Episodes

  • Rachel Jackson is a jewellery designer whose work I particularly love. We even collaborated with on a necklace design once.  


    She discovered her passion for her career while solo travelling in South America where she made a good friend Ali in Brazil and then spent 2 months living with his mum Cinderela (yes that really was her name!) who taught her how to make jewellery. 6 weeks after she returned to the UK Ali was killed in a plane accident which made Rachel feel how fleeting life is. She then gave up a well-paid job in TV to pursue her dream of designing and selling her own jewellery. She started with a stall in Spitalfields market, earning very little, and worked up to selling to Liberty and Selfiridges. She often collaborates with charities which gives a meaning and a story to each piece of jewellery.


    Rachel has two children, Herbie aged 6 and River aged 10. Her husband took a year out of his job to do the lion's share of the child care when they had their 2nd baby, enabling Rachel to grow the company at a crucial time.  


    Like me, Rachel doesn't really feel she's a baby person but particulalry loves the feeling of being increasingly needed now, as they are getting older. Unlike me, she's an excellent planner and always has plenty of activities sorted out for the weekend. When we spoke, I had a Bank Holiday of nothingness ahead, so I rather envied her good planner trait!


    Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones.


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Natalie Cassidy is familiar to us all from EastEnders where she's been playing Sonia since the age of 10!


    When we met she told me about her love of growing up on a TV set, where age meant nothing and her best friend was June Brown, who was 50 years older than her!


    Natalie is a mum of two daughters, Eliza and Joanie. My heart melted when she described how she and her husband Marc met when Eliza was just three, and he said he'd fallen in love first with Natalie and then when he met Eliza, he fell in love again.


    Natalie's about to turn 41 this week. She already has one podcast 'Off the Telly' which she co-hosts with actress Joanna Page and she's just launched a solo podcast 'Life With Nat' which immediately went to number one in the podcast charts!


    We talked about how grateful we are that we didn't have social media as teenagers and we revisited our teen love of culottes! Also I tried to invite myself on her podcast to talk about teenagers and phones. I have no shame!


    Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones.


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

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  • Bat For Lashes aka Natasha Khan is a singer, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and a mum to a three year old.  


    She has just brought out her 6th album and this one is inspired by the birth of her daughter and is called The Dream of Delphi. 


    She was pregnant in LA during Covid and the album recalls how she reconnected with nature during that time, reflecting the landscape of the city, mountains and the desert. She's now separated from Delphi's Dad but explained they are still best friends and happily co-parent together.


    We spoke about how she felt about becoming a mum later in life and we talked about that special liminal moment when you have just given birth and it dawns on you that you are moving from who you were into who you are going to be - a transformational moment.


    Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones.


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Vicky Gill is the Wardrobe Lead for Strictly Come Dancing, amongst many other things! We first met when I appeared on the show in 2013. She is passionate about merging fashion and performance. I can vouch for the fact that she is supremely talented at making costumes that people can dance in - and her sparkly leotards are still part of my onstage essentials today. But as a mum of three she was also great at sharing glimpses of normal family life with me, which you very much appreciate when you are on the Strictly juggernaut!


    When we spoke, Vicky had just finished Dancing on Ice and was about to start work on the Girls Aloud tour. She is a very busy woman.


    Vicky and her husband are from Newcastle originally but live in London, and as their family support network is far away, she descibes their stiuation as 'us against the world'. She is hoping her children - now in their teens and beyond - don't choose the creative careers which she and her husband have (between you and me, I don't think that's working so far!) but she says she just wants them to feel happy in their skin.  


    Vicky prides herself on being a problem-solver - both in her working life and in her parenting. And sometimes the worlds have collided - as when she was working with Girls Aloud just after her daughter was born, when she found that nappy cream comes in handy for getting boob tape off!


    Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones.



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Michelle Ogundehin is best known as the head judge of Interior Designs Masterclass on BBC 1. It’s a programme I am utterly addicted to, and I was therefore delighted to have been asked to join as a guest judge for semi finals week, this week (TX 23/4/24). I have been a fan of Michelle’s expert eye when it comes to interiors for a long time, having devoured every issue of Elle Decoration published during her time as editor in chief from 2004 to 2017. I love her approach to homes and how they make you feel, always taking into account the link between our environment and how it affects our mental health. 


    Off-screen, Michelle is a devoted single mum to her 10 year old son. She became a mum later in life, after years of trying, and her journey included IVF and four miscarriages. She says her son is the best thing that has ever happened to her. 

    We talked about her worries about becoming a mum due to her own mother not being maternal or loving to her. 


    She told me how she has recently been ‘album-ing’ her life and also that she believes that what surrounds us at home affects us. 

    I finally tested her boundaries when I mischievously suggested she should let her little boy draw on his bedroom walls, just as my mum let me!


    Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones.



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Heather James is best known to us all as the mum of Deborah James, the beautiful bowelbabe, who I interviewed for Spinning Plates 3 years ago. That was the year before her premature death at the age of 40, from bowel cancer.


    Heather explained how she is grieving but working. Not only working in her day job as a gymnastics teacher, but also doing everything that Deborah would have continued with - including campaigning to highlight April as Bowel Cancer Awareness month.


    Deborah spent the last weeks of her life at her mum and dad's house in the summer of 2022 surrounded by her family. Heather and her husband Alistair found themselves looking after Deborah and, to everyone's surprise, hosting Prince William when he came to their garden to make Deborah a Dame. 


    Heather talked about caring for Deborah when she came home to die, but said Deborah's zest for life - and campaigning - meant that far from going quiet, it was a busy time of fun, outings, a book, a rose and of course, a Damehood.


    It struck me that Heather is everything you would hope to be, as a mum in such a dreadful circumstance.  


    She is planning to life life to the full, as Deborah wanted her to. And we spoke, just before her son's wedding where the entire family were planning to party and celebrate just as Deborah would have done if she were still here. And speaking as someone who witnessed her 40th birthday party in full swing, boy, did Deborah know how to party!


    Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Natasha Bedingfield is a New Zealand-UK singer and songwriter who started out in the business at a similar time to me. Another shared link is that we are both currently on a new adventure with songs we brought out originally in our early 20s! How's that for a coincidence? We've each been on an unexpected and exciting journey with our old songs... both because of recent films. The film 'Anyone but You' featured Natasha's 'Unwritten' which originally charted nearly 20 years ago. And my adventure has been because of 'Murder on the Dancefloor' being used to great effect in 'Saltburn'.  


    Natasha talked about her place in her own family's politics, where her brother Daniel was the first to get into the music industry. Natasha had to fight to pursue her music career; in her family's eyes, that 'place' had already been taken by her sibling! (Sidenote: Daniel's debut single 'Gotta Get Thru This' kept Murder off the top spot in the charts 22 years ago - not that I'm holding a grudge or anything, Daniel!)


    Natasha has a little boy who is now 6. When he was 2, he was taken seriously ill with a spontaneous brain abscess He had to have two surgeries and was in hospital for 5 weeks. Thankfully there was a cure and he is fully recovered, but the time he was in hospital was obviously an extremely difficult period for Natasha and her husband. Natasha remembers having to perform a gig while her son was still in hospital. She shared how terribly difficult that was, and how in a room full of small talk she would suddenly blurt out 'My son's in hospital!'.


    On a lighter note (pun intended) Natasha and I talked about how having a baby changed our singing range - for the better! And we agreed that we are both really enjoying the new ride with our old songs from the early 2000s.


    Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Trinny 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.


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Michelle 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.


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Kelly 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.


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Sophie 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


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Amy 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


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Gabby 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


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Alex 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


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Sandra 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


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Julia 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


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Presenter Helen Skelton has been a familiar and much-loved presence on our TV screens since she presented Blue Peter (2008-2013) and then Countryfile.


    Famous for her can-do attitude to life she still has several Guinness World Records under her belt, she’s run a Namibian ultra-marathon (which is 3 marathons back to back), kayaked the entire length of the Amazon, and made it to the finals of Celebrity SAS Who Dares Wins... and Strictly! 


    Helen and her three children now live in Cumbria, near where Helen grew up herself, and they all love the outdoors. 


    I caught up with Helen at her publisher’s office in London on the day her autobiography ‘In My Stride’ was published. It’s a brilliant read and I love how Helen is someone pretty extraordinary but she has such a generous spirit she makes me feel like I might be able to do some of those things, too. Not sure I’m going to test the theory though..!


    Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • This is an extra special bonus episode in partnership with the lovely team at Clarks. 


    Thanks to Clarks, I have brought my mum, Janet Ellis, back for this special shoecentric chat! We talked about the excitement of buying your child’s first pair of shoes, and we happily admit that we very much share the sentimental gene, as we have kept all our children’s ‘firsts’. My mum even has them on display as you go down the stairs to her kitchen. 


    My Ma also shares her memory of a Clark’s badge that she got as a child - I think they should bring those back - they are very sweet!!


    Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Dilly Carter is an expert in decluttering who presents the TV show 'Sort Your LIfe Out' alongside Stacey Solomon. 


    Born in Sri Lanka, she was adopted and then brought up in the UK, and is very positive about the cards she was dealt. However, her childhood home was chaotic, with her parents at work all hours, and when Dilly was 11 her mum was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. During her childhood Dilly found peace when she frequently spent time at a neighbour's more ordered home. It was also at this point that she discovered her love of tidying and organising people's houses.


    Dilly has a 9 year old daughter who also sounds incredibly tidy and organised and she and Dilly operate on a one thing in, one thing out policy in her bedroom, so it never becomes cluttered.


    Following her recent cancer diagnosis, and a subsequent hysterectomy, Dilly is keen to encourage people with busy working lives like her, to prioritise their health. She is also an ambassador for Adoption UK.


    As you will hear, Dilly is a very positive person. I was worried she'd be traumatised by visiting my house which is brimming with objects and knick-knacks, but she was very kind about it. She clearly suspects I have too many clothes - but I haven't let her look in my wardrobe yet!


    Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • 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


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.