Help! Why is that word sometimes so hard to say?


Golden Globes pic

Pic: @IrelandAMTV3

The above picture is what people saw on their TVs this morning if they were watching “Ireland AM”.

It looks like things are all under control, just as we are about to go to air.

What no-one sees (or hears) is what’s going on behind the scenes.

Behind the scenes, in the lead up to this segment (which I love doing), was mental. None of that had to do with the professional sides of things, it was that way because of my personal life.

This morning, as well as trying to juggle getting myself ready and organised to talk about one of my favourite Golden Globes ceremony in a long time, I also had to wake the kids early, get them fed, dressed, and make a school lunch.

I am not good at asking for help. But on Friday, I decided that help is what I would need if I am going to be able to get any work done this week and also be there for my kids. You see, my husband is away for work at the moment so it is just me looking after them.

During working hours, it is fine, because I have the most incredible crèche that helps us mind our children and the kids love being there. The problem is what to do when the crèche isn’t available. That’s where asking for help has to come into the plan.

I am getting better at asking friends/family for help – and they are incredible at coming through with the support (taking my two when I work on a Saturday) but when it comes to colleagues I am not so good.

I realised that part of the reason I wasn’t so good was that for such a long time, I would never acknowledge, in the work place, that I had kids. I would almost apologise to those around me for having kids.

What was that all about? My work place never asked me to do that, yet I acted like they were my dirty little secret. I was afraid that if I spoke about my kids, people would deem me as not being committed to my job. I would be passed over for jobs. The day I realised that, I was so upset at my carry on.

My being a mum isn’t something to be ashamed about. It doesn’t lessen my worth or make me more worthy. My kids are little people I am so proud of.

Since that stark realisation, I have vowed to never again apologise for being a mum. I have vowed to ask for help (that one is a work in progress). I have vowed to make the work place a better place for all females. I have vowed to help us smash through those glass ceilings. We can have it all – whatever our individual “all” is.

So back to today. Instead of hiding the fact that I have a responsibility to my kids, I told the amazing Katriona (“Ireland AM” producer) of my predicament. I thought her response would be, “well you stay with the kids and I’ll find someone else”. But no. Katrina’s response was “Bring them in and I’ll mind them while you’re on air”.

Immediately I felt my load lighten and also felt that my contribution in the work place was worthy. I am worthy. My kids are worthy.

True to her word, this morning, Katriona came down from her very busy office and minded my kids while I was on air.

Before I went on air, the beauty magician that is Michelle, did my hair and make up while my one year old was on my lap and my six year old was admiring herself in the other make up chair and she never made me feel like a burden.

While on air I was able to do my job, and enjoy it, because I knew I had colleagues that have my back.

Many people will say this is an unfair situation to put my colleagues and my kids in but this is not not the norm. It’s an extraordinary situation.

While I don’t expect work to fix my personal life, I think in this day and age it is time for the work place to be more flexible. Flexible to all of its workers’ needs – not just parents’. We all have personal needs/wants that sometimes overlap into our professional life, and flexibility in the workplace would give us all a dig out and make for a happier place and workforce.

It’s also time for us to ask for help and to have each other’s backs because as we have seen, it is in fact our small actions that can lead to massive change.

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My Best Nine of 2017

One of the reasons I love my job is that I get to talk to so many different and interesting people.

This year I have had the privilege of talking to over 150 people. They have shared their stories with me, we have had some laughs and there have also been some fabulous words of wisdom.

It was hard to pick a top nine, but here are some of my favourite movie interviews of 2017 (in chronological order).

Ruby Rose
In January, I spoke to Ruby Rose about her role in the high action film “xXx: Return of Xander Cage”.

We also spoke about the thrill of doing her own stunts, dealing with years of unemployment and turning luck into success.

Annette Bening
In February, Annette Bening spoke to me about her fabulous  film “20th Century Women”, reflected on her career to date and told me why at times she feels like running off set when the Director calls, “Action”.

Patrick Stewart
One of the coolest moments of my career was getting to chat to the legend that is, Patrick Stewart (March).

We spoke about his new film “Logan”, why he uses his voice for good, his most asked fan question, why he’s thankful to Seth McFarlane and Rocky Gervais and what it’s like being a poo.

Jessica Chastain
In May, I got to sit down with Jessica Chastain to talk about her outstanding performance in the political drama, “Miss Sloane”.

Jessica shared how she gives such a flawless performance when there are so many lines to memorise; whether or not Hollywood has lived up to her expectations; how she is creating opportunities for more women to work in film; and how her self belief helped her live her dream.

Zac Efron & Alexandra Daddario
“Baywatch” made a return to the big screen in June. This time two of the actors getting to put on the swimsuits and do the iconic slow motion run were Zac Efron (Brody) and Alexandra Daddario (Summer).

I got to sit down with Zac and Alexandra and find out what it’s like to be a “Baywatch Babe”, how they deal with hanger, why it’s impossible to make the 20kg airline luggage limit, and why they’re both excited about where each other’s film careers are going.

Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez & Jon Hamm
Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez and Jon Hamm are the “bad guys”, in Edgar Wright’s fabulous fun, original, action/heist/musical film, “Baby Driver.”

In June I got to chat to them about the film, getting through auditions and their ‘hex’ songs.

Taika Waititi
My chat with Taika, in October, has to go down as one of my most memorable ones yet.

It was a free for all where he shared what he thought of those who complain about free press trips, directing movie stars and not changing for Hollywood

Brendan Gleeson
I will never tire of talking to Brendan Gleeson. He always has something interesting to share and a great laugh.

Usually we are talking about adult films like “Calvary”, “Live By Night” and “Hampstead”. But not in November. That time we spoke about “Paddington 2”! Why he loved being a part of it, who has had the biggest impact on his life, why he would do anything for the Coen Brothers and what it was like working with his sons.

Henry Cavill & Gal Gadot
Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) and Henry Cavill (Superman) are two of the nicest movie stars/super heroes I have ever met.

I caught up with them in November to find out how they feel about being a part of the “Justice League”, how they deal with hanger and who they call their Superhero.

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Interview: Rebel Wilson (“Pitch Perfect 3”)

Rebel Wilson is back for “Pitch Perfect 3”.

I have loved her since I first saw her in the Aussie TV show, “Fat Pizza”, so I was thrilled when I found out I was getting the chance to chat to her.

Rebel shared how she was the first ever person cast in the franchise, how she created opportunities for herself after agents refused to represent her, and why she took on the Australia Press – in particular Bauer Media, for printing lies about her.

“Pitch Perfect 3” is in Irish cinemas on Friday.


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Interview: Kelly Marie Tran (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”)

Kelly Marie Tran’s enthusiasm is infectious. It’s great to talk to someone who is totally in love with what they do and appreciating and being in every moment!

We spoke about being a Hogwarts girl, falling in love with the Star Wars universe, why she calls herself Hannah Montana and the invaluable advice she received from the late, great, Carrie Fisher.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is in cinemas now.

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Interview: Adam Driver (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”)

Adam Driver is back as Kylo Ren in the latest Star Wars film, “The Last Jedi”. I caught up with him to chat about the global impact of Star Wars, his initial fears when taking on the role and the power of his costume and the light sabre.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is out in cinemas tomorrow.


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Review: “Brigsby Bear”

“Brigsby Bear Adventures” is James’(Kyle Mooney) favourite TV show, unbeknownst to him, made for his eyes only. When the adventures come to a sudden end, James life is forever changed. How will he let go of Brigsby and connect to his new life? Can Brigsby, and James’ quest to see how Brigsby’s adventure ends, be the tool that brings everything in his life together?

The start of the theme tune to the fictional TV series “Brigsby Bear Adventure” is the perfect summation of this wonderful film. “There’s magic and wonders and mysteries in store. A hero whose mission is to learn and explore. He’s daring and caring and oh so much more. It’s Brigsby Bear.”

“Brigsby Bear” is such a wonderful heart warming film. It is an adventure in film making, creativity, embracing your passion and being you. Differences can often scare people, but it is these differences which make the world an interesting place and often enrich other people’s lives.

In what has been a lacklustre year at the cinema, it is films like “Brigsby Bear” that remind us what a wonderful place the world of cinema can be. When you let creativity and originality reign supreme – a thing of beauty can arise.

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Christmas Card Cheer

I love Christmas for so many reasons. One reason is because at this time of the year my post box is usually filled with letters/cards rather than bills. Well, that used to be the case. Over the past few years, the amount of Christmas cards I receive has seriously declined.

Usually by the 5th of December, there’s at least a dozen cards hanging in my place. This year, there’s only one. This isn’t unusual as many people have stopped sending cards, preferring to send emails or texts.

To a lot of people it doesn’t make sense to send something that could take up to two weeks for someone to receive (if sending internationally), when a digital message can be received instantaneously.

The thing is, while the intentions behind the digital message is the same as the written one, it doesn’t feel as special.

There is something intimate about seeing someone’s handwriting and knowing that they have gone out of their to send you a card. It’s not just opening a laptop or picking up a phone. That person had to go out and buy (or make) the card, write it, get stamps, and then find a post box in which to send it. This seems like a lot of effort for a little message. But it is that effort, and the knowledge that someone is thinking about you, that makes it so very special. It feels like a gift in itself.

Many people say that cards are  old fashioned and sentimental but if you can’t get sentimental and traditional at Christmas time when can you? Isn’t that, along with goodwill and spreading the love, what Christmas is all about?

I don’t base my Christmas card list on who sends me one. It’s who do I want to send one to? A Christmas card, to me, is a way to tell people how much they mean to me, thank them for being a part of my life, and send them my best wishes for a great festive season and beyond.

So this Christmas, why not get back into the art of letter writing and surprise some of your nearest and dearest with your handwritten message?

The last posting dates, in Ireland, to ensure that your cards get to their destination in time for Christmas are:

07th December – International Post (excluding the US)
12th December – USA
18th December – Europe & Great Britain
19th December – Northern Ireland
20th December – Ireland

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