What kind of careers advice did you get as a young woman?
There wasn’t a lot around, the careers advisor at school wasn’t very engaging, and there was a new computer software package that asked lots of questions and then told you what your most suitable career would be based on the answers you gave – mine was dog groomer or aerial fitter, which I found hilarious!
What did you want to be when you left education?
I wanted to be an author from a really young age – more specifically I wanted to be Enid Blyton because I just thought she was the best person in the world. I was in awe of the fact that she had created The Famous Five and Secret Seven enabling me to fulfil my desire for adventure without leaving my room.
Did your mother work?
Yes, she had an office job with a local manufacturing company. I think that was after I’d started pre-school though. My brother (four-years older) and I spent a lot of time at our maternal grandparents during the holidays and occasional weekday evenings – we loved it because they lived in a cottage with a bit of land and surrounded by countryside, and they kept chickens, so I felt like I was in an Enid Blyton book sometimes!
Love & Relationships:
Do you think getting married is important?
I find that a complicated question. I have been married, and it didn’t work out. After the fallout I vowed never to get married again, but a few years later I am engaged and excited about saving and planning a wedding. I’m not sure I think it is important but it feels like a statement that the couple getting married is making to the world and each other.
What did you dream your future partner would be like when you were a little girl?
It’s not really something I consciously thought about. I had crushes on famous people and had daydreams about being whisked away from Double Science in Keanu Reeves’ helicopter, but I didn’t really think about who I would like to settle down with and what they would be like physically or emotiona lly.
Is your relationship with your partner the same as your parents’ relationship?
I don’t think so. I think being brought up in different eras by parents who were also brought up in a different era (usually stricter) I think I have grown-up with a different approach to romantic relationships. However, I know that my parents’ relationship has had its moments similar to my own, which I found surprising. I think my partner and I discuss things more openly than my parents did at our age and stage in the relationship. But my failed marriage has taught me a lot about being open and not withholding worries and thoughts.
How like your mother are you?
I am very like her, and am noticing more and more similarities as I get older. And that’s not a bad thing – she is very open-minded and a lovely human being. I am aware how lucky I am!
What are your hopes for any daughters or young women you know?
I suffer from low self-esteem and depression/anxiety and I wish I had spent my teenage years worrying less about what everyone thought of me – I hope that young women today can put less pressure on themselves to look and be what they perceive to be perfect. It’s difficult to dig away at the self that I have created and find the real me now that I am in my 30s.
Do you bring your son up the same way as your daughter? Do you think boys and girls should be brought up differently?
I don’t have any children yet, but I would hope to treat my son the same as I would treat a daughter. My partner is transgender and struggled against having to wear dresses as a child when all he wanted to do was wear ‘boys’ clothes. I wouldn’t want to place gender-related limits on my children.
If you don’t have children, what have you been able to do that having children would have prevented you doing? What has your focus been?
My first marriage would have been made very complicated if we’d had children, and I would not have been able to spend the years after the divorce figuring out who I am if I’d had such a responsibility. I have had a few years of trying to understand the world from my own perspective and not that of a parent or a person in a monogamous relationship, until meeting my current partner.
Expectations and Dreams:
Who are your heroines and why?
Anyone who is confident enough to embrace their personality and not hide behind a mask they create for the rest of the world.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Told my husband I had to leave, and walking out there and then, despite having no plan or money.
What drives you?
My love for those close to me and a need to be able to help anyone.
What are your values?
Respect. Honesty. Love.
How old are you?
What has been your favourite age to be and why?
16/17 because as tough as the Wilderness Teenage Years are, in hindsight I think you get the best of both worlds – you are sandwiched between childhood and adulthood and there seem to be so many possibilities; so much promise in the world.
Do you think it’s better to be young now than when you were young? (Or better now than when your parents were young?)
I think it was better when I was young, or even when my parents were young. Life seems to be so much more materialistic now, and even when I was a child I was driven by thinking I needed ‘stuff’ to make my life better. But we still played outside and used our imaginations more than I suspect children do now.
What are the pros and cons of being a woman?
Another difficult question. I think women have it slightly easier in some ways due to historically being known as the ‘lesser’ sex. Having breasts can be both a pro and a con, depending on how you feel on any given day, and whether you feel like abusing the gender stereotypes of old.
What have been the biggest challenges in your life?
Trying to make myself understand that I am human – I make choices, some are bad some are good. I need to stop beating myself up about the past and learn from it moving forwards.
Why do you dress the way that you do?
Because it’s comfortable and practical and looks ok, usually.
What would be your musical soundtrack?
Not to be a cliché but ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen.
Do you have a life motto?
It changes daily. Today’s is “Smile, everything will be alright”.