I’ve been so lucky with work, getting to travel across the UK for shows like Waterloo Road and Cutting It, and more recently flying off to Canada to film police drama The Detail.
While I’m away, technology is the key for me to managing family and business travel - it’s so much easier to keep in touch with WhatsApp, phone calls and Skype.
When I’ve been away working for long periods of time, Skype is great but seeing their faces right there does make you feel a physical absence - having my phone with me means that during any spare time, I can catch up with my family and friends easily.
There are benefits though to being away from the family and having some ‘you time’. For starters, it’s easier to work when you’re away - you have so much more time to be prepared for each day’s shoot. It also allows you to enjoy some much needed downtime. When I was filming in Canada, I checked myself into the hotel spa for a few pamper treatments at the weekend.
Luckily, cast and crew become like a second family. With Cutting It, which I started filming in 2002, the cast were my lifeline. We were all away from home and in the same boat, making the most of our downtime together, so we became great pals - and we still are to this day.
It was a bit different on The Detail. I was the only non-Canadian in the cast, so naturally everyone else went home at the weekends. I’d have these weekdays of being manically busy and then Saturday morning I would wake up in the hotel room wondering what to do - luckily I enjoy my own time and made the most of the downtime by indulging myself and exploring the local area.
Weekends alone did make me miss home a little bit though. That’s why whenever I’m filming in London, I always invite cast and crew, who are away from their families, to my house at the weekend. Those moments of downtime can be lonely when travelling for work, so I’m all for embracing colleagues and helping them feel part of something.
I’m a real explorer and love to get to know the places I’m filming in. If I’m in a new place, the first thing I generally do is ask concierge for their top tips or hop on a bus tour city - I’ve even done it in London. I want to get my bearings and get the geography of the area so that at least I feel like I’ve experienced it. I like to make the most of every situation!
I always try and make wherever I am feel a bit like home. I get a photo made up of my hubby and the kids. My speakers and headphones come everywhere with me as well so I can listen to my favourite tunes. I’m a real Cancerian, so I’ve always got a cushion or throw on hand to make my room feel homely and cosy!
Most importantly, I love my work so I never feel guilty about going off and doing it. Balance is key and I don’t believe in guilt, especially when you’re doing something for your family. I’m lucky I love my job, but I won’t feel bad about it.
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