Spinning Plates with Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Episode 109: Charlotte Hawkins
Charlotte Hawkins presents Good Morning Britain where she proudly helps set the news agenda for the day and quizzes the people in power on the TV viewer's behalf. She also has a lifelong love of music and presents a show on Classic FM.
Charlotte talked about how she and her husband tried without success to have a baby and were just about to set off down the IVF route when Charlotte unexpectedly became pregnant. She also spoke about how she lost her beloved Dad to motor neurone disease, just a month before her daughter was born, but that her daughter still has a bond with Grandad Frank, who gives her a Christmas present each year, as Charlotte knows exactly what he would have chosen.
Charlotte's daughter Ella Rose is now 8 and she also tried out the TV presenter role this summer when she interviewed her idol George Ezra. She did it so well that it made me want to see lots more children putting adults in the hot seat - especially politicians.
Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
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121. Episode 121: Trinny Woodall01:09:27Trinny Woodall is the CEO of the beauty brand Trinny London - she's an entrepreneur, businesswoman and author. She became a household name in the late 90s when she teamed up with Susannah Constantine to present the TV makeover show What Not to Wear. Last year she published her book Fearless about how to find your style and boost your confidence. She has a 20 year old daughter Lyla, who she describes as joyful, and she told me how, without her own roadmap to motherhood, she found a way to bring Lyla up, with the help of a wonderful woman called Jenny, We had an honest and fascinating talk in the attic room of her home in West London, which doubles as an office and a dressing room, full of colourful clothes. Trinny has just celebrated her 60th birthday and is as vibrant and fun as you could hope for. We sat there together, in our pyjamas, just after she'd shown me her microneedling tool, and I really understand why people open up to her and tell her their innermost secrets! Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones.
120. Episode 120: Michelle Kennedy01:14:05Michelle Kennedy is a tech entrepreneur and businesswoman. She is CEO of Peanut App, and mum to two young children, Finlay and Nuala.Michelle started her working life as a corporate lawyer and became interested in tech when she worked for Badoo and then Bumble. She set up Peanut after she gave birth to her first child and felt lonely and isolated. Peanut is an online community for women, as Michelle says, at 'seismic stages' of their life including fertility, pregnancy, motherhood and menopause. It's a place where women can come and speak honestly with other women going through the same stage of life as them, and she feels it acts as a social barometer of which issues are important to women.I certainly wish it had been around when I had my first baby. And I look forward to watching Michelle's plans unfold for creating a space for young girls to talk about their challenges in their teen years... Little me could have done with that too!Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones.
119. Episode 119: Kelly Hoppen52:13Kelly Hoppen is an interior designer who is renowned for working with big celebrity names and is known for her signature neutral palette.Kelly started her business aged 16 and a half, just afer her father died unexpectedly, and she told me that the feeling she wants to create for her clients is the one she had from her grandmother's home where she remembers learning to crochet and having tea.Kelly has spoken openly about being dyslexic. When we met at her office, just before Christmas, she described how music is a massive component in her design process, and that she will often ask a client which song would sum up the look of the room they want her to create for them.Kelly had her daughter Natasha when she was 23, and became stepmother to Sienna and Savannah Miller when they were teenagers, and the three girls ended up going to boarding school together. She says being a stepmum to Sienna and Savannah is one of the greatest achievements of her life.Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones.
118. Episode 118: Sophie Darlington01:15:20Sophie Darlington is a wildlife cinematographer for shows such as David Attenborough's 'Planet Earth'. She regularly gets up way before dawn in places such as Sri Lanka or East Africa, and sits for over 12 hours a day watching the animal she’s filming, often for weeks at a time. She says it’s the best job in the world but you come back 'rinsed'. When her son Louis came along 23 years ago, Sophie had to take a break from her cinematography work for several years, but she returned when Louis was 4 and a half and even took him to live with her in the Serengeti for a year, while she worked. She also has an 11 year old step daughter now, who she says is 'so cool'.She is passionate about nature, and she is worried about the effect of climate change on the natural world, having observed worrying trends over the past decades during her cinematography projects.Sophie says it takes a certain mindset to want to sit for 10 hours in 36 degree heat in a metre by metre hide, or 30 metres up a tree. She also says that when she comes back from filming she can't cross a road for a while as she's so unused to city life. Sophie says her purpose is to 'make people give a damn'. And it's definitely worked on me.Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
7. Episode 117: Amy Hart01:00:46Amy Hart is a social media influencer, former reality TV star and podcast presenter. She appeared in Love Island in 2019 (Richard and I are avid viewers!) and she now has an adorable little baby called Stanley.Amy is the only Love Island contestant to have appeared on Question Time and she is a big food bank supporter.Amy worked as cabin crew before she joined Love Island, which I imagined would prepare her for sleep-deprived motherhood...except Stanley is a very good baby and sleeps through the night!We talked about how supportive her parents are as grandparents to Stanley. We also discussed how Amy had frozen her eggs prior to meeting her partner, and how she plans to donate those eggs to people stuggling to conceive.Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
116. Episode 116: Gabby Logan01:23:52Gabby Logan is best known as a BBC sports presenter but has also turned her hand to stand up comedy for Sports Relief (2012), to writing her memoir called The First Half, and to ice baths on Freeze Your Fear (2022). She hosts an excellent podcast called Mid-Life in which she, a guest and an expert explore how to navigate the mysterious territory of middle age.She has 18 year old twins and is married to retired Scottish rugby union player Kenny Logan. I spoke to Gabby a few months after her son Reuben had left the nest, with her daughter Lois following suit in a year, and she told me how the house is starting to feel too big.We talked about her brother Daniel's sudden death in 1992 when he was 15, and Gabby was 19 - and how she and her family were - and still are - impacted by this tragedy. But Gabby has a core of positivity and stressed that people can go on to have a good life even when something so terrible happens.Gabby represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games in 1990 as a rhythmic gymnast, which Gabby so perfectly described as: where sport meets showbiz. The brightly-coloured leotards she wore were not a million miles from what I wear on stage now - but she wasn't too impressed by my opening bid to buy them as a job lot. I'll keep working on her!Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
115. Episode 115: Alex Head01:04:41Alex Head is the founder of Social Pantry which runs food events with the wow factor, as well as a restaruant, and a cafe. I first met Alex this Summer where she was rustling up a banquet twice a day, in a tent at Latitude Festval. Two of the banquets featured food from 'Love, Food, Family' and Richard and I had the much easier job of meeting and greeting everybody there.Alex got into catering aged 16 when she was expelled from school in Saudi, just before her GCSEs. As she says, she was quite naughty. But she ended up setting up a sandwich-making business to keep herself busy.Fast forward a few decades and Alex now runs Social Pantry which she describes as a non-shouty and nurturing catering environment where she often employs ex-offenders, to help them create a new life for themselves outside of prison.Alex and her husband George had a daughter Roxy, aged 3, who was born just before the pandemic, and they now have a one year old son Eddie.Alex spoke to me about Eddie's diagnosis of Down's Syndrome while she was pregnant, and how she and George made the decision to continue with the pregnancy, and what a gorgeous, smiley boy Eddie is. This I can vouch for, as I love to see Alex's happy Instagram posts showing Eddie beaming, at the centre of his family. Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
114. Episode 114: Sandra Igwe01:10:07Sandra Igwe decided to turn a painful experience into purpose. When we spoke recently she told me about some of her difficult experiences both during childbirth and afterwards.These led her to become the founder of The Motherhood Group which supports the Black maternal experience. Sandra has also written My Black Motherhood which demands that Black women are listened to, believed and understood by healthcare professionals.We spoke about Sandra’s two daughters Zoe and Chloe, and the legacy Sandra hopes her work will leave, for when they come to have children. We also talked about her forthcoming third child. I got a bit over-excited about Sandra’s search for a name for that will rhyme with theirs, as I realised ‘Sophie’ is a near rhyme. Sandra kindly said she’ll let me know!Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
113. Episode 113: Julia Bradbury01:15:09Julia Bradbury is a TV presenter and an author with a passion for the outdoors. She has a 12 year old son, and 8 year old twin daughters who she had through IVF. Her motto to them is: 'Be good, be strong, be kind'.We met at Julia's London West London home and talked about how in 2021, she and her husband had the nightmare task of breaking the news of her breast cancer diagnosis to their children. She also mentioned how 'Fruitfly Collective' and 'Maggie's Centres' can support all sorts of people at these difficult times. She is thankfully now in remission: working back in TV and writing, but making sure she puts her health first.Julia talked to me about how she feels we're all suffering an indoor epidemic at the moment and how she is doing all she can to live in a healthy way. She shares a lot of those thoughts in the book she has just published called 'Walk Yourself Happy', which reflects her belief in health through nature. Even in London, she manages to have her nature fix first thing every morning by sitting on her (very safe) windowsill and getting the morning light as soon as she wakes up. She then takes further 'nature snacks' through the day.I left Julia feeling full of positivity and good intentions, vowing never to eat sugary cereal ever again! It remains to be seen whether I manage to change my ways...Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones