celebrity, lifestyle, theatre

Ten Minutes with Jeremy Edwards

With panto season coming to an end for this year, I thought I would try and grab a quick ten minutes with Hollyoaks heart-throb and Holby City star Jeremy Edwards just before he goes on stage.

The actor and television presenter has spent the Christmas period up in the North East, staring as the villainous Gaston alongside Ex-Emerdale actress Roxanne Pallet playing Belle in Blue Genies Entertainments production of Beauty and the Beast.

Being no stranger to Whitley Bay, Jeremy is enjoying his time here, and had the pleasure of spending Christmas day with family ‘I love it up here’ explains Jeremy, ‘My mum is from Whitley Bay so Christmas was spent with aunts, uncles, cousins, and celebrated North East style’.  Asked if he has picked up any of the dialect, ‘I’m saying ‘Aye’ quite a lot Jeremy laughs’.

Jeremy goes on to tell me he is really enjoying his time in panto, and is particularly enjoying his more playful role. ‘I’ve been in panto three times before, but the role of Gaston is completely different from anything I have played before’. The adults amongst the audience will probably have been reminded of Blackadder, through Gastons mannerisms, quirkiness and presence. ‘I used Rick Mayalls Blackadder character, Lord Flashheart as inspiration, with the theatrical voice and sharp moves’.

Jeremy admits that the up to three shows a day can prove very tiring ‘I’ve done films, tv, plays and presenting, but panto is definitely the hardest job. Any panto requires you to use all disciplines, and there’s quite a bit of dancing and vocals in this show, so it’s quite high energy’.

Jeremy didn’t initially intend to get into acting. ‘I actually got my Hollyoaks audition through a friend. Before that I did modelling, I also worked behind the scenes at the BBC, and wanted to be a producer’.

Jeremy is also no stranger to reality tv, enjoying time on ‘Dancing on Ice’ in 2009, the third series of Celebrity Big Brother back in 2005, which he regrettably describes as a  mistake ‘ I didn’t enjoy the experience. It wasn’t really how I expected it to be’. Asked if he would ever take up the opportunity to go into the celebrity jungle, Jeremy reveals he has already turned it down ‘It’s not for me. I just couldn’t eat any bugs’! Jeremy exclaims.

Jeremy is looking forward to spending New Year at home in London with his wife and dog ‘I’m going home tomorrow afternoon. We’ll probably have a meal and some drinks then I’m back up on the 2nd January’.

Asked what 2015 has in store, ‘More hard work, and hopefully more Millie’ Jeremy replies referring to his current role of Dad Mike in the CBBC comedy drama. ‘I’m also off to LA for four months , just to see how it goes out there then hopefully I’ll be moving there later on this year, and I’ll be on The Wright Stuff panel pretty much straight after panto’.

Jeremy can still be seen in Beauty and the Beast and the Whitley Bay Playhouse running until January 4th, 2015

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dance, excercise, general, health, mental health, wellbeing

Getting into fitness

So after spending the last couple of months of 2013 and most of 2014 working ‘on the inside’, after going through challenging times and pretty much ‘loosing’ myself, I decided 2015 was going to be the year I worked on the outside. Having a teenager, a child with autism and a pre-schooler, it’s easy to get lost in a world of challenges faced by each, and forget about yourself. It’s now May and, I haven’t done much to change, except dye my hair ‘Blackcurrant’, updated my wardrobe for summer and got another tat. I want to be slim, toned and healthy. Only problem is I hate gyms, I hate them with a passion.

I joined one after having Jessica, and went most nights for about a month, then made an excuse not to go back. I was way too busy on a night-time, mainly watching tv and eating jaffa cakes.

I’ve hoped that one day I would perhaps jump out of bed one morning with a whole new mindset, a one like that of a health freak, or a gym bore as I call super healthy people. I’m not saying gym bore because I’m nasty, but because I’m jealous. I want to get as excited over a cross trainer as I do over a doughnut.

I’ve hoped I would run downstairs, throw a cucumber, a carrot, some strawberries and some skimmed milk into the blender, throw on some leggings and a t-shirt, drop my youngest off at pre school then go for a run along the beach. I have actually been waiting for that day to happen, convinced one day it will. I’m a realist now, it won’t.

My hubby is into fitness, and has often offered me encouragement. We both started doing the absolutely ridiculous aptly named ‘Insanity’ at the same time about a year ago. He spent 20 minutes in the back room following the instructions of Sean T on a tv screen. I tried to do the same but was literally gasping for breath after just 30 seconds of sprinting on the spot. And then there’s the jumps, which turn into push ups then squats all in a second. This is neither invigorating, enjoyable or pleasant with wobbly bits and little to absolutely no sense of coordination.

I heard about Clubbercise a few weeks ago. The new fitness trend which seems to be taking off rather rapidly and I decided wanted to give it a whirl. It’s still taken me a few weeks to build up the courage to go along to a class, which I decided to do after finding out a friend was going.

I’ll admit, I did almost back out and give it a miss, but I decided to go along with the attitude that if I don’t like it, I’ll not go back. However, I loved it.

What’s not to love about being in a dark room, lit up with disco lights, neon gym wear and glow sticks? I had possibly the best hour in a very long time, dancing along to 90s anthems such as the classic Entrance hit ‘Set you Free’, to the Bruno Mars catchy tune ‘Uptown Funk’, and the best bit, the class wound down with an up tempo version of ‘Man in the Mirror’ as we all sang along whilst stretching. The whole room clapped and cheered as the class came to an end, and I left feeling like I’d been to a party, not a fitness class.

I came home full of energy, went to bed full of energy, woke up full of energy and gave the house a bit of a much-needed blitz whilst my hubby took the kids out. I’ve discovered I’ve never not been able to do a proper class, or do a gym sesh, I’ve just had a serious case of ‘I can’t be arsedness’

It’s monday afternoon now and I’m feeling eager to go along to another class tonight. I want to do as many a week as possible so plan to alternate between the two groups so I’m flying solo tonight, being way braver than usual and going on my own to another class. Wearing my new funky blue trainers to release some dance fix endorphins whilst burning off the cals. And I’ve already prepared the salmon salad for tea.

asd, autsim, parenting, speical needs

What followed Jessicas diagnosis

Three weeks ago, I received Jessicas Autism Assessment report. I’ve spent the time since then just kind of taking it all in and reading it over a few times. It’s 10 pages long, contains quite a lot of information and each time I read it I seem to pick up on something I hadn’t already.

I met up with the Clinical Psychologist and Autism Specialist nurse, who gave me some time to read through the report, which is quite hard to do when in someone elses presence. The pressure!  Obviously there was no pressure, but it’s a bit like being asked to provide a sample on demand during an anti-natal appointment. Your bladder refuses to cooperate, as does my brain sometimes. Some parts were quite upsetting to read, but I wanted to remain composed and deal with any feelings later on my own.

It’s not easy reading that during the school observation, the psychologist found that Jessica would sit next to, but not interact with other children, or that she doesn’t show any emotions other than excitement. Her ADOS assessment also showed that Jessica would only talk about items or topics she was interested in, and didn’t participate in to-and-fro conversation. I already knew all these things, but it’s different seeing them in print.

The report concluded that Jessica demonstrates a range of autistic traits in the areas of language and communication, reciprocal social interaction and stereotyped behaviours, reaching the threshold for a diagnosis of autism. Along with this, Jessica also has a learning disability.

After a few minutes I started to ask questions, after originally having non. After almost four years of reading up on autism, I kind of felt like a pro. I thought I would just thank them for their help and that would be everything done. But I needed to know how her future looks regarding school. I absolutely love her school and feel like I owe the world to the staff, but there is a little bit of me that remains convinced I could be taking her to the school just down the road myself some day. But the learning disability means that Jessica needs a visual timetable to get through a school day, she needs a quieter environment with minimal distractions to concentrate and visual aids to learn. She learns through seeing pictures rather than hearing words. Her needs may always be too high for a mainstream school. But I do mean it when I say I am absolutely fine with that.

I was also interested to know where Jessica falls on the spectrum. I didn’t really get a definitive answer. I think there is a preference not to classify as children can move about on the spectrum. But from what I could gather I think the general feel is pretty much mild, but almost leading into moderate.

The nurse then stared to talk about Jessica growing up and going through adolescence and how I might need help preparing her for change, and different stages of life. I know all kids need help with that, but more than a neuro-typical child. Something I hadn’t really given any thought to. And about how she is going to need to be taught skills which she doesn’t have or will ever come naturally to her. How to hold a conversation. How to act in social situations. What is and isn’t acceptable behaviour in public as opposed to at home. Just everything. Everything we do and our children do and we take for granted. I’ve pretty much got to manually programme my daughter in a sense. But with the help of support, books and any resources I can get my hands on, I can do it. I’ll do whatever I can to make Jessicas life as fulfilled, enriched and absolutely full of friends, as it should be.