LIFE WITH THE BYES: JAMES AND VICTORIA BYE

LIFE WITH THE BYES: JAMES AND VICTORIA BYE

“-WE JUST WANT THEM TO KNOW THAT THEY CAN BE ANYTHING THEY WANT TO BE, BUT THEY HAVE TO WORK HARD FOR IT.”

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
IS GUILT A GIVEN WHEN YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT?

IS GUILT A GIVEN WHEN YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT?

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.

CONFIDENCE

CONFIDENCE

CONFIDENCE Confidence is a preference, as Damon Albon (Blur) once stated. If confidence was indeed something we could choose, would we choose it? I’m not sure that everyone would drink the magic potion even if it was that easy, as I think confidence can be associated...

SALLY LINDSAY: CHILDCARE CAN BE SEEN AS A ‘DIRTY WORD’, BUT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH IT

SALLY LINDSAY: CHILDCARE CAN BE SEEN AS A ‘DIRTY WORD’, BUT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH IT

Interview With Sally Lindsay

by Tom Pitfield & Lolo Stubbs

Sally Lindsay is one of Britain’s best loved actors and presenters, best known for her roles as Shelley Unwin in ITV’S Coronation Street, Lisa Johnson in Sky One’s comedy series Mount Pleasant, and as Kath Agnew in the BBC sitcom Still Open All Hours. As well as Sally’s impressive on screen career, she is also co-founder of the award winning production company – Saffron Cherry – and is responsible for creating and writing a number of hit shows such as Scott and Bailey and Madame Blanc Mysteries. Alongside her accomplished career, Sally is also a loving and dedicated mum of 4; Step Mum to her two step children – Kristabel and Curtis, and Mum to her twin boys – Victor and Louie, aged 12. We were lucky enough to chat to Sally, and we couldn’t wait to find out all about her journey, how she managed to juggle family life alongside such a successful career and what she has learnt along the way!  

Sally Lindsay front cover of Brood Magazine

You’ve had and still have such a successful career, how have you managed to juggle that alongside being a mum?

“Well, I’ve never not had kids really, ever since meeting my partner, Steve; he already had two children when we got together – my step children Kristabel and Curtis – they were 7 and 9 when I first met them, they are now 30 and 29 – which is crazy! And our boys, the twins, Victor and Louie, are 12 years old. 

When I physically had my babies, I couldn’t really work whilst I was pregnant – as no-one really wants to cast pregnant people! So, I didn’t really work for a while, but I did sign for Mount Pleasant when I was pregnant though. They were really good, and waited for me throughout my pregnancy, before they started filming, but then they couldn’t wait any longer, so I physically went back to work when the boys were just four and a half months old. It was very, very hard filming again after having the boys, because I was just exhausted! I didn’t have a night nanny or anything, so it was really tough – in fact the first two years were really tough. I did other things as well as Mount Pleasant, but that was my main job. Although it was hard, it was a very supportive environment and I was allowed to have the twins on set if I wanted to, although that didn’t really work for me. I tried it for the first couple of days and the nanny came along too, but it just devastated me. I just couldn’t focus on my work. I already felt like I had brain fog, because I was so tired, but having them there made it so much harder for me to concentrate, and I had a lead role, so it just didn’t work. I think people have to find their own path and their own way of doing things and for me I have to separate work and kids. I know other actors that can have their children on set and that works for them, but the best piece of advice I would give anyone is that if it doesn’t work for you it’s fine. You have to find what works for you.

Having said that, I’ve just been over to Malta to film Madame Blanc, and the kids came out whilst I was over there. It was lovely, but it was still hard, as even though they’re older, when they arrived it overlapped for four days of my filming, so there were a few days where they were hanging around waiting for me to finish work, and I was very aware of that.” 

What did you find was the best way to help you separate work and the kids?

“Childcare is obviously a massive aid to help you to separate the two, and I think sometimes childcare can be seen as a ‘dirty word’, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with it! We have Lisa; who has been with me since the boys were 9 days old. I was down in London on my own after the boys were born and I needed help, that was when I was introduced to the concept of a doula and they are known as ‘Mother’s Helpers’. At the time I didn’t want someone to look after the children. I wanted someone to help me –  you know around the house etc, and that’s what Lisa did and she is still with me to this day. So, Lisa is like a second mum to the kids, so I can relax knowing they are with someone both they and I are comfortable with. For example last week I had a huge event in town, and then a photoshoot early the next day, and Steve had a recording, so she stayed overnight with the boys, and although it’s very unusual that will happen, (as we normally time everything so that at least one of us is there), it’s very reassuring to have that person that can just take over when things like that do happen. When we’re up in Manchester, it’s my mum that steps in, but when we’re in London it’s Lisa. I think it’s trying to get over the fact that having help with childcare is perfectly ok, or that you’re not a great parent if you hire a nanny. It’s just b*ll*cks, because you need that support!  I’ve got mates with different jobs, who only get to see their kids on Saturday and Sunday morning and that’s it, whereas I don’t have that. I have periods of intense filming, where I’m away and I might only get a chance to fly back for the odd weekend, but then when filming is done, I have lots of time at home with the boys and I can be very present. Then, whilst the boys are at school, I will go into my office and write, and run our production company, but as soon as they are home from school, I’m there for them – although when they get to 12, they start ignoring you anyway, [she laughs] but if they want me I’m there. And that’s how I juggle it.” 

Looking back, has there been a time you have missed out on something career wise because you were a parent?

“Well, I created Scott and Bailey, and it got commissioned the same week that Mount Pleasant got commissioned, which was also the same week that I found out I was pregnant! But because they could wait to start filming for Scott and Bailey, it had to go ahead and so I was taken off the job. Whereas with Mount Pleasant they waited to start filming and they were adamant they wanted me as their lead.  

We’ve also a got a new drama coming up with our production company, and that’s really exciting, but because I already film 10 weeks of the year in Malta for Madame Blanc, I cannot commit to this new job, because it would just mean that I would be away to much – and that is definitely that makes a difference in your career when you become a parent, because I simply cannot be away for that long. So whenever any jobs come in I have to find out where it’s going to be filmed, and for how long, before I can consider it.

But a job came in this last week that meant I would be away for November for 5 weeks, but I could manage that, but I do have to really question how long I’m going to be away each time a job comes up. Steve is extremely supportive of my career, in fact he does all the music on our productions, so it’s in his interest to develop the company too. But we’re at the start of a lot of growth with the production company and I’ve got to start making some decisions and deciding which of the shows I’m going to be in. That is purely down to me being a mum – both from a childcare point of view, and of course, me just not wanting be away that long from my boys. I don’t want to miss out on them growing up, I mean they’ll be adults before I know it!”

A lot of people talk about feeling guilty as a working parent; is that something you have dealt with and if so how have you learned to deal with that?

“When I look back, yes I have worked a lot, but most of the time I think we have gotten the balance right, because on the whole it’s myself and Steve that have brought our children up and I remember everything. We have had so many wonderful times together as a family. I think that’s the thing especially in our types of careers, yes, you do work a lot at times, but you also get chunks of time off. I found that the key really is to use those times wisely, so in a way it’s quality, not so much about quantity. I know everything about my children and I feel very close to them – even now as they approach the teenage years, and yes, of course they missed me whilst I was away, but they are very independent because of it as well and I think that’s a good thing. 

I think when they were babies it was a bit easier for them when I was filming, because they weren’t aware of where I was going or what it meant. The second year I did Mount Pleasant was really hard though, because they were 18 months old, and every time I left for work they would cry and scream for me at the window, and I used to cry all the way to work. I found it really difficult, then in the end Steve videoed them for me, to show me what they were like a minute I had left, and they were just crawling around playing with their toys or having their milk and they were absolutely fine. I remember thinking that’s just survival instincts from a child. They are programmed to cry if they see their Mum, or their caregiver leave. People used to say, ‘Oh, you must feel so guilty!’ and I’d say

Guilty for what? Providing my family with a future? Of course I miss them and that’s hard, but no I don’t feel guilty because I’ve got nothing to feel guilty for!’

Sally Lindsay and her family

Sally Lindsay and her family, for BROOD Magazine ©

Brood Live

Do you have any routines or staples that you do as a family to help to make sure you have that quality family time together?

“We’re really quite conscious when I’m at home about eating together, we always sit down and eat together every single night. If we’re at home, we make sure we all sit round that table! We might only have 20 minutes while they’re eating, but we get to talk to them about their day etc. And we also make sure we go out to eat somewhere every week, as that means we’ve got their attention for at least an hour and a half, and we can properly chat. We also make a big deal of Sundays – I’ll cook and their dad will take them to football in the morning with their Grandad, and then they come back and then we all eat together, so Sunday’s are really important for us. That’s something we’ve always done from day one and I find that really important, and even when I’m away the three of them will eat together and send me pictures. We also like to pick a box set series to watch together. And another thing we do like to do is walk the dog together at weekends, because myself or Steve will just do it during the week, but we all go together at weekends and it’s during that walking time that they ask the most random questions, and there are no phones to distract them, or us so that’s always nice. I always want my boys to be able to talk to us, no matter what they’ve done, or how bad it is, we always want them to know that they can tell us. It’s a funny period as a parent at the minute, as they are growing up there are new things every week that I have to learn to let go of, and as much as they are learning to manage things for themselves, it’s important for them to know that we’re still there whenever they need us.” 

What benefits do you think your children have gained from watching their parents have such successful careers?

“I think that because of our busy lives and the fact they have always been around that, and seen us working, it has given them a level-headedness and independence that I don’t think they would have had if we’d have always been around – hovering over them. I can see that more and more as they are getting older. Don’t get me wrong we’ve done plenty of taxiing for them and taking them to various after school clubs etc, [she laughs] but essentially the boys had to fit into our lives when they came along.”  

What is the one major tip that you would give any other parents who are juggling a career and bringing up their brood?

“Diary syncing is so important if you’re both busy parents. That’s what we do. We have a Friday diary check, where we sit down and forensically go through our diaries for the next week. And it’s surprising because even though we’ve been through it a million times, there is always something that we’ve forgotten. I think if we didn’t do that every week our entire lives would fall apart! [She laughs]”

Brood Magazine
IS GUILT A GIVEN WHEN YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT?

IS GUILT A GIVEN WHEN YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT?

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.

CONFIDENCE

CONFIDENCE

CONFIDENCE Confidence is a preference, as Damon Albon (Blur) once stated. If confidence was indeed something we could choose, would we choose it? I’m not sure that everyone would drink the magic potion even if it was that easy, as I think confidence can be associated...

CATH TYLDESLEY TALKS BROOD LIVE MANCHESTER WITH THE BEAUTIFUL BABY IRIS

CATH TYLDESLEY TALKS BROOD LIVE MANCHESTER WITH THE BEAUTIFUL BABY IRIS

Cath Tyldesley discusses BROOD with Sarie Taylor

CATH TYLDESLEY TALKS BROOD LIVE MANCHESTER WITH THE BEAUTIFUL BABY IRIS

Actress, Writer, Producer, BROOD Food Columnist, mum of two and Guest Speaker Cath Tyldesley talks about our upcoming event BROOD Live

Brood Magazine’s 1st Live Event will be hosted by legendary Hits Radio presenter and Dad of 2 Mike Toolan, with special guest speakers including Masterchef Winner, Award Winning Owner of Wood Restaurants and Dad of Four, Simon Wood; Dragons Den Entrepreneur, Social Media Mogul and Dad of Two, Aaron Branch; Celebrity Chocolatier, Steph’s Packed Lunch Guest Presenter and Dad of One, Oli Dunn; Founder of Worldwide Wellbeing and Physiotherapist and Mum of two Sarie Taylor: Ex Olympian, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Mum of 3 Michelle Griffith Robinson: Entrepreneur, Menagerie Founder and Mum of 2, Karina Javid; Philanthropist and many more to be announced soon…

Includes: Breakfast & Two Course Lunch

  • Gain valuable business knowledge
  • Hear motivational stories from our VIP guest speakers
  • Enhance your social media skills
  • Grow your confidence
  • Learn how to improve your work-life balance
  • Networking with fellow parents in business
  • BROOD Live Workbook
  • Goody Bag
  • Refreshments, Breakfast & Two Course Lunch

Tickets are limited for this fun and innovative event, so book your tickets now. Individual tickets or tables of 8 or 10 are available.

Click here to book your tickets

IS GUILT A GIVEN WHEN YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT?

IS GUILT A GIVEN WHEN YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT?

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.

CONFIDENCE

CONFIDENCE

CONFIDENCE Confidence is a preference, as Damon Albon (Blur) once stated. If confidence was indeed something we could choose, would we choose it? I’m not sure that everyone would drink the magic potion even if it was that easy, as I think confidence can be associated...

IS GUILT A GIVEN WHEN YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT?

IS GUILT A GIVEN WHEN YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT?

Is guilt a given when you are a working parent? 

 

I talk to so many parents about trying to manage the ever changing and ever growing guilt around trying to be all things to all people. It can often be a difficult and challenging juggle when you have a job to do, the house needs sorting and your children need taking care of 24/7. This doesn’t even include contemplating what your individual needs are, and that its important to have time and space for yourselves, whether that be to rest and reset or to spend time socialising and having fun with friends. 

 

It may feel familiar, as so many of us do this, that you put yourself at the bottom of that list, and then may actually find yourself occasionally resenting your life, wishing you could find more hours in a day, and wondering how other people and families seem to manage and have it all! Now when we do make the time and effort to put ourselves first occasionally, this is where it can lead to feeling guilty, as there is always something else we ‘could’ or ‘should’ be doing. I don’t think I have met a parent yet who doesn’t find themselves trying to manage everything as best they can and yet still feel guilty in and amongst everything else, its almost like we can’t win. 

 

A number of years ago I was able to understand guilt and see it for what it really is, and I want to share that with you now as it was a great relief for me. Guilt is a feeling just like any other, and feelings always come from our thinking, not our external circumstances, but our thoughts about our external circumstances. We can often be tricked into thinking that we feel guilt because its an indicator that we need to do better, that we are not enough, and we need to make some changes or improvements. However, guilt comes from our thoughts about ourselves and our situation, so the feelings of guilt come from thoughts such as, I need to do more, I should be spending more time with my kids, I am not on top of my work and so on. 

 

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. When we see thoughts for what they are, thoughts and not facts, we can much more easily let them come and go, creating much more space for thoughts around how amazing we are at managing the juggle even when we lose sight of that. If you can do one thing for yourself today, remember you are only ever doing your best and that is more than good enough! 

 

Brood Live Speakers
IS GUILT A GIVEN WHEN YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT?

IS GUILT A GIVEN WHEN YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT?

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.

CONFIDENCE

CONFIDENCE

CONFIDENCE Confidence is a preference, as Damon Albon (Blur) once stated. If confidence was indeed something we could choose, would we choose it? I’m not sure that everyone would drink the magic potion even if it was that easy, as I think confidence can be associated...

BROOD LIVE Q & A AND TRYING NOT TO LAUGH AT WORK

BROOD LIVE Q & A AND TRYING NOT TO LAUGH AT WORK

Our co-founders Lolo Stubbs Author & Tom Pitfield Photography try to explain when the Early Bird finishes. Filmed by Rob Stubbs. They managed to hold it together for the final version, see below…

IS GUILT A GIVEN WHEN YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT?

IS GUILT A GIVEN WHEN YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT?

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.

CONFIDENCE

CONFIDENCE

CONFIDENCE Confidence is a preference, as Damon Albon (Blur) once stated. If confidence was indeed something we could choose, would we choose it? I’m not sure that everyone would drink the magic potion even if it was that easy, as I think confidence can be associated...