Show cover of Spinning Plates with Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Spinning Plates with Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Hello I’m Sophie Ellis-Bextor and this is my new series Spinning Plates where I speak to busy working women, who also happen to be mothers, about how they make it work. I am a singer and have released 7 albums in-between having my 5 sons who are aged between 1 and 16 so I spin a few plates myself. Being a mother can be the most amazing thing.. but it can also be hard to find time for yourself and your own ambitions. I want to be a bit nosy and see how other people balance everything. Join me while I speak to a host of interesting and inspirational women who’ve really made me think - and laugh, and sometimes cry. Welcome to Spinning Plates. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


Episode 80: Sabrina Ghayour
Sabrina Ghayour is a British-Iranian chef who's written several books which adorn my kitchen shelves, about Persian and Middle Eastern food.  She came to the UK with her mum and grandmother in 1979 as a refugee. By the age of ten she was in charge of the family kitchen and after being made redundant from her marketing job aged 35, she stumbled into catering as a career, putting on cookery classes and supper clubs (where strangers pay to come and eat at your house) and she then realised that people (people like me!) wanted to know how to cook Persian food themselves.By her 40s, Sabrina had given up her childhood dream of getting married and having children and was enjoying her single life to the full. But just before Covid she got together with Steven, a divorced father of two boys, now aged 10 and 13. Sabrina and Steven got married a year ago and I loved talking to her about being a stepmother - a role which, let's face it, doesn't get the best press! Although Sabrina says there is no handbook for being a stepmother, I'm pretty sure she could write one. She makes it her top priority to let the boys have pride of place next to their dad on the sofa. She has a warm and teasing relationship with the boys but has also laid down some of her own groundrules, including that they all convene for dinner together, often with Sabrina's mum who also lives in their house.  After our chat Sabrina cooked some of her lovely food for us and I was left wishing that I had to convene for dinner with her too, on a very regular basis!Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, it is produced by Claire Jones and post-production is by Richard Jones Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
84:03 07/11/22
Episode 79: Kimberley Walsh
I so loved meeting up with Kimberley Walsh this month. I was signed to the same label as girls aloud when I started my solo career, so we've known each other for over 20 years. It was great to compare notes on those days, our mutual love of singing around the house, of being mums of multiple boys, and so much more.We met at Kimberley's house, just two days after the Primrose Ball, held to celebrate the life of her band mate and great friend Sarah Harding who died of breast cancer just over a year ago. While Kimberley felt emotionally drained, she was proud that the event had raised enough money to cover Sarah's doctor's research project, which had been Sarah's wish. Kimberley was honest in saying that she is still in a very painful stage of grief. She shared how Sarah's diagnosis came at the same time that Kimberley found out she was pregnant with her third son, and how she couldn't bear to share that news with Sarah for quite a while, knowing that Sarah wouldn't have a chance to become a mum herself. We also talked about Kimberley's childhood in Bradford, how her mum was so hard-working when money was extremely tight and how Kimberley credits her mum with passing on a strong work ethic to her. Her love of performing started back then too and remains a driving force in her life - she has starred in many West End musicals, was on Strictly Come Dancing the year before I was, and is currently enjoying regularly presenting Morning Live from Manchester. I loved hearing about her three boys and her stepdaughter Chloe who she adores and who's just moved in with them while on an internship in London, much to the delight of the boys, dad Justin and Kimberley,Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis Bextor, it is produced by Claire Jones and post-production is by Richard Jones Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
65:16 31/10/22
Episode 78: Dawn O'Porter
Dawn O'Porter is the writer and broadcaster with the sharp bob, vintage clothes and brilliantly witty turn of phrase. We’ve met lots of times over the years and she’s always the best company. She's married to comedian Chris O' Dowd who she met in LA, fifteen years ago. Since then they've shuttled between America and the UK, bringing up their two boys Art and Valentine. She told me how having babies has made her more productive - getting more writing done and having more ideas. And so it seems... Dawn has multiple projects underway: her new book Cat Lady has just been published; she has a new clothes collection out with @joanieclothing, and when we spoke, she'd recently helped put on Flackstock festival in memory of her great friend Caroline Flack who took her own life in 2020. Because her sons were so little at the time that Caroline died, just before the pandemic, Dawn explained she cried in cupboards for months so they wouldn't see her upset. She also talked about losing her mum, aged seven, and how that hit her recently when her own little boy turned seven.Dawn and I had a brilliant conversation where we moaned about some stuff, laughed about others and both concluded it’s good to acknowledge all the good things in life.. and it’s good to wear fabulous secondhand clothes no matter what you’re up to - even if it’s just the school run. Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis Bextor, it is produced by Claire Jones and post-production is by Richard Jones Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
67:28 24/10/22
Episode 77: Mary Berry
Who doesn’t dream of sitting down to tea and cake with Mary Berry? Well luckily, that dream came true for me – and this week I’m asking you to join me. Tea with no sugar for me thanks, because we’ve also got a slice of salted caramel cake to get through too! I visited Mary a couple of weeks ago, at her home in Henley. Her kitchen was a hive of activity, with her Christmas recipes being tried out, from her new book and TV series, Cook and Share. Over tea and cake in the conservatory, Mary talked about growing up in the war years, with sugar and meat rations, and how her mum used to save up their sugar rations in order to make the odd pudding. She told me about her route into TV and the golden advice she was given about smiling and imagining she’s talking to just one person when presenting her shows. I was struck by Mary’s incredible work ethic and her overriding positive attitude to life. This is in spite of and alongside her personal experience of every parent’s living nightmare: losing a child. I was grateful to Mary for sharing her thoughts about what we can do if a friend experiences bereavement – or indeed if we do ourselves.At 87, Mary remains full of enthusiasm for life, work, cooking, teaching – and was even positive about my suggestion of a surname change – one of my zanier daydreams!Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis Bextor, it is produced by Claire Jones and post-production is by Richard Jones. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
58:20 17/10/22
Episode 76: Marawa Ibrahim
I first saw Marawa perform as part of a circus show about 15 years ago. I was mesmerised by her hula hooping and roller skating simultaneously to disco music, and I've been following Marawa on Instagram for years now. Her posts are always fun and uplifting. They are usually of her rollerskating in the sunshine at her home in LA in high-heeled roller skates. She is also a hula hooper extraordinaire. As well as performing all over the world she has broken multiple skate and hoop world records - including spinning 200 hula hoops simultaneously - and is now in the Guinness World Record Hall of Fame. Marawa got pregnant at the beginning of lockdown and enjoyed the accidental privacy that gave her, only posting films of her roller skating with a bump, after her son was born. Now a toddler, her little boy is fascinated by Marawa's roller skates and she recently got his mini Timberland boots made into skates! Marawa has also written a book called The Girl Guide. It's aimed at pre-teen girls, to help them navigate body image, periods, spots and moods - it's kind of fun and serious all the same time - a mix that Marawa carries off beautifully.Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis Bextor, it is produced by Claire Jones and post-production is by Richard Jones. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
70:47 10/10/22
Episode 75: Sarah Beeny
TV presenter and entrepreneur Sarah Beeny feels like the calm, confident, sensible friend we all could turn to when we’re having a wobble. She'd be logical and straightforward and sort us out. Perhaps she feels like this because she’s been on TV for a couple of decades now, guiding people through property projects and helping them to avoid disasters, pulling no punches along the way. Sarah talked to me from her home in Somerset about life in the country with her husband and four boys, and about her philosophy of making decisions and then not regretting them. She also talked about losing her mum when she was ten, and the effect that had on her and her brother. Finally we talked about Sarah’s recent breast cancer diagnosis and how she got her sons to cut her hair when it started to fall out. She is very grateful that her personal prognosis is good, and describes this as a blip! You won’t be surprised to hear that Sarah has a lot of post-blip plans - including a festival at her home in Somerset next year - I've already asked her to book me! Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis Bextor, it is produced by Claire Jones and post-production is by Richard Jones Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
80:07 03/10/22
Episode 74: Olga Fitzroy
Olga Fitzroy is a studio engineer who I really enjoyed working with in my own studio sessions.Since then she’s had a little boy called Lucas and our chat centred on what it’s like as a freelancer when you become pregnant, take maternity leave and then try to come back to work in an industry where women are few and far between, recording session hours are long, and people make assumptions about your working priorities having changed now that you’re a mum. Olga won Recording Engineer of the Year at the MPG Awards in 2016 which was such an accolade. She has also campaigned for shared parental leave for self-employed people, and is passionate about employment rights in a society that she observes still sees parenting as a problem for women to deal with. To find out more, go to our chat Olga has been elected a councillor in Lambeth so she is truly spinning plates now, being a councillor alongside her day job in music studios, alongside being a mum!Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis Bextor, it is produced by Claire Jones and post-production is by Richard Jones Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
60:31 30/09/22
Episode 73: Angel Strawbridge
Angel Strawbridge is the glamorous businesswoman with the amazing red hair who fronts Escape to the Château, now in its 9th series! - which charts her and her husband buying, renovating and decorating a chateau - all while bringing up two little children. I spoke to her on zoom, which made me feel rather jealous, as she sat looking out at the view of their very own moat in the sunshine, while I sat through a thunderstorm in London! We talked about how she’s very dyslexic but loves a spreadsheet; how she works 20 hours a day to get the best of both her working life and her family life, and about how she persuaded her mum and dad to retire to France to live near them, when they first bought their chateau. She also introduced me to the concept of 'guilt presies'.As you will hear, Angel has an infectious enthusiasm for getting stuck into things.  Talking to her made me want to come up with a huge new project and just get stuck in, however outlandish it may be. Warning: she may have the same effect on you.Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis Bextor, it is produced by Claire Jones and post-production is by Richard Jones Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
58:53 30/09/22
Episode 72: Konnie Huq
Konnie Huq is a presenter and writer and a mum of two boys aged 8 and 10. She was also the longest serving female presenter of Blue Peter from 1997 to 2008. The Blue Peter link makes us feel like we are almost related. Like my mum, Konnie loved her time on Blue Peter and time flew because she found every day on the programme was so fun and different. We talked about how she and Charlie Brooker got married within 9 months of getting together, how different her two boys are from one another, and how she finds joy in simple things. Konnie and I talked about her children's books about a character called Cookie Haque (hmm, now who could that be based on?) which she writes in chunks on her phone. We also mused on the high expectations people have of parenting these days, when both of us remember long periods waiting in the car while our parents shopped or did errands. And how unthinkable that would be now, when it's all bathtime and bedtime and fitting around the children instead!Towards the end of our chat we got quite deep and philosophical about the influences in childhood which go on to make the adult. Konnie recognises the little things that her mum taught her as a child that are now very much part of her make up - not wasting food being an important principle which her parents brought with them when they moved to the UK from Bangladesh in the 60s.So, I hope your ears are feeling agile today because Konnie is lively and lovely and has a brain which will take you on some wonderful tangents! Enjoy!Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis Bextor, it is produced by Claire Jones and post-production is by Richard Jones. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
81:59 12/09/22
Episode 71: Frieda Gormley
Frieda Gormley - originally from Ireland and with a background working for Top Shop - set up the flamboyant interior design business 'House of Hackney' with her husband in 2011. They were doing up their house in East London at the time and wanted to get away from the plain white decor of the noughties. They set up what they themselves were looking for - a place to have a bit more fun with wallpaper and fabrics: think flamingos and palm trees and rich colours. I was an early customer, so when Frieda came to my home to record our chat, she saw quite a bit of her wallpaper on our walls - some of it with added grafitti from my youngest son, Mickey. Oops.Frieda talked about how inspirational her grandmother Peg was to the look an feel of House of Hackney. She remembers how starting their own business was extremely tough financially but meant that they could create their own rules, such as using UK-based manufacturers and more recently, giving their hard-working staff a 4-day week.Frieda and her husband Ravvy always loved their annual holiday in Cornwall, but 3 years ago they took the plunge with their two young children and moved there permanently. Frieda told me the intriguing story of the coincidences which led to them buying their new home. The word serendipity comes to mind! She recalls that the move from London to Cornwall was very unpopular with their children to begin with, and that as parents they had to re-examine their motives before pressing ahead. But it has since proved a total hit.Now, where's my calendar? I must book that playdate with her...Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis Bextor, it is produced by Claire Jones and post-production is by Richard Jones. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
67:48 06/09/22
Episode 70: Emilia Sandulescu
Meet someone who literally ran away to join the circus! Emilia Sandulescu is the proud mum of a sweet one year old boy, who everyone calls 'baby Tony'. Originally from Romania, Emily joined the circus temporarily as a dancer, planning to use her wages to fund the rest of her studies at university. But she never went back. Two decades on she now performs acrobatics on horses, alongside - and sometimes balancing on top of! - her husband. He is one of five boys and a ninth generation circus performer. Emilia told me what life in the circus involves and how she loves the friendly, tight knit community. The much longed-for baby Tony is surrounded by adoring adults, melting the tough guy exteriors of his circus uncles and grandfather, and Emilia can't imagine life anywhere else.Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis Bextor, it is produced by Claire Jones and post-production is by Richard Jones. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
73:07 27/06/22
Episode 69: Gemma Kemp
Gemma Kemp is a forensic pathologist and a mum of two little girls. We talked about the juxtaposition of motherhood with a job which is on the one hand fascinating, but on the other hand, unremitting and emotionally demanding. We agreed that the British attitude to dealing with death is generally unhelpful, from the euphemisms used to talk about it, to our inability to face the inevitable. Gemma explained in down-to-earth terms how she performs an autopsy, which she does day in and day out. She explained she feels honoured to be present at this final part of a person’s journey. But she also shared that sometimes these encounters stay with and trouble her - especially when they involve children. Spinning Plates is produced by Claire Jones. Post-production is by Richard Jones.  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
72:06 20/06/22
Episode 68: Karen Elson
Karen Elson is a supermodel and singer-songwriter. We were born in the same year and I’ve admired her from afar for a long time, so it’s great to have got to actually speak to her via zoom at her home in Nashville. Karen has a son and daughter with her ex, The White Stripes frontman Jack White. Karen was born in Manchester but by the age of 16 she was travelling the world as a model. We talk about the treatment of young girls in the industry when she was young, how that’s changing, and about how she’d like to see that change further. She tells me about her love of Nashville and how she strives to be just a normal mum to her kids, after seeing how privileged children she met as a model, were often not happy.  In 2020 she published new autobiography Red Flame, and in lockdown she released an EP called Radio Redhead, in which she sang some of her favourite covers as well as her own songs. A lockdown pastime we also have in common!Spinning Plates is produced by Claire Jones. Post-production is by Richard Jones.  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
59:15 13/06/22
Episode 67: Melissa Hogenboom
Melissa Hogenboom is a Dutch-born science journalist, now working at the BBC. A mother of two, she is also a  documentary-maker and author of a fascinating book (which she astoundingly wrote during her maternity leave) called The Motherhood Complex, which mixes her own personal experience of motherhood with proper science. It’s fascinating, as is the documentary ‘A Mother’s Brain’ which is still on bbc iPlayer now. There’s so much that happens when you become a new parent and Melissa introduced me to the phrase ‘matrescence’ which is the physical, hormonal, emotional and social transition to motherhood. We talked about how your brain changes and improves with motherhood (the opposite of what we’re normally led to believe!) and Melissa also shared one of the most surreal post birth stories I have ever heard - trigger warning for anyone squeamish - the story she tells about being in the shower is NOT for you.Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellils Bextor, produced by Claire Jones, and post-production is by Richard Jones. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
74:47 06/06/22
Episode 66: Stacey Heale
Stacey Heale is a writer and former fashion academic and mum to 2 little girls.  I have followed her on Instagram for a long time. Five years ago her artist musician husband Greg was diagnosed with bowel cancer, on their second child’s first birthday. Stacey and I talked about how she then took voluntary redundancy to spend all the time she could with Greg, how she had to navigate first his illness, and then his death six months ago. She explained how she is now trying to establish life with her daughters -  just the three of them - without Greg.  Somehow Stacey manages to make us both laugh even while talking about such a bleak subject. I can’t wait to read her forthcoming book based on the warts and all truth about death and grieving. I guarantee it will be funnier than it sounds!Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellils Bextor, produced by Claire Jones, and post-production is by Richard Jones. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
87:53 30/05/22
Episode 65: Sophia Webster
Sophia Webster is a sought-after British shoe designer whose business took off like a rocket soon after she left college. We sat at the kitchen table in her colourful house in East London and chatted over a cup of tea. Sophia described how her shoe designs have mirrored her own life, with her adding a bridal range and a children’s shoe range along the way. Also how her husband Bobby became her business partner very early on which means there is no work/life balance in their house - but she wouldn't have it any other way!I was struck both by Sophia’s modesty and drivenness, as well as the perfectionism she brings to her shoe designs. I was also impressed that she makes very little of the painful health issues she’s experienced - endometriosis and post-natal foot problems. Alongside her business, she is mum to three girls (including twins) and stepmum to a 16 year old son. And as we spoke she was heavily pregnant with her fourth child  - so I was extra grateful for this chat at such a busy time in Sophia's life. Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis Bextor,produced by Claire Jones, and post-production is by Richard Jones. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
71:00 23/05/22
Episode 64: Lorraine Kelly
Lorraine Kelly is a hugely-loved TV presenter and phenomenal communicator, and known by everyone in the land simply as ‘Lorraine’.  Well, nearly everybody 😉 We sat down with a cup of tea to talk about what it’s like having a grown up child (Rosie, now in her 20s) and how their relationship has changed and become richer as she’s become an adult. We talked about Lorraine’s modest start in life in the Gorbals in Glasgow and she shared her recipe for staying young: to always be curious and open to new ideas. I am nodding in total agreement! Spinning Plates is produced by Claire JonesPost-production by Richard Jones Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
61:50 16/05/22
Episode 63: Lisa Eldridge
Lisa Eldridge is a make up artist with her own brand, who has also appeared on TV in ‘10 Years Younger - the Challenge’ and in a documentary series which I adored, called ‘Makeup: A Glamorous History’ about the manufacture, use and politics of makeup. She grew up in New Zealand and then Liverpool and was at the top of her career, flying around the world and doing fashion shows and Vogue covers when she became pregnant and had her son. We talked about how Lisa managed to enjoy being a mum to the full, and then reignite her career once her son was a teenager She also told me how her son and stepson are of similar ages and very much like brothers.I share Lisa’s passion for makeup so it was fascinating for me to hear about how her love affair began with her mum’s old Mary Quant collection, how she started collecting her own vintage cosmetics with a box of Biba makeup she bought for a fiver, and has gone on to acquire some incredibly personal items including Audrey Hepburn’s lipstick holder.And of course, no conversation with Lisa would be complete without hearing about the co-star of her you tube videos, Ted the talking cat, who acts as her fashion adviser and stylist!Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis Bextor,produced by Claire Jones, and post-production is by Richard Jones. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
65:31 09/05/22
Episode 62: Claire Richards
Claire Richards - or Claire from Steps as most of us know her - left school at 17 and within 2 months had signed a record deal. So began a hugely successful pop career, with Steps still at the top of their game in this, their 25th anniversary year. They recently finished an arena tour - where I was their support act and experienced for myself what incredible fans they have - almost like a giant, joyful family!We talked about pre-performance nerves, how Claire manages to compartmentalise her work and homelife, and about how working makes her feel she comes home as a better mum to children Charlie and Daisy. We also talked about Claire's relationship with food and how she never wants her children to go through that. Plus we laughed about the ridiculousness of our jobs, with Claire winning on this occasion as she recently had to die on stage every night in War of the Worlds, in front of her husband played by Duncan from Blue dressed as a vicar! Beat that!! Spinning Plates Podcast is Produced by Claire JonesPost-production / engineered and edited by Richard Jones Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
83:33 02/05/22
Episode 61: Jools Oliver
Jools Oliver may be well-known for being married to chef Jamie Oliver but what I wanted to talk to her most about, was being a fellow ‘mum-of-five’. We talked about how we both coped with the eponymous ‘spinning plates’ of raising our children alongside our work, about how we both ended up turning the cameras on our otherwise private families during lockdown, and how we’re always trying to talk ourselves out of having another baby!Alongside her family life, Jools designs the 1970s-inspired Little Bird children’s clothes range which you will see as lot of in our house!During our talk, Jools also shared her painful experience of multiple miscarriages and explained the aftercare support that she believes women going through this should receive.Towards the end of our talk I heard about her close relationship with her wonderful mum. Also the poignant story of her dear dad who suffered a stroke when Jools was seven years old, and of their treasured café visits after school. Spinning Plates Podcast is Produced by Claire JonesPost-production / engineered and edited by Richard Jones Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
61:19 25/04/22
Episode 60: Becky Unthanks
Becky Unthank is a folk musician best known for performing with her elder sister Rachel in The Unthanks. As well as singing and touring, she is also mum to 3 year old Wren who she says she loves hanging out with, like a little buddy. We talked about her childhood which was steeped in folk music from her musical parents to summers spent at folk festivals. She described the frankly sublime-sounding experience of harmonising, especially with her sister. We also talked about the joy of her recent move to the country, as well as her excitement about getting back on the road with her band. I spoke to Becky a couple of months ago when she was just about to run an online version of one of her Northumberland singing weekends. But now, at time of podcast, she is just about to go back on tour (and I’m on the road at the moment, too!) x Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
69:10 14/03/22
Episode 59: Karen Gurney
Dr Karen Gurney is a psychosexologist who has been helping couples overcome sexual problems since 2003. I can see why. She is a reassuring presence and talks in a straightforward way about sex. She is full of wisdom about how to futureproof a long term relationship, as well as how to guide your children, especially as they get into their teens. This is an important chat I feel - as we Brits are famously buttoned up about sex. We talked about how I want to give my children the information and guidance for them to have happy sex lives in the future - and Karen admitted she feels nervous as well as excited about bringing up her own sons with the right messages. We also laughed about how my early attempts at sex education with my eldest son, backfired publicly in the park one day, when he was 4! For more information and resources, Karen recommends (good for teens) and the book Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg for younger kids.  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
76:10 07/03/22
Episode 58: YolanDa Brown
YolanDa Brown is a saxophonist and broadcaster who has a constant, dazzling smile and an air of joy, which I hope comes across during our chat. In our house we know her best for her Cbeebies show YolanDa's Band Jam where she shows children the joys of music through singing, dancing and playing.  Mum to 8 year old Jemima and 2 year old Alelphi, YolanDa talked to me about her two very different experiences of having her girls, and takes her hat off to all other parents who have had babies during the pandemic. When she is able to tour, she likes nothing better than to take her whole family away with her, with the support of her parents.  She talked to me about how teaching herself saxophone as a teenager helped her process her emotions, how she coped when her littlest daughter was born with a cleft soft palate, and her comforting discovery that 'you can only be you'.She has won many awards and incredibly she has TWICE won a MOBO in the Best Jazz Act category. She runs the Drake YolanDa Award to support emerging music artists in the UK. And as if all that wasn't enough, she's also worked with Mr Tumble! Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
70:32 28/02/22
Episode 57: Nina Conti
This week’s guest for Spinning Plates is the wonderful comedian ventriloquist Nina Conti. I’m a huge fan of Nina, having seen her live a few times, so it’s particularly special for me that she agreed to chat. We spoke about her childhood memories of watching her actor father Tom Conti on broadway, the joy of bringing your real personality out on stage, how puppets and the conversations you have with them are good therapy and the relationship her two boys have with Nina’s main comedy companion - Monkey (a very sweary and funny puppet) Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
62:24 21/02/22
Episode 56: Clara Francis
Clara Francis is an actor and businesswoman, who’s recently started her own online dress company 'O Pioneers' with a friend. Happily married to actor Jason Watkins, she has an older daughter, Bessie, and a younger son, Gilbert. On the surface she has the perfect life.But Clara came to speak to me about how she is surviving the death of her child. Her middle child Maud, who was 2 when she died of sepsis, would have been 13 now.This is a difficult listen. It’s emotional, it’s painful, it’s unthinkable. I’m very grateful to Clara for speaking so openly about the taboo subject of the death of a child, and by this story being heard, I hope it will help someone. I also hope it will help me to talk to any bereaved parents in the Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
69:25 14/02/22
Episode 55: Helen Glover
Helen Glover is a two-time gold medal winning rower and a mum to three under threes. She is also the first mother to have qualified for the GB Olympic rowing team. We talked about how lockdown hit when her twins were 6 weeks old and how Helen found herself training at home and then qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.She explained how she found her body was actually stronger after giving birth - a discovery which she has since shared with Olympic coaches so that more women might be channeled into Olympic training post-children. She also talked about her love of being outdoors, which she ofcourse shares with her husband Steve Backshall. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
71:54 07/02/22
Episode 54: Hannah Graf
Hannah Graf is a transgender campaigner and mum to 21 month old Millie. Hannah came out as a trans woman in 2013, while serving in the British army, and met trangender Jake in 2015. When they married in 2018 they became the highest-profile transgender couple in the UK. I recommend watching the excellent Channel 4 documentary about their journey to parenthood 'Our Baby: A Modern Miracle'Hannah spoke to me about her wonderfully supportive parents, her deep feelings of gratitude to the surrogate mum Laura who made parenthood possible for Hannah and Jake, and the joy of watching her little girl's character emerge. We also talked about her love of watching Wales play rugby, but I'm yet to be convinced!  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
72:08 31/01/22
Episode 53: Helena Merriman
Helena Merriman is a radio and podcast producer who discovered she was going deaf when her second child was 4 months old and she realised she wasn't being woken up by him crying in the night. She was working on her podcast Tunnel 29 at the time and found great solace in her work. She now has a BBC Radio 4 series 'Room 5'. It's based on her conversations with other people who have gone into an anonymous consultant's room, where they have received a shock diagnosis which has changed their lives forever.We talked about how pregnancy fast-tracked her otosclerosis, how an operation to improve her hearing left her with extreme tinnitus, and how her children have adapted to her hearing loss. She also shared some tips about living with tinnitus, which will be very welcome in our household where my husband is also adapting to living with tinnitus. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
75:01 24/01/22
Episode 52: Christine McGuinness
Christine McGuinness is a model and TV personality and a mum of three. She has just featured in a TV documentary with husband Paddy, talking about their life with their children, all of whom have been diagnosed with autism. Christine was also diagnosed herself during the making of the documentary. We spoke about her parenting journey so far, and how, during her own tough childhood, her wonderful mum showed her what a strong independent woman is. She also talked about how she has never heard anyone in the public eye talk about autism, and how grateful she is that she and Paddy can fill that gap now and talk publicly about autism. Christine is refreshingly honest and positive: this is a good story about neurodiversity. She also gets my top award for podcast patience as this chat on zoom took quite a while to set up! Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
55:25 17/01/22
Episode 51: Katie Piper
My guest this week is Katie Piper, who is a lovely woman. In itself this a massive achievement, considering her life story and the continuing challenges she has faced, since she was the victim of an acid attack in 2008. We spoke over zoom and I felt I got to know and like her immensely - and I hope you will feel the same. Katie talked about her love of being busy, her work on many things including the Katie Piper Foundation and how writing a book with her mum made her feel guilty for what her mum had been through. She also spoke about how her two little girls cope with seeing her go through various treatments, and how you can use every situation to your advantage, as an opportunity to start again. It's a privilege to begin the new series of Spinning Plates with our conversation and how brilliant to see her charity work has been recognised with her recently awarded OBE.  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
73:09 10/01/22