too much pressure. It was very important to me when I started it that I could schedule it into my family life without it affecting it too much.”


Has having a career helped you to find your own identity outside of the parent role?

“Yes, definitely. I felt a change around the time I was thirty-five and I really felt that I needed to do some for myself and to see what I could achieve in my own right. I realised that I do want to feel important and valued as a person, and not ‘just’ as a mum. When I only had that mum role, I would drop them off at school, come home do the housework, get the shopping in etc and before I knew it was time to pick them back up again, and I can remember thinking the days just go so fast, ‘how do people do it?’. So, I always really admired working parents. I think because Gary’s work life has always been so full on, I never know his schedule and when I do it changes that much, that was why I never really pushed myself because I felt like I had to fit around that and take the lead with the girls. And I know Gary would have supported me if I would have wanted to do something back then, but I felt like it was the right role for me at that time. When I started my course and I was one of the older ones on the course and I had a lot of self-doubt, where I questioned whether I was capable or not, but I really felt it was really important to keep going and push myself. I needed to prove to myself that I could do it. I knew if I would have just given up that I would have been so angry with myself, that no matter how much I was struggling and doubting my capabilities, I made sure I turned up to every class and got through it.”



Obviously, Gary has very high profile and has had a very successful career, so you didn’t necessarily need to build a career of your own from a financial point of view, so your driving force has been to help a number of charities elevate their services, raise awareness and funds. Tell us a little bit more about that.  

“When I started volunteering with Child Bereavement UK the first big thing that I did for them was a fundraiser which was 3 days, 3 countries and 3 mountains, I was quite nervous going as it was with a group of ladies that I didn’t know bar two of them, but collectively, we raised £178,000 and it felt incredible to give back and I felt really proud. Then a few months later I connected with Mike Hymanson (Chair of Trustees) from Destination Florida (A Children’s Charity that takes children with life-limiting conditions away for a once in a lifetime magical holiday) I knew Mike through friends, and after we chatted, he asked me to go on the fundraising board for them and I said yes. When I started on the board, initially it was very much about how I could encourage the connections I had to contribute and pledge money and that alone just didn’t feel like enough, I wanted to do more. So, I started to thrive when I was able to tap into my creative side and come up with ideas. So, I’ve worked with them for two years now, helping them organise events and fundraisers. I’m really looking forward to going on a trip with them to Disney in 2023.

Emma conscientiously checks back to her notes at this point to make sure that she includes all the charities that are close to her heart. We’re very impressed with how organised she is, (it’s not often BROOD interviews are organised!) and she jokes that Gary always says, ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!’ so she has done what he’s always telling her to do!

“So, then I heard about another charity – Girls out loud (a social enterprise designed to empower girls to channel their potential and make better life choices), so I joined their big sister programme and that was life changing for me! It was working with year 9 girls, going into to schools to see them for an hour, outside of the classroom. They would give you a structure, but you could choose how you approached each week yourself, as it always depended on how open the girls would be with you, because some days they wouldn’t want to talk, so you couldn’t just pull this worksheet out and start trying to go through that with them. It was amazing to meet my ‘little sister’. She was such an open and honest girl, and she was trying to build her confidence. We would talk a lot about resilience, and we made mood boards, vision boards and mantra jars, things like that. The hour would fly by, and I always wanted to give more time. I did that for 12 months.  I really enjoyed the programme and I found it really interesting to see just how much social media influences their lives. I absolutely love that charity and I can’t wait to do more with them.”

Do you think having teenage daughters of your own helped prepare you for that role?

“Because I know that I’m a bit of a rescuer I was conscious not to take on that mothering role, and I definitely didn’t want to talk at my ‘little sister’ because I’m the ‘big sister’ and I’m meant to know more. But it wasn’t like that at all, it was a two-way street, I learnt a lot from her about life as a teenager at school and what they do after school. It did make me feel relieved that it wasn’t me at school! It also made me realise that I might need to give the girls some slack sometimes, as it’s a lot to deal with being at school. Working with Girls Out Loud gave me an insight into life at high school and what children go through, so that’s something I will be mindful of when it comes to the girls. We did a study around screen time and there was one girl had been on her phone for 16 hours and that just blew my mind! I couldn’t understand how that was even possible? But she explained that she was up until 2am most nights on her phone. It was eye opening to see just how much social media influenced their lives.

I remember one of them saying when she discussed not taking her phone with her when she went out, she said, ‘I was just able to ugly laugh without my friends taking a picture of me’ This was a 14-year-old girl! It’s just frightening to think they have to think like that because everything is documented and before you know it someone has posted your picture on social media whether you like it or not.”    


What advice would you give to the BROOD readers who are parents of teenagers?

“I would say just listen to them and try and just keep conversations going. I know that can sometimes be difficult, but just asking how they are is a good start. I also think a big thing for us, as parents, to make sure we own up to our own mistakes and learn to say sorry, because when we’re in the heat of the moment and we’re stressing at them and complaining, sometimes just saying ‘I’m really sorry about this morning, I wasn’t in a good place, and I was rushing and I shouldn’t have stressed at you’ that can make a big difference. Sometimes we put a lot on them, especially when I think about the morning chaos and when parents get stressed, it makes you wonder does your child leave the house or the car and take that stress and negativity into their school day?  So, I think holding your hands up and owning your mistakes is very important. Children can read you; they know when you’re not yourself, so being open with them can put their mind at ease that it’s not on them. Just letting them know that we’re not perfect either. That it is ok to not be ok.”


Have you had any ‘BROOD moments’ since embarking on your career, where something has happened with the kids, and it just turns chaotic, and you end up plagued with the dreaded mum guilt?

“There are loads of things that have happened!” she laughs, “but there was one time that stands out, right at the beginning of my starting this journey and it was when I went on the charity hike for three days. Basically, Sophie had an ingrowing toenail, and it was something I had meant to get looked at, but I didn’t get chance to before I went away and then whilst I was there Gary sent me a picture and half her toe had gone blue! I’d just climbed a mountain; I had another one to climb the next day and the day after that and I remember thinking ‘Oh my god! What am I going to do!’ I felt terrible, and then Gary rang me – not in the best of moods!” she laughs, “and he said, ‘I thought you’d dealt with this!’” We all laugh at this point, understanding this exchange between parents all too well. “We had the normal exchange that we have, and I said to him ‘well you’re a parent too, so you’ll have to deal with it’. But then I got off the phone, I went into this room, and I just cried my eyes out, I felt terrible for not being there and I just felt like I needed to get home. I was imaging the worst and I just felt so bad, but this lady really helped me to calm down and she was from the medical profession, and she was like ‘ring Gary, tell him to draw a line on her toe and as long as the blue doesn’t go below this line it will be fine’. So, I rang Gary to ask him to do that so I could have piece of mind, and he had already spoken to a doctor that had said it was going to be fine, which was huge relief, because when I first spoke to him it felt like it was the end of the world, like she was going to end up having to have her toe amputated and it was all my fault!”

So, what are your plans in terms of your own personal development and within your career?

“Well, the Bury Cancer Support centre has been open for nearly 20 years now, so they are doing a big fundraiser for their anniversary next year, so I will be helping with that, which I’m really looking forward to. I will also continue to volunteer with them because they really are an amazing charity. It is a cause that is close to my heart, and the work they do is just invaluable. I will also continue my work on the fundraising board with Destination Florida, and I’m looking forward to working with Girls Out Loud again.

For me personally, I just want to keep looking out for different charities that I can volunteer for and help with. I want to continue working with teenagers and get more involved in a teenage charity, as it really feels like that is the right fit for me and somewhere I can help to make a real difference. Working with teenagers can be challenging, but it’s a challenge that’s worthwhile.

I will continue to keep doing courses that are going to add to my skill set, so that I can continue to keep improving my skills as a counsellor. I’m currently doing a menopause coaching certificate and I’m hoping this will help many ladies and clients that I have and it’s a subject that I’m really passionate about.

I have achieved certificates in Holistic therapies, such as reflexology, Indian head massage and Hopi ear candles over the years and I’m really interested in these therapies so I will also further my skills in this area, as I feel it goes hand in hand with counselling and client wellbeing. My love of learning has definitely come back, and I just love learning new things.”




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Brooke Vincent: Mum, actress and Business Owner

Brooke Vincent: Mum, actress and Business Owner


Brooke Vincent 

“…you completely forget about yourself and anything else that might be important to you!”

Doting mum of two, Brooke Vincent is best known for her role in one of the UK’s most loved TV programmes, Coronation Street, but in 2018 Brooke boldly ventured into the world of business launching her company Oh So B. After starting the business in her bedroom, whilst juggling her acting career, Brooke’s fabulous stationery brand has gone from strength to strength, and Oh So B has now become one of the go-to brands for practical and stylish planners for busy professionals. We sat down with Brooke to chat about what inspired her to step into the daunting world of business and how different she finds running a business now that she is a mum of two gorgeous boys under two – Mexx and Monroe. It was both inspiring and refreshing to hear Brooke talk with honesty about the daily juggle, how she – like so many of us – sets unrealistic expectations for herself and how she deals with the dreaded mum guilt, when those hectic weeks creep in…

What inspired you to start Oh So B?

“Well, while I was doing Dancing on Ice, I was also doing radio – which I had to be up at five for, then I would finish that and go to do my ice-skating rehearsals, then I would go to Coronation Street, then I would go and do dance and then I would go home. And it was literally the craziest time of my life and when it stopped, I like what now? I remember being sat at home and I was like right, ‘we need to move house, we need to get a dog, I think we should have a baby.’ I felt like something was missing – I was missing the chaos. And it was during that time that I decided to start doing planners.”

Brooke Vincent and son Mexx
oh so b

Why planners? Was that something you were passionate about?

“Well, I’ve always loved planners, dairies and any kind of stationery really, and I remember this one year I had spent about £200 on this planner from America. But they would only ship to the US and my friend Sacha was over there filming at the time, and I said to her, ‘I’m going to get this planner delivered to your house and you bring it home when you come back. Please don’t open it, don’t write in in it, don’t write your birthday in it or anything – because I won’t find that funny!’  (We laugh – as a stationery geek myself I totally get this!) When I did get it, it was like a lightbulb, I knew that wanted to create a planner of my own. And that’s how it came about. I always like to push myself and better myself and Oh So B has allowed me to do just that.”

And you didn’t have kids at this point, so how has it changed running the business prior to having kids as opposed to after having children?

“No, gosh, I didn’t have the boys then!” she laughs. “I have a lady, who is also a family friend Amanda who helps me manage the business now, and I’m very lucky as she’s great, she’s so knowledgeable and I feel like she knows all the things that I might not. I decided to bring Amanda on because I made a lot of mistakes at the beginning as I had no experience in business – I’ve gained a huge respect for anyone running a business – and as it’s grown, I’ve managed to build a mini team. I also pulled in a lot of favours at the start, like you do. The major difference now is, well I don’t even think this is just when you’re running your own business; I think any working mum – or dad – feels this way, but when you’re trying to give your children attention, whilst also trying to give your attention to something else that needs your attention, is the hardest thing in the world! Especially when you’ve got more than one!”

How do you fit in running your business now that you have two babies so close together?

“Well, Mexx, didn’t go to nursery until he was 18 months old because of covid, whereas Monroe, started when he was six months old, and as much I found it hard because I felt like he was so young, they don’t go full time and they love it and there’s only so much you can do for them at home. And it’s nice for you to know that you are dropping them off and they are safe, happy, and occupied. So I try and be as productive as possible in the days that they are at nursery so the rest of the time I can just concentrate on them.”

I know a lot of mums, myself included, feel guilty when they are working that they aren’t with their children, and anxious when they are with the kids that they aren’t doing the work that they need to do. Is that something that you can relate to?

“Oh yes, absolutely! It’s a constant battle within yourself! I think one thing I’ve really struggled with since becoming a mum is that you never stop feeling guilty over something! So even if it’s not over your kids or work, it might be over the time you spend with your partner, or your friends; whatever the situation maybe. I know they call it ‘work life balance’ but to me it’s the ‘mum life balance’ as I think you just get so wrapped up in the babies and what they need, that you completely forget about yourself and anything else that might be important to you. I also feel that if you do something to make your life easier, i.e., send the children to nursery, get a cleaner, etc for some reason you feel guilty. Because you question your own capabilities like, ‘Why can’t I run a business, look after the kids, run the house, look the best, feel my best, give the kids everything – why can’t I do that? I’m really hard on myself like that.”

Brooke Vincent

Do you think that is something we all do, that we set high expectations for ourselves and worry that others are judging us when really, it’s us that are judging ourselves?

Yes, I think it’s really hard for a woman to have a career and be a mum without feeling that. I think it’s one of those things that a lot of judgement comes from within us.

Do you think social media plays a part in putting too much pressure on ourselves?

“Yes, because you look at certain people and the homes are immaculate; they look immaculate and the kids look immaculate, and you just think why I can’t be like that. But at the same time, it baffles me because really, we all know that they won’t be like that all the time but scrolling through lots of pictures like that just makes you feel like you’re underachieving somehow. Like for me when I saw people in jeans not long after giving birth, I was like how they are back in their jeans – because I couldn’t fit in mine. And I don’t know whether I felt the pressure more because I’m a ‘younger’ mum or what it was, but I definitely felt a lot of pressure to ‘bounce back’.

I think a lot of new parents – I know I felt it myself – feel like they lose their identity a little bit. Have you felt like that at all?

“When I was pregnant, we’d had a normal summer, I had Mexx in the winter and then it was lockdown, so I think everyone struggle a bit then and he was nine months old, we said shall we have another baby – as we wanted them to be close together and luckily, I got pregnant again really quickly. Everything with the pregnancy went well and he was healthy – which is obviously something that plays on everyone’s minds when they are expecting a baby. And Monroe arrived and it’s only recently that I’ve been able to get back into my old clothes again, but essentially, they are three years old those clothes now and they’re not necessarily in fashion or I have already worn them lots already. Although I have quite a few key pieces in my wardrobe that I can mix, and match and wear again rather than you know wear it once and give it to charity. I feel like I have lost my identity in terms of how I look, at times, as I’d gotten so used to wearing baggy clothes. And now, that I want to look nice, I just don’t have the time to try lots of things on and put an outfit together. The amount of chaos it causes in our house if I try to put a full face of makeup on for example before I leave the house, well, it’s just not worth it, so I just don’t bother – then I’ll get to Nanna’s, and she’ll tell me how tired I look!” she laughs. “Obviously, you do feel different, and it is tiring, but being a mum is also one of the best things in the world!”

What do you have planned in your business over the next few years?

“Well, I feel like a lot of the ideas I had the start that I’ve still not managed to action with as yet, as I started the business in the June and by the January, I found out I was pregnant and then we’ve had all the various lockdowns and obviously I went on to get pregnant with Monroe, etc, so I still don’t feel like I’ve been able to run with it fully the way I wanted too. And as I much as I still have lots of ideas and goals for the business, I feel like it’s ok not to push it as fast as I would have done if I didn’t have the kids, because I can cope with the pressures as it stands now, but because the boys are so young, I don’t really want to push it even more just yet as it will just become too overwhelming, and I want to enjoy the boys being babies too.”

Do you have any advice or tips for fellow working parents?

“If there are any tips out there you need to tell me because my life is just like a circus!” We all laugh and chat about life within our own circus’.  “I think even though it’s something I struggle with myself, I feel like I’m constantly learning, but you should expect too much from yourself and you need to remind yourself just what good job you’re doing. That’s why I’ve included reminders in my planners that ‘you are doing your best’, as I think it’s so important for us remember that.”

“…you completely forget about yourself and anything else that might be important to you.”

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Kate Devine – Nutritionist, PT & Mum of 3 Boys

Kate Devine – Nutritionist, PT & Mum of 3 Boys

“…a mum to my 3,
football crazy, overly loud, sometimes a bit
annoying, but generally amazing boys!”

Kate Devine – Nutritionist, PT & Mum of 3 Boys

Firstly, I’m so excited and honoured to be part of the BROOD family and involved in its first online launch! I hope you enjoy reading my very first article on health and nutrition and I hope you find it provides lots of information, tips and advice for you and your family…Now, to introduce myself properly…

Hi, I’m Kate and my most important job is, of course, being a mum to my 3, football crazy, overly loud, sometimes a bit annoying, but generally amazing boys! Oh and not forgetting our beautiful Bassett Hound, Hettie, who is 15 years old and still going strong – although she has lost the use of some bodily functions, which can be interesting at times! I am married to Paul, who is slightly more annoying than the kids, but we laugh everyday and tackle life together.

I am a Nutritional Therapist and Personal Trainer, alongside the things mentioned above! My journey into nutrition and fitness began after having my first child 12 years ago. I had always exercised and thought I ate relatively well, but I think once you become a parent, you realise just how important being healthy and looking after yourself and your family is! You want to be the best parent and you want your child to thrive, especially in their first few years of life. I returned to the gym and began to find it quite therapeutic. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was bloody awful doing the actual training (still is), but it enabled me to have an hour to myself and I found that I was a better person for having that time out from parenting. This became a regular thing for me and I suddenly grew very passionate about exercise and its benefits, both physically and mentally.


Some years past, a few more kids arrived, and I decided to become a Personal Trainer. By far the most terrifying thing I had done in a long time! Going back into learning after 3 bouts of baby brain, I was surprised there were even any brain cells left to be honest! But, I did it, and qualified 5 years ago and further qualified in Pre and Post Natal Exercise – this was something I found was lacking in the fitness industry during all of my pregnancies. Being as PT is by far the best job I’ve ever had. I get to help people achieve life changing goals and talk all day, every day, and if you know me, talking is the thing I like to do most!

“Pre and Post Natal Exercise – this was something I found was lacking in the fitness industry during all of my pregnancies”

As you can imagine, nutrition is talked about A LOT in the fitness industry, and it was no exception in my gym. I was asked daily about food, something which I was taught the basics on during my PT course, but I was always hesitant to actually advise people on what to eat – even back then, I believed that everyone was individual and no one plan suits all.

The next thing I know, I’ve enrolled myself on a 3-year Diploma course in Nutritional Therapy at The College of Naturopathic Medicine. Remember before, when I said my PT course was hard, well, this course was a whole different level!! Throw a global pandemic into the aforementioned and I’ve got myself a whole heap of craziness, emotional breakdowns and many moments of self-doubt! Thankfully, I carried on and here we are! I’m loving my new career and cannot wait to share my passion and knowledge with you all over the coming months, to help you achieve a lifestyle that ensures you and your family thrive!

Some of you may be wondering what Nutritional Therapy actually is…

In a nutshell, I aim to help alleviate symptoms potentially relating to disease, by treating the person, not the disease, in a naturopathic way by investigating the root cause and providing nutritional and lifestyle advice to help promote the outcome my clients want to achieve.

This is a lengthy process, taking several hours of investigation into current lifestyles and all body systems, functional testing and medical research into each individual case. From this, I can recommend the most effective dietary advice and supplementation and provide bespoke meal plans and recipes to begin this re-set. My ultimate aim is to educate my clients in order for them to be able to make these changes themselves and understand how their bodies work to ensure longevity in the lifestyle changes they are investing in.  

A subject that always crops up when talking to other parents is how they are struggling to get their children to eat, sometimes at all; never mind choosing a healthy option. This is something I have come across regularly in my clinic. I have worked with many children, from babies and beyond, helping to deal with chronic colic, intolerances, eczema and allergies to name but a few.

It’s so frustrating trying to get your child to eat. I remember spending MANY hours force feeding my kids smashed avocado and banana, only to have them chuck it on the floor, then being left with no choice but to try a hundred different options just so they would eat something! Usually a packet of Quavers! I sent myself a little more crazy and persevered with the ‘healthy foods’ until they finally accepted them. It has definitely paid off as they all eat really well now, so that’s one epic parent fail I avoided.  

The most effective way, I found, to get the kids to eat was involvement. Plain and simple. We sit down over the weekend and have a chat about what everyone fancies to eat over the coming week. There’s five of us so we all pick a day of the week and choose a dinner. On the weekends we’ll have a ‘treat meal’ on the Saturday – make pizzas or have fajitas – and usually a roast on a Sunday. We also have a wipeable meal planner stuck to the fridge and they write on their choice each week and when it’s their meal day, they help me prepare it. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not like the Vontrapp family and sing and dance our way through meal times, and we definitely have weeks where life happens and everything goes to pot; but with just a little bit of organisation and preparation, maybe we can all be singing and dancing our way through meal times!

Here’s an easy, fun and healthy Sunday morning breakfast recipe to try with your kids….

I have added a brief summary of some of the amazing nutritional benefits each ingredient has!

Maybe you can share with your kids, what all the different foods they are helping you prepare, can do for our bodies?

Happy cooking!


THE Perfect Pancakes

Makes 8 pancakes


 2 ripe bananas, peeledBananas are rich in potassium which is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure and helps strengthen bones – they are natural antacids, and contains slow release sugars to help maintain a balanced blood glucose level

  • 100g quinoa flakesQuinoa is highly regarded as nature’s most complete plant food as it contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fibre, anti-oxidants and phytonutrients – it is also high in protein and naturally gluten free
  • 180ml of nut milk – Almond/coconut etc or milk of your choice – rich in beneficial fats
  • 1 organic eggcontains protein, omega-3 fats, high in vitamins, zinc, magnesium, calcium and dietary cholesterol (good cholesterol)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extractVanilla extract is a powerful anti-oxidant, has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and helps improve mental health
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamonCinnamon is a digestive aid that helps reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes – it is also a first-class antiseptic that can help fight bacteria, viruses and fungal infections – it is rich in anti-oxidants, which gives it a mild analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder while baking powder contains few vitamins and minerals, it still plays a role in maintaining healthy teeth, bones and nails
  • Small pinch of Pink Himalayan salt contains more than 80 minerals including potassium, iron and calcium which aid the bodies natural detoxification process and promote the removal of bacteria
  • 2 tsps organic maple syrupsweeter than sugar so a little goes a long way – it is nutrient rich and full of minerals
  • 1.5-2 tbsp coconut oilhigh in healthy fats medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) – which can help lower risk of heart disease and help with weight management by reducing appetite, boosting metabolism, and increasing activity of fat burning cells


Topping options:

  • 100g mixed berries/spoonful of Greek yoghurt/coconut yoghurt/crushed pistachios/drizzle of maple syrup
  • 2 apples, grated/sprinkling of ground cinnamon/spoonful of toasted flaked almonds



  • Place all ingredients for the pancakes (except oil) in a blender and whizz for around 30 seconds – alternatively, mash bananas with a fork and mix in a jug with remaining ingredients
  • Melt the oil in a large frying pan on a high heat
  • Spoon about 3 tbsp of the batter into the pan and circle about 1cm thick and 8cm wide. Repeat to make more pancakes, depending on the size of the pan
  • Reduce the heat to medium and leave the pancakes to set for round 1 min. When they start to bubble, flip each one over and cook for 1 min on the other side
  • Remove from the pan and repeat with the rest of the batter. Use a little more oil each time until you’ve made 8 pancakes (you do not have to eat them all, they can be kept in the fridge for 2 days, or frozen – pop them in the oven or fry in a pan to reheat)
  • Serve as is, add toppings recommended above or toppings of your choice.



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Sarie Taylor – Coach and mum of two

Sarie Taylor – Coach and mum of two

SUCCESSFUL MUMPRENEUR Sarie TAYLOR, is a parent to a 15 year old with another on the way…


Sarie Taylor is a trained psychotherapist and a coach who works with people across the world with a wide range of issues. Having suffered with severe anxiety for many years herself, Sarie also has personal experience and an understanding of what it feels like to struggle. Sarie will be a regular contributor for BROOD magazine, answering questions, sharing ideas and helping our readers understand more about the principles that eventually helped her transform her anxieties, relationships and business – enabling her to fall in love with life again!

43 year old Sarie is a parent to a 15 year old, Maia, with a another on the way! 


With Maia being a teenager now, what made you decide to go again?

It may sound silly but we have been ‘thinking’ about it for the last 15 years, I am not sure where the time went! On reflection, I know that I always wanted loads of children – being the eldest of five siblings, I had always desired a big family of my own. The reality was that I had one child 15 years ago, and then didn’t have any more until now aged 43. This is a whole other story in itself, but its due to me not trusting myself or feeling capable since suffering with anxiety and depression for many years in my early 20s right through to my 30s, and so I stopped myself from progressing with what my heart desired, as I was scared. Looking back I now know that I didn’t need to be, but I cant  change the past, only look forward and that brought me to being 43 and thinking ‘sod it why not!’

How did Maia react to becoming a big sister?

Maia has been amazing (I know we are biased) but she is always so understanding and full of compassion. There have been some doubts for her creep in naturally, as she has only ever known being an only child and having our full undivided attention, so she probably struggles to imagine at times what it will be like with a new member of the family after all these years! Although I wanted to wait till I was 12 weeks to tell her in case of anything happening, being a teen and not missing a trick it was about 6 hours before she asked me if was I pregnant! I have to be conscious of not putting any pressure on her when the baby arrives, but I am also sure she will be a great help (voluntarily) and I cant wait to see the bond she develops with her baby sister. We have bought her a t-shirt saying big sister which she may have to wear when out on her own with the baby so she doesn’t get mistaken for a mum! (This is not what she wants just yet – no judgment on anyone that does!)

Have you noticed a big different this time around being pregnant over 40?

This pregnancy has been different as I have suffered with HG sickness (again a whole other story) and its been really tough, weight loss, lack of energy and appetite, as well as it being a huge shift in my ability to just perform daily tasks. However, mentally I am so much more chilled and able to take what comes in this pregnancy in my stride. I am not feeling the urge to be in control (which obviously I can’t anyway!). I have only just started to buy things for the baby at 6 months (we have no nursery as yet) I haven’t googled much or read a single book, and as for the birth, what will be will be. This is  a very different outlook for me to how I was 15 years ago with Maia; full of anxiety and the need to be in control. (I believe this was a huge factor on how I was post natal too). I have joked that I am in denial, but in all honesty, I am just pretty relaxed about the whole thing overall. This doesn’t mean I don’t have my moments though! In fact when I found out I was pregnant I was in a state of panic and shock for a few days!

Do you think there’s stigma attached to ladies falling pregnant over 40?

I was torn with this question and so my answer is yes and no – let me explain. I am consistently told (and was from the beginning) that I am classed as high risk  – as I am an older mum. What I am more at risk of is nobody’s business. I am not one to worry too much about what might or might not happen, I am focused mainly on now. Overall I am pretty fit and well. (I have gotten very used to sickness and the weird food issues I have, like no longer being able to eat any meat). This hasn’t always come easily to me though, it’s through years of training and now working as a psychotherapist and coach that has dramatically changed my relationship with anxiety, and therefore my every day experience of life, including pregnancy. Although I don’t dismiss an experts point of view, I let it go in one ear and out of the other; until maybe there comes a time when I do need to pay attention, but I trust my body will make me listen up! I am much more trusting of my body and the wonder of nature in getting me through whatever comes my way. Even with the weight loss and sickness, baby is growing just as she is supposed to because our bodies do what they need to do without us having to interfere. Outside of professionals telling me I am ‘older’ I have had a few comments of ‘you must be mad’ but the majority of people and my friends especially think it’s wonderful and exciting, and they don’t seem to give my age a second thought! Another advantage of being a bit later in life is that I now surround myself with amazing supportive friends, who don’t tend to judge my life choices and support me no matter what. Having said that people do make interesting assumptions, the main one being that myself and my husbands relationship is fairly new, that we’re on our second marriage, when in fact we have been together 23 years! This just makes us laugh and we usually make a comment like we haven’t been lucky enough to find anyone else yet! I honestly believe we have a choice as to whether we are stigmatised or not, hence my and yes and no. There is the potential to feel that there is stigma or that things can be against us, but I am choosing not to take that on and it’s working out well for me so far!

Are you worried about maintaining your successful business now that you are becoming a mum again? 

Not really no. I feel so grateful that I am now in a position where I run my own business and have so much flexibility that it makes my life so much easier. I am not going to lie though, I have worked hard for the last 15 years to get to this place, and it wasn’t always easy (another advantage of being an older mum) but we now find ourselves in a good position. My business will run as usual with the support I already have, and the fact it doesn’t feel like work for me also helps, as I plan to be working after two weeks. I will get the best of both worlds – and again I am very grateful for that. This means that my business will not disappear whilst I navigate becoming a new mum again, but I have so much support and structure to my business now that I can do this for the most part with ease. Again, I am not under any illusions that this will be tough at times, but by showing myself tonnes of compassion and asking for help when I need it, I know I will get through whatever I face.

Any tips for ladies wanting to do it all? Run a business, loving family and tackle personal goals?

We can do it all BUT not with perfection! Once we let go of the idea of perfection and how things should and shouldn’t be, and we are more in flow with what feels right and good for us, things fall into place. The main three things I would consider here are:

Compassion, compassion compassion…

We can not expect to get it all right the first time, we will need to make adjustments and changes as we go, depending on what life throws at us. Changing direction and focus isn’t failure, its growth and progression. During the times when things become challenging and we start with the negative self talk i.e ‘I cant do it’ are the times we need to cut ourselves some slack and show ourselves love and compassion, we need to remember that we are doing our best!

Small steps…

The amount of times I have felt like giving up because getting what I want, the balance in life, has felt impossible – they are the times to keep going! Consistency is key for developing and building a life/business you love. We don’t need to have it all figured out straight away. In fact you might be disappointed if you believe you do, as things rarely turn out how we imagined – often they can be even better! We are not looking to move mountains, we are just looking to start and keep going. Small steps in the right direction can lead to huge changes in your experience of life.

Ask for help and support before you feel completely overwhelmed.

Most people initially come to me when they are in some kind of crisis, which is OK, but we know well before that when we need support from others, although we may resist as we ‘should’ be able to manage. We are not built to be on this planet alone, reach out and ask for help as soon as you recognise you may need it. There is no shame in getting support. I could not have the balance and contentment I have in life at the moment without others; family, business mentors, friends, professional mentors, colleagues and the list goes on. I wouldn’t be without any of them! See support as the water that the seeds need to grow, there is no shame in support, its a necessity!


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Paul ‘Omega’ Olima

Paul ‘Omega’ Olima


Paul Olima


Since embracing his natural comic ability Paul Olima, has gained the attention of over 590k followers, tuning in daily to enjoy his ‘weird shit’ (Paul’s humorous analogy of his original sketch’s) The 34 year old Instagram sensation is a single dad of two daughters – aged 12 and 3 years old. He is sportsman, trainer, author, and actor. All in all, Paul is a successful man of many talents, but life has not been without its challenges and Paul is constantly looking for ways to improve both in terms of personal and emotional development. It is very clear that Paul absolutely adores his girls and revels in his role as a dad. “I feel as though I have no purpose when they’re not around. Even when I go on holiday with my mates, they will go for a week and I will go for three days max. I just get bored after a bit. I want to get home and play with my kids. I just feel like I have something missing, you know.” We sat down with Paul in his London home to discuss the journey that fatherhood has taken him on so far and how he juggles being such a doting dad to his daughters, whilst managing his ever-growing successful career.

What do you is find the hardest part about juggling working and being a father?

“I’m a co-parent with her mum – so I do 50/50. But when I have my daughter, I put everything second to her. I’m lucky that she goes to nursery, Monday to Friday anyway, so that means I have 9-5 to do my work. Even days like today, when it’s my day to pick her up,  I’ve got to get my work done and everything so it can be tiring by the end of the day, but she’s 3 now, nearly 4, so she’s lots of fun so I’m still looking forward to going picking her up.”

So, after you’ve picked your daughter up, as you’re self-employed how do manage the enquiries etc that you may get through once she’s back home with you?

“Well, I’m terrible, because I will put my do not disturb on. And I don’t like accepting work that will impact on my time with her, but obviously sometimes you can’t turn it down. Like last night I had a big job that I really couldn’t say no to, so I got a childminder to look after her – and she’s great – but I wasn’t home until 10pm so I felt like I wasn’t doing my job as a dad because I hadn’t read her a bedtime story. I feel like being a dad is a duty and I hate not doing my duty.
I have a 12-year-old daughter, who I had when I was 22 and I when I split up from her mother, I didn’t do my duties – as she moved to Derby, and I lived in London. I was playing football at the time, and it was a bit of nightmare trying to get up there to spend time with her. I just remember feeling like fourth choice for my daughter, as she was close to her grandparents as well. It was just the most horrible feeling. She lives closer to me now though, which is great! I can have her at weekends or pick her up from school, but as she’s 12 now so she doesn’t always want to come now, as she wants to be with her friends instead!” he laughs. “So, I’m like ok cool but that’s definitely impacted how much time I want to spend with my 3-year-old – as I want to be number 1!” he laughs.
“I know a lot of people don’t feel like they have a lot of time, but 9-5 is a lot of time to do what you need to do – if you’re productive and if they are in Nursery – as I know a lot of people don’t have that. I feel like it’s enough time for me to don my wigs and make weird videos!” we all laugh. I know that I wouldn’t be able to do what I do 100% of the time, if I wasn’t co-parenting. Obviously if she was with me full time it would be a lot harder, as it’s on the days that she’s not with me that I have my down time and I get to replenish.”


“Having a daughter opened my eyes. I never realised how hard females had it!”

Is putting ‘do not disturb on’ hard? Does it ever cause you any anxiety, that you may miss an important email or work opportunity?

“I’m very lucky because now I’m at the stage where I have a team that help me. So, I feel like I’m winning in that respect. Once you get to that stage, those worries aren’t there like they were in the early days of being self-employed. Now I have a management team, VA, PA, social media assistant you know – I have a full team around me, so I can turn off my phone and I know that they will pick stuff up. If are self-employed and you can afford to get assistance, then do. However, even up until around a year ago, when I wasn’t at this stage, I would still try and switch off at certain times. You can always get to a message; I feel like people don’t always need a reply straight away. It’s easier to step back when you’ve not got notifications popping up. Society has gone a bit crazy expecting people to be accessible 24/7. I read a book recently – Carl Newport – Deep Work – and it’s brilliant! It’s about time boxing and how to use your time perfectly. So, like today I’ll be writing my scripts or ‘skits’, and I have to go into my little ‘weird state’ to write them, but then if my phone goes that pulls you out of the ‘weird’ space or rather my creative zone I should say! he laughs. “People presume I’m on social media all the time because of what I do, but I’m not. Most of time I’ll post, then I’ll reply for about half an hour, or so, and then put my phone away. My mates will be like, ‘Did you see that story I did?’ and I’ll be like no!” 

Self-care is obviously very important to you, what do you do to maintain that?

“I listen to classical music in the car to keep myself calm. Upskill myself and just to become a better friend. I’ve just found jujitsu, and I’ll be doing that until the day I die. It makes me feel good about myself, so yes, a lot of what I do in my spare time is all about self-care. I put my children first, then its me. Even if my mum rings me and I’m not in the best mood, I won’t answer. Sometimes you have to go, ‘I’m sorry, I just need a minute to myself.’ You need to think to yourself how are you feeling right now? Are you ready for this conversation?”

What has been the biggest change within yourself that has come from being a parent?

“When I was growing up in Dublin, I was like the only black person the other kids had ever seen and I was always having to fight. It was horrible and so I was really quite an angry person. I really wasn’t a nice person. But then when football brought me to London, things started to change and I had a chance to escape that, but underneath I was still angry. So I’ve always tried to find things to help me and that’s usually been through sport. When I had my first child and she was a girl, I never realised girls had it bad before that. But as soon as I had her, it was like my eyes opened to females and how life was for them. I started to notice things that I’d never noticed before. I remember not long after she was born, I noticed a young girl going through the park on her own and I couldn’t understand what was going on in me as I became really worried about her. Or like if a girl is walking down the street and there’s three builders shouting stuff at her it makes me angry.
It’s like I hate men now you know!” he laughs. “If I’m honest if I would have had a boy, I’m not sure much would have changed in that way. With my first I really wanted a boy, you a know a little bruiser a little ‘mini me’ and I was a bit taken aback that she was a girl but now if ended up with 6 girls I’d be over the moon!”

What does the future look like for you family wise and your career?

“I want 4 more but I want to be married first – so I can be a better Dad. I love watching my girls together, my heart just goes! I’ve just filmed my first acting job actually, which is out this month on ITV2. So, it’s Hollywood next!” he laughs. “I just want to keep creating content and growing on what I’m already doing, you know?”

Do you have any tips for any other single dads out there trying to build their business?

“If you’re a single dad, just try and be steps ahead, it’s not easy but if you’re prepared and organised it really helps.”

Paul Olima
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