Katy Ashworth "I plan ahead a lot!"
If you have children you will know who Katy Ashworth is, the bubbly TV presenter is best known for being one of Cbeebies’ favourite faces fronting the phenomenally successful show, ‘I Can Cook’ for the channel, as well as being a regular host in the Cbeebies house and fronting live shows across the country.
As a single mum of 3 year old Charlie, Katy is a force to be reckoned with and an inspiration to all of us girls.
She has successfully managed to build her own magnificent brand, performing in her own live shows across the country, while filming snippets for our little ones to enjoy, all the while being a wonderful mummy to her delightful son. I don’t know where she gets her energy from but I know we’d all like to know more about this fantastic lady, so I caught up with her for my first ever celebrity interview.
Katy, you are the mums and dads favourite across the UK and kids of all ages love you, how hard is it to juggle being a single mum and a kids TV legend?
"It is something that I have worked really hard on this year, as I have always been keen to strike a balance between work and motherhood. Last year I worked so much that I believe Charlie suffered as a result, as did my health. I made the decision to massively reduce my work life this year and focus more on my role as a parent, sort stuff out and recover my energy. It has been hard but 100% worth it. I feel so much more in control of myself in both my worlds now.
I've managed to create a really great routine for us, where Charlie is in childcare three days a week, which means I can work on my projects, leaving me completely focused on him on the time we spend together.
I keep work and motherhood really separate as much as I possibly can do. If work feeds in to my private life or I need a break. I never hesitate to lean on Cbeebies for some free time.
I also plan ahead a lot. Sunday nights I sit down with my diary and plan my week for about two hours. I plan activities for my 'mum' days (although this often changes) and I set work goals for my work days ( keeping realistic!) I also do a meal plan.
Its hard to be so self disciplined but this has helped heaps and I'm less stressed as a result which makes me a better mum and a better performer too.
I have decided to only do a big live show once or twice a year with perhaps a few 'one off' shows. The rest of the time I try and take on projects that keep me in my local area so Charlie can stay in his routine as much as possible.
I also find the other thing that makes it all that bit easier for me, is support from friends and family and having the courage to ask for it has made a big difference."
You always seem to have so much energy, what is your secret?
"I don't! I'm a tired working mother just like everyone else out there and I have struggled a lot with exhaustion since becoming a mum. It is getting better though.
I took some advice and realised it is all about balance. So I now have some really quiet and calm hobbies that I do in the evenings like reading, playing the piano or painting. This really helps and fills me up. I also go to bed by ten every week night.
I believe in feeding the spirit to fuel your core energy- I surround myself with positive people, fill myself with positive thoughts and try to take myself away on adventures on my own to keep a sense of my own self.
I like to go surfing, skiing and hiking, and I adore travelling abroad, booking a random Airbnb place and having a unique experience. All these things feed my soul and keep me going.
It's all about balancing, in put and out put, I am really mindful of this. It takes huge amounts of motivation and discipline to do t but the benefits are so noticeable. "
What's the hardest thing about being a single mum?
"Isolation. You know those days where you need to stay at home because they need a home day? Well it can be super isolating and I struggled with that so much earlier this year.
I also find it hard coping with all those sleepless nights and managing the bad behaviour on my own, that is very hard. I have to chat to my friends a lot to manage that. Basically doing everything yourself is exhausting! That's why everything I do to look after my soul is so important. I'm not too proud to admit that I sometimes do fall apart but I think a lot of us do. I always get back up again though. I always will do for Charlie."
What’s your favourite thing about being a mum?
"Watching his little personality naturally evolve- watching him gain confidence in the world and creating his own stories when he is playing.
I love chatting to him now that he can talk. I literally glow with pride and happiness, he makes me so happy."
What are your tip for mummy’s best buys?
"I LOVED my ergo baby carrier. We have travelled abroad a lot and take loads of day trips so I literally could not have done it without this. I'm not a buggy person and this was just easy and effective and great for bonding with my baby. Infact I still use it now!
I also LOVE PlayMobile. Charlie has just started using it after getting a hand me down (from me!) and it is absolutely brilliant for fuelling his imagination. He loves making up stories, which Is one of the biggest things I encourage as a mum."
Charlie is a bit older than Phoenix and Phoenix is already hyper, can you give me any tips about how to keep him happy and burn off his boy energy?
"I really believe that any kind of energy like anger, creativity or just bonkers toddler energy needs to be effectively channelled.
Go outdoors! It's all about nature, it's the best playground. That's my main tact with Charlie this year as he has insane energy levels.
I find that any activity that keeps him confined can be incredibly frustrating for him and in turn stressful for me as his mummy. Nature is free and it's basically a giant playground and our kids can learn so much from it. There's a lot of research about this too and it's super interesting to read.
Imaginary play is great too - both indoors and outdoors. It keeps them mentally engaged;
I've spent a lot of time this year going to groups or looking after Charlie and his friends and literally making up adventures that are lead by the children. You ask them them questions and you just go with them. It does require energy but they get SO much out of it.
We've been on alien adventures at his friends house, we have spent a whole day in a dragon forest riding on dragons backs (tree stumps) and delivering treasure (leaves). It's such a good way to channel their physical and mental energy.
I enjoy doing it so much that I want to share the idea with others so I am launching a new business in April called 'Katy's Adventure Clubs' for 3-7 year olds. I'll be running them in my local area in term time a few days a week. There will be more info on my new website about this which will be live this January."
Wow that's brilliant advice and we look forward to reading more about that in January.
What is the best tip you can give other mums?
"Take time for you. I try to sit and meditate for ten minutes after Charlie has gone to bed, using the 'Headspace App' (it's amazing). Ten minutes is nothing out of your time and the benefits are huge. Again it's a hard one to keep up and takes some disclipline but so worth it if you are stressed and juggling lots of balls which I always am.
One night a week I also get a babysitter and jet off somewhere. I usually have a good chat with a friend then I go out somewhere either to London to see a show or to a gig or a yoga class- whatever.
I have to do something to retain my sense of self, that is so important. I also share with my other friends who are parents- I am honest about any hardships I'm encountering and any struggles I have. It is always a relief to hear that we all struggle through the same things. We can help one another and that is what life is all about. "
You are taking time out from panto this Christmas to spend time with your own pre-schooler, Charlie. What have you got planned?
"It's so magical now that Charlie is really starting to understand Christmas. We have been doing all the traditional stuff together like putting the tree up, writing letters to Father Christmas and making Christmas treats. We have booked a lot of shows to see, as Charlie loves the theatre and I never get to see my friends in Panto. I can't wait for that! I love just watching him experience things and soaking that up it's such a treat. This is goimg to be an amazing Chritsmas!"
What will Charlie be asking Santa for this Christmas?
"He's obsessed with the 'Go Jetters' and 'Paw Patrol' and Thomas the Tank Engine- so something from one of these shows he will definitely be wanting Santa to put under the Christmas tree."
You have some exciting stuff coming up in the new year, what can we look out for and where?
"I'm excited to be launching 'Katy's Adventure Parties' , in January (which includes an exclusive cooking party run by me for a limited time only). There will also be, 'Katy's Adventure Clubs' for 3-7 years olds launching in April.
I've also got my new website going live in late January which will include my blog- yes Sarah I'm joining you! I hope to share my adventures and all games that I do with Charlie with an honest take on my life as a parent as well. I hope in turn I will help other parents out there.
I'm also looking forward to starting a new health programme designed by Rob Verkerk from the 'Alliance For Natural Health' in January to help boost my energy levels and keep me in shape. The programme has been exclusively designed for working mothers, so I am hoping to find other parents to join me on my journey. This feels like a great starting point so who knows where we will go from there!"
Finally, do you have a nice simple recipe we can make with our little ones this Christmas…..
"Charlie and I made the most scrumptious millionaires short bread the other day and he adored the process. I would recommend this recipe from the 'Happy Foodie' which was so delicious.
Cooking with little ones is so much fun, especially if you enjoy cooking too. I thoroughly recommend the Happy Foodie for some great recipes"
So there you have it! The wonderful Katy Ashworth, a bundle of fun and energy. Look out for her exciting blog in 2017 and for Katy's Adventure Club as well as some exciting health programmes and live shows for your little ones to enjoy.