I am currently filming an Easter special of Animal Park. It’s great to be back at Longleat Safari Park to catch up with all the amazing animals and wonderful Keepers. I was thrown in at the deep end for my first shoot with a Boa Constrictor. Yes, a long, heavy, south American, (very) large snake. I was relieved to avoid snakes on the last series and to be honest I was hoping not to meet one this time round, but to my surprise, I really liked her. Zeus was very calm and serene and her skin was absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t stop stroking her smooth and waxy scales.
It was my job to help her keeper Jon measure and weigh her as part of a health check. So he handed her to me and I popped on the scales. Remember Britney Spears’ amazing performance of Slave 4 U at the MTV Awards, when she draped a bright yellow Python round her neck? Well I was nothing like that! I was sweating and trembling and trying not to think about the fact that Boa Constrictors like to squeeze their prey until death before consuming it whole. Thankfully Zeus had a full belly and a super chilled energy and I soon calmed down and tried to enjoy the experience. You can find out more about this incredible animal when the show returns to BBC this Easter.
Straight Talking Scarlett
Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson recently opened up about the pressures of being a ‘working mom’. Well, from one Johansson to another, I hear you Sista. It just never seems to get easier. These last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy for me as I have been travelling up and down to London for meetings, across the country to Wiltshire, where we film Animal Park, then back to Edinburgh to film for The One Show. Believe me, I am NOT complaining but I do feel guilty at times. The 32 year old star said “If you’re at work, you feel like you’re missing out on those special moments with your kid. If you’re with your kid, you feel like you’re not giving enough to your job.”
Obviously my schedule is nowhere near as busy as hers and being freelance, I can also have weeks when I have no work at all. But I hate missing out on swimming lessons, football practise, birthday parties and at the same time I am terrified if I miss out on a casting or meeting, most of which, involve me travelling to London from my home in Scotland. Scarlett also said it’s a challenge and a gift, and that’s probably the best way to sum it up. I am so thankful for my very hands on husband and my army of babysitters, school mums and grand parents who step in to help (a lot of the time at short notice). I couldn’t do it without them.
My friend Will and I recently planned to have a casual coffee and a catch up at a venue near where he lives. I turned up expecting a local coffee shop and was extremely impressed when I pulled up at Crossbasket Castle in Blantyre near Glasgow. The stunning 17th century castle has been beautifully transformed into a luxury hotel set in enchanting woodlands with a stretch of river featuring gushing waterfalls. I could not just sit and drink coffee, there was just too much to explore, so I politely asked for a tour and a super friendly member of staff eagerly obliged me. The four storey bridal tower is straight out of a fairy tale with beautifully decorated period style rooms on every level. Think huge four-poster beds, velvet coverings, freestanding bath and chandeliers.
The dining room is just as opulent, surrounded by gold leaf and intriguing antiques. The Albert and Michele Roux restaurant is overseen by the legendary French chefs and is run by an award winning executive head chef. I have an overnight stay with dinner in the diary and I can’t wait to sample the scrumptious food in the most beautiful setting.
I have just finished seven months of treatment to straighten my teeth and I am thrilled with the results. The Practitioners at Dentistry on the Square are known as the rock stars of Dentistry and the award winning south side practise did not disappoint. I’ve always suffered with ‘wonky teeth’; particularly my incisors and my top front two were starting to stick out. I’d had consultations to try and get them fixed before, but the solution always seemed to be fixed retainers which scared me as I did not feel comfortable wearing them on camera.
My fab dentist Jamie suggested we have a fixed retainer on the bottom (which could barely be seen) and a pop in /pop out clear retainer on top. I was nervous about the treatment, as I didn’t want it to affect my speech or look weird on camera. I needn’t have worried, as after a couple of days I barely knew they were there. I quickly got into the routine of removing my upper retainer for eating and cleaning the lower one after every meal. I soon started to notice movement and seven months on I have something I’ve never had my whole life – straight teeth! I’m delighted with my new smile and I am no longer scared of the ‘close up’ shot. Huge thanks to Jamie and the whole team.
The British Academy of Film and Television Awards took place at The Royal Albert Hall at the weekend, and although I was excited to see who walked away with the top acting accolades, I was equally excited to see all the fabulous gowns sashay down the red carpet. I don’t like to dwell on who got it wrong (Emma Stone’s trousers under dress) instead, here are my favourite looks from the night. Thandie Newton was bewitching in a gothic glamour look. I loved Noomi Rapace giving us Marlene Dietrich. Emily Blunt stunned in McQueen and Millie MacKintosh got her old Hollywood look just right. For me, There wasn’t a big show stopper on the night, but we always have the Oscars to look forward too....