Widowed Mum

Fifty Shades of Motherhood



  • Widowed Mum

“You need to give your children a chance to say goodbye.” TV actress and founder of the Happy Me Project Holly Matthews joins Carla this week to bravely discuss losing her husband to cancer and becoming a single mum to two young children. 

Here are Holly’s Social Links:





Carla: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to 50 shades of motherhood uncensored unhinged and unapologetic motherhood chats around the highs, the lows, the struggles. Everything really.

[00:00:35] Today I am joined by the lovely Holly Matthews who will be sharing her honest journey and struggles of becoming a single mum to her two daughters after losing her husband Ross to cancer, just short of three years ago.

[00:01:12] Today on 50 shades of motherhood, we have the lovely Holly Matthews as our special guests. Hello, Holly. 

Holly: [00:01:21] Hello, thank you so much for having me. 

Carla: [00:01:22] Oh, we’re very excited to talk to you about your motherhood journey. So tell us a little bit about you for people that might not know who you are Holly.

Holly: [00:01:32] Of course. And I’m sure there’s plenty of your listeners who don’t.  So my, my background is that. Um, I was a TV actress for many, many years. So I started as a TV actress when I was just 11. And when I tell people that I started work at 11 and I’m from Newcastle, I think they think I was like sent down the pits or something.

[00:01:49] What were are you at 11 for goodness sake. But I did. I started an actual job at 11 years old. And I was always very much in my early, really up until becoming a mum and still into motherhood as well. But I was completely immersed in the entertainment industry and was on various different TV, shows all over the UK and was also signed to Sony for a while. So I released a single, I did Top of the Pops and MTV and was trying to be a pop star for a little bit. And who I thought it was, to be honest.

[00:02:20]Carla: [00:02:20] Oh God, you know, sorry, that reminds me. That reminds me of me being in my memory when I was about 11 and just thinking I was Britney Spears, but honestly, I was a terrible singer actually, but yes. 

 Holly: [00:02:30] No, I’m not going to be told that I’m not Jennifer Lopez because she’s my spirit animal. And. Uh, yeah. At 26 I became a mum for the first time. 

Carla: [00:02:41] Sorry, Holly, did you plan for your, um, for your children, or was it just, was it planned?

Holly: [00:02:47] No. It was, it was kind of not caring, my husband and I, when we met, we were, we kind of had a bit of a whirlwind romance in that we met and I was living in London. He was from Coventry and me being from Newcastle myself. So I’ve, I’ve got around a bit, you know? 

 Carla: [00:03:05] Yeah. Yeah. Haven’t we all?

Holly: [00:03:08] I’ve traveled the length of the country. Because, yeah, I was with somebody else when I met him, it was obviously a dying relationship. And, um, we met on I’ve. It was a very, you know, very real experience of meeting somebody and just connecting on a different level. And within, within days of meeting him, I’d left London and went to Coventry.

[00:03:31] Didn’t tell a single person. Got the mega bus to Coventry, didn’t even drive to see whether, how we, how I felt was like nonsense or. Whether it was actually something real and got there and just didn’t really come back pretty much. Like that’s just how it happened then. 

Carla: [00:03:47] So where did you meet him then?

Holly: [00:03:49] So yeah. So we, me and Ross met on a job for Pimms. So we were, we were both booked on this job. Ross had just a couple about a month before decided that he wanted to do promotional type modeling. And the reason he did was because someone recommended him to it. He got there for this sort of meeting with an agency and he saw all the fit girls around.

[00:04:13] And was like, I just need to be in whatever, this is so he was like, can you just register me on this agency? Because it looks like there’s loads of fit girls here. 

Carla: [00:04:21] That is such a clever idea. 

Holly: [00:04:24] Yeah. I’ve got to be honest. He was very well known in Coventry with women. 

 Carla: [00:04:31] Oh, really? 

Holly: [00:04:33] Very well known.  In fact, every woman that I met when I came to Coventry, the first time was like. So you’re going out with him? And I was like, yeah. And I was like, then I’d leave that. I’d leave that person. I’d say have you snogged her as well. And he was like yeah. Basically he’d done Coventry, literally, I think. So, um, so we met on that job. So we met on a job for Pimm’s and it was a really fun job at a festival. And our job was just to chat to people really essentially, and get people into this, like on the Pimm’s bus. And, um, yeah, so we, it was a very, very, that’s how I ended up in Coventry, but we didn’t plan to have kids. We just, from the minute we met, we never really spent time apart and we never got bored of each other, truly. Like it was, we were, we were pals. We were, we had a laugh together and we used to say those that play together, stay together. Those that have a laugh together and enjoy each other. They’re the ones that stay together. 

Carla: [00:05:32] Absolutely. 

Holly: [00:05:33] Yeah. And so kids wise, we didn’t, in fact, we were on another promotional job when we found out. We were working,  can’t even remember what it was for, but we were in Liverpool. I remember it well because I’d had stomach pains and he said, I bet I’ve knocked you up. I’ve knocked you up. And I was like, what do you mean? Like, firstly, why are you saying knocked me, up, what on earth are you talking about. Um, so he said that and I was like, what? Actually, that’s not a stupid suggestion. So I got a pregnancy test and we were working on this massive big event, but the toilets we were using were the McDonald’s toilets in Liverpool, and I thought to myself, If I am pregnant, I cannot find out in the disabled toilet in McDonald’s.

Carla: [00:06:18] Haha yeah.

Holly: [00:06:19] Let’s pay some money and go and pay the posh toilets down the road. So I did took the test, came out, and just went I think come pregnant. And he said, now baring and my, my husband was autistic. He was actually on the, on the autistic spectrum of his classes Asperger’s or Aspergers. And so he’s very direct in his approach to life. So I said, I think I’m pregnant. He said good age.

Carla: [00:06:48] How old were you? Holly? 

Holly: [00:06:50] I was, I was 25 that I was, yeah, I think I was 25. So he went good age and just assessed it as logical, you know, like, well, that’s a great age. Perfect. That, you know, second one before 30. Perfect. And that’s how we, you know, we, there was no, I never felt fearful of you know anything. And I was the most, um like I was not at all that maternal mum and wasn’t, you know, I’d never changed a baby’s nappy. I rarely held anyone’s kids. I just didn’t have a clue. And I just thought, you know, I’ll just do this in my own way. We’ll work it out somehow.

Carla: [00:07:23] Yeah. And you did don’t you? As a parent, I think that’s, that’s something you can, you can just, you just do what feels right to you. And I think that’s a big thing. Yeah. So when you became a mum for the first time, how was that for you? Was it, did you find it extra difficult? Cause you weren’t very maternal or was it, was it quite easy? Did you pick everything up easily? How was that for you guys? 

Holly: [00:07:44] So my pregnancy was fine. My, um, having and give it when I gave birth, I had preeclampsia, so I was six weeks early and I was working right up until the dot. I was still doing promotional I mean waddling around of course, but, and I’m really small as well for those that have never seen me before. I’m like five foot one. And I was, I think I was just over seven stone when I. Was pregnant, like just not, not at the end of pregnancy, but I was when I, I was, I’m very, very tiny. So I was waddling around, but still working. And on one particular day, I just had the worst headache. And I remember the midwives had been saying, I was very, I was carrying very small, but being a small person and I’m sure every mum will have had this. They were either too big or too small and you get all worried.

[00:08:29] And I just sort of thought, look, I’m a tiny human being, of course, I’m going to have a tiny baby. And I was born at three pounds. So I am and my mum had eclampsia. So hers was really bad. And so there was always that kind of history of maybe that will happen, but I was, I didn’t have a particularly bad pregnancy, but then when I gave birth, so I gave birth six weeks early, we went into hospital with a headache and the doctor came in to explain to me after being, doing all the tests, what was going to happen, then he got rushed out before actually explaining.

[00:09:00] And then the nurse switched the doctor hadn’t told me anything. The nurse came in and went, Oh, okay then. So we’re going to admit you when you have the babies and the next few days. And I was like, what? I’ve got six weeks. I haven’t read a book. And I was like, Ross, you need to go. And it’s my husband. And be like, Ross I think you need to go and get some of them magazines that people read about what you do with a baby because I haven’t read anything. I think I need to know now. Cause we’ve got weeks. And then we ended up in special care for two weeks. Brooke, my oldest, she was fine. She was just little. And so thankfully she was absolutely fine. I wasn’t very well, and she wasn’t very well afterwards, but just, just you know generally being early and me having had pre-eclampsia.

[00:09:40] So we were in special care for two weeks. And honestly, I can honestly say that was in a weird way. The luckiest thing, because I got taught how to be a parent. I got shown with the sort of cushion of having a nurse, like a metre away from me that like how to look after a baby, how to change nappy, how to bath a premi baby, because she was a four-pound, hang on, I forgotten how that’s terrible isn’t it? Four pound four. She was. So she was only little. But  I still think that’s quite hearty for a prem baby. 

Carla: [00:10:10] Yeah. Yeah. My son was four 12 and he was born seven. Well just short of seven weeks early as well, actually. And, but I think when you’re a new mum as well, you don’t know what’s a normal size anyways do you? You’re like,

Holly: [00:10:22] Oh, that seems a perfectly reasonable size to come out of you a four pound, baby. I mean, that seems like how would the size it should be not like these 10 pound babies.

Carla: [00:10:29] Oh  God. I know. Did you have to do it naturally. Or was it a Csection then? 

Holly: [00:10:34] No I did. And I honestly only did, I think because me and Ross had had this full conversation about, you know, what you want to do and all of that. And I’d always said, look, I’ll play it by ear. I’m not going to try and be a hero. If it, if I feel bad, I’ll, I’ll take stuff whatever I need. But because it was, I wasn’t very well and it was actually an emergency in the end. I, they induced me. And then nothing was really happening. And then they were going Csection.

[00:10:59] And it was only really because Ross said to the doctor, look, is there any way you can try something else first, she really doesn’t want a Csection. And the doctor went, we’ll try once more. And if there’s anything we have to Csection her.  Cause he said that , I think they would have just done it for in honesty, convenience for them to just do the C-section. But because he said that and asked. They didn’t and the second, the second time I started to go into labor. So actually it was with both my pregnancies. I was able to, not that, I mean, it matters you do what you’ve got to do, but I was able to, um, have the, have both babies naturally, which means, which meant that at least. Going forward. I didn’t have to think about all the healing process of a Csection and stuff. So, yeah. So as a mum, when I was a new mum, it was very, it was very different, but I sort of, and I think this came from, I did a yoga class when I was pregnant. And I remember the yoga teachers saying like, basically just your, your kids never had another mum before, so they don’t know any different.

[00:12:01] And that was actually the. Nicest piece of advice I could have had because we spend all our life comparing ourselves constantly to other things and other people and all of that and no matter how good we think we are. We still do it. And I think, especially as mums, there’s so much judgment on mums and I just thought to myself, do you know what I’m going to bring up my kids to be cool, little people that, like me for who I am and they won’t know any different. And so I just thought, you know, just because I’m not the motherly mother  in that way, um, I’ll do it in my way, but actually in reality, I kind of am that motherly mother in, I mean, I might be very straight talking and little bit too sweary with them, bit honest bit too honest probably at times, but my kids can trust me because they know where they’re at with me. So I think you can’t do any more than that really. 

Carla: [00:12:50] Yeah. No, absolutely. And I totally agree with you. I think there’s so much competition out there. For mums, um, as a new mum, you just feel so much under pressure and you know, even, you know, when you’re having a conversation, it’s almost like, Oh, is your baby not doing that yet? No, it’s not. You know, he won’t be shitting himself at 18 years old. You know what I mean? So it’s fine. Do you know? Don’t worry about it. But it’s hard to kind of balance you know, everything, all the stress of everything and the things that you feel like you should get right. And you know, like you think you should have the house tidy. You think you should have the tea ready. We’ll actually no you don’t necessarily have to. You know? Just getting through each day is a challenge for me at the moment during this, this time. 

 Holly: [00:13:31] Exactly. And I think that’s the thing that I’m really passionate that people just need to zone in an zoom into their own worlds and not be preoccupied by what everybody else is doing. Because even if you think, you know what everybody else is doing, you don’t because people only show you the good bits. And so it’s pointless. Nobody shows you the worst bits of themselves, and then you compare your worst bits to their best bets. And it’s just a pointless exercise. So I’ve really tried not to do that as a parent. And I’m sure there’s been loads of things that I’ve done as a parent that people have frowned at or people have been like, Oh, is that the right thing to do? But, you know what, they’re my children and you know, a great little people and I’m happy with that. That’s all you can, that’s all you can think. I’m happy with them. They’re nice little people. They’ve got good hearts and they do their best and that’s it. 

Carla: [00:14:17] And that’s the most important thing really, I think, um, for raising nice human beings. So obviously a couple of years into your parenting journey. You had another child, didn’t you? Um, and then if you can kind of tell us a bit of the story of, of what happened from there really.

Holly: [00:14:35] So I had my second daughter who was called Texas and she was just two years after Brooke, they’re quite close in age. And, um, In, in my time, that time of my life, I was very much, you know, as a family, we had loads going on for ourselves. And so we were very much as a family, we were just, um, doing, you know, pottering around together, doing what we wanted to do.

[00:14:58] And, we, both me and my husband made a decision very early on when we had broke my oldest, where we went, do you know what? Let’s take off off the pedal and not go, you know, hell for leather at work and try and make no, let’s not like push ourselves to be busy fools and we’ll, we will get our payment cause we might potentially lose money, but we get our payment and being around our kids.

[00:15:21] But because of that, we just spent time and we really appreciate that time together. Now what, in 2014. So Texas was just, Oh my God. When was she born?  So she was, yeah, she was just turning just after one and, um, we found out that my husband had brain cancer and it was from the very beginning it was bad. So it was grade 4. It was never, it was rare.

Carla: [00:15:48] Was he ill then with it Holly? Like obviously out to go to the doctors, but was it, did it just come from nowhere or was it an ongoing kind of thing? 

 Holly: [00:15:56] Well what happened he was diagnosed with autism a few years before and we, so he was diagnosed with autism as an adult. And so when he started to have symptoms of depression and stress and he was having what we thought were panic attacks. In, in what we realize in retrospect, they were actually small seizures, but they manifested very similar to a panic attack. So he was having in his left hand, his hands would grip ever so slightly for, for a minute or so, and then release.

[00:16:25] And he would have a wave of anxiety. Now, anyone who’s listening, who has to experience seizures may recognize that as a form of seizure, now I’d only ever seen what they used to call. I don’t think they do now, but grand mal seizures where someone drops to the floor and shakes. I didn’t understand what those kinds of seizures were, what he was having. They’re called focal seizures. So it’s like where just just one part of your body does something. Now. So he was having depression type symptoms, anxiety, and we, because he’d been diagnosed with autism when he was diagnosed, We had been told to try and get the diagnosis before I gave birth because the fast paced change of parenthood might be challenging.

[00:17:04] And, you know, for autistic people, they often like routine. And as a new parent there’s rarely routine, right? So we kind of put this down to second child, suddenly the world’s chaotic. So a lot of the things we were thinking, this might be just a symptom of the fact he is autistic and he’s not dealing with the fast paced change. So initially it was this feeling of depression. But he was also not feeling like there was any reason for it. There was no, he couldn’t make sense of it. Then he started to experience headaches and he had these real for this, the week before he was into,  went into hospital. He had these really serious, like icepick headaches in his head, horrendous on the floor with these headaches.

 Carla: [00:17:48] Oh God.

 Holly: [00:17:50] We’d been to our doctors. Our doctors were great. And they had said, look, next time it happens. You, if you need, cause we’d been into the hospital once and it was like, you just got sent home with paracetamols and stuff because why wouldn’t it just be a migraine? You know, that’s the first thing that it probably is. And the second time we went to the doctors and the doctor said, look, next time you have a headache. I’ve got, he was on a list for a headache clinic at the time. And our GP said, look. When it happens, if it happens again, ring me and I will do a GP liaison and we’ll get you into the hospital. But with the knowledge that there’s something going on.

[00:18:21] So on this morning, he started to vomit and his headache was really bad. And I just thought, no, this isn’t right. And I didn’t, I never, ever once thought brain tumor, I just. Didn’t. Why would you think that if you’ve never experienced that you wouldn’t, your head was just, doesn’t go there because it, 

Carla: [00:18:37] Well, when he’s younger and healthy and fit.

Holly: [00:18:39] And it’s the worst case scenario, right? That’s your worst nightmare. So you don’t even want to allow that. And actually, when I was looking at symptoms of things, it was coming up, but I was thinking, well, it’s not that it’s a brain tumor. Like you just don’t think it because how can you possibly let yourself? But when we went to the hospital, we started, he was being prodded and poked and tested. And we were there all day in the hospital and I started to think they’re going to send him away. This is going to be anxiety related. These are going to be symptoms because in reality, we know they could be, we know that headaches could be an anxiety symptom. There could be a depression symptom.

[00:19:12] All of these things on their own could be that. So I was thinking it’s just going to be that it’s actually, in some ways there was a feeling of. Oh, this is going to be something where we get no answers .And later on that night. We’d been in the hospital all day. The doctors came in. And I have spoken about this in the press and stuff before, because it was dealt with really badly on a few occasions, but the doctor came in, opened the curtain and without any warning and just went, I’m really sorry, Mr. Blair. That’s my husband’s name. I’m really sorry, mr. Blair, but we found an egg size tumor in your head. We’ll do what we can. We will potentially offer you surgery. We’ll potentially offer you chemo and radio, but if there’s nothing else we can do, we’ll just keep you comfortable. And that was delivered in, in that kind of time as well. There was more like, there was no cushioning the blow. It was that quick. 

Carla: [00:20:01] And no, pre-warning no sit down. No. Do you want a drink? 

Holly: [00:20:05] Nothing and we just went. Okay. And I looked at my husband and he just went, okay, what’s next? And we dealt with it in that way. And were always as a couple, very, very straight with each other. We were very direct. I mean, having autism and that he was talking about euthanasia and all sorts within the first week of him, his diagnosis. And he was very blunt and I am a very direct person. I don’t think he could have went out with somebody who was of a sensitive disposition because nobody wants that conversation.

[00:20:37] A week after finding out that husband’s got brain cancer. And so we had every conversation and actually, you know, as we are now, I’m glad that we’ve had all of these conversations, but we, um, so when, so yeah, so, he started to have treatment. He had chemo, radiotherapy, had brain surgeries and for three and a half years, we lived with the fact he had brain cancer and we, you know, largely he was well, and that’s a hard thing for people to understand because. People will think well you’ve got a brain tumor, like, you know, you’ve got a scar on your head and you’re having chemotherapy and they will fill you full of dread. But the one thing about my husband was that he never ever read anything that he was supposed to have. He didn’t read about symptoms. He just went do you know what, this is it like he used to say it was just very direct it’s was like, I don’t, I don’t know that I’ve got, you know, they’re telling me I’ve got cancer. I can’t fucking feel it in my head. I can’t tell that it’s there. I don’t know. And I’m not going to live my life thinking about it because there’s no point.

[00:21:34] And so he lived like that. And of course over the time that was things that were difficult with that, you know, there was certaintly seizures and treatments and stuff that did cause him issues along the way. But largely he was really well. And for that time we lived our life very much just together when we pottered around and we, we fit in a brain surgery here and a chemotherapy here, and we just lived our lives very closely together.

Carla: [00:22:02] Did you know, it was, did you know, at that point that it was terminal at that stage? Or was there hope that it might just kind of, 

Holly: [00:22:09] Yeah, there was hope at the beginning, so there’s kind of, it’s a weird thing, but they tick boxes or they tick the cure at the  beginning. They would try it. Give it a shot basically. And they would throw everything at it. I mean, they knew how bad it was, but you always just think, you know, we were both very optimistic people and we just think, well, you just don’t know do you? Some, some people get cured of like really bad cancer and we just focused on that and we thought, you know what it is.  It is a bit of a needle in a haystack because they’re not only looking to cure a really bad brain cancer, but this is also a rare brain cancer that they know even less about. And it’s normally found in children and it’s normally found in the back of your head and his was at the front. So all of those things feel a little stacked against you.

[00:22:51] And I think in the back of. I mean, I know for Ross, he always said, look, whatever happens, this thing’s going to kill me eventually. Like I’m not, you know, he’s, he’s like, I’m giving it all. I’ve got. But eventually whether I’m 50, 60, this thing will get me. This is not something I’m going to get over. And he was just very direct in his thinking.

[00:23:10] And I don’t think that was not being optimistic because he was like, look, I’ll get, you know, it’s for a time. It was lying dormant, essentially. It was just not moving and. It was a, what do they call it when it’s like that? When it’s just not forgotten what they call it, but it’s it wasn’t growing and it wasn’t,  it wasn’t decreasing. I mean, you want to hear that it’s gone down, but it wasn’t, but we sort of didn’t appreciate, I think. In those moments, how good it is if it’s doing nothing. Like if it’s doing nothing that’s good news, but we don’t think we really got that. Cause you want to hear, it’s gone. You just want to hear that.

[00:23:44] That’s all you want to know when someone’s cancer you want to hear it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s not in them. But then in 2016 we went back and they said it had started to grow. And so then we knew this is bad. And we knew we, then he was offered a second brain surgery, which he took, and we had a big conversation about that. He asked, you know, he discussed with me whether he wanted to, it’s very hard because as a person, looking after somebody who is ill  and somebody that you love and all you want to do is keep them there and all you want is them to be okay. But I had to get to that stage where I had to appreciate that this wasn’t just, this wasn’t my journey. This was his journey. And that  I couldn’t make the decision for him if he wanted to go through another brain surgery for it, not to work and for it really just to be prolonging. And so when we found out in 2016 that it was growing, they then ticked a new box and the new box is prolong.

[00:24:38] So it’s not cure. They know they’re not going to cure it. They’re just going to do what they can to keep you here for as long as possible. So that in itself was a different space. It was. We have to come to terms with this. We don’t, we still don’t know a timeline, but we knew that, you know, we knew that there wasn’t going to be a forever, but it did come much quicker than we probably anticipated.

[00:24:58] So we had the surgery in the,  when did he have it? So the October, maybe of that year? No, sorry. The August of that year. And then the October of that year, it was actually, his brother moved his wedding forward. So that just to make sure which was a good decision and he moved his wedding, so Ross could be best, man.

[00:25:17] And at the wedding, we knew that the cancer was growing even just a few months after the surgery. Nobody else knew, which was really, really difficult. And, um, They then saw that it was starting to grow. Now, we just, they kept trying different things. And so there was always that bit of hope, you know, they would try this new chemotherapy, we’ll try this and see what happens there.

[00:25:36] And there was always that feeling of hope, but by the May of that year, we had gone to Turks and Caicos. On holiday. We went out there as  a family, got a friend out there, beautiful part of the world. We had a lovely holiday. I didn’t think he was right on the holiday. I just didn’t feel right. I didn’t couldn’t explain it. Wasn’t right. And, and just things he was saying weren’t quite right. Got back. And he had, it was actually just the week of his birthday. And I remember the girls and I were sat at the kitchen table and we were writing out 32 reasons. Sorry. Yeah. 32 reasons why we love dad and writing that down. And I turned around and I saw him going into this really weird seizure where he was just chatting nonsense and fleeing around. And from there for me, that’s when we lost Ross. So it wasn’t his, his death, which was in the August of that year. It was there because as much as the people can pretend, and there, there was moments of Ross from there. You know, he had a seizure and in any case came back, but he, he was, he was disabled. He was from that point, he, he was brain damaged and he was, there was moments of him, but he was not right.

[00:26:50] And so for me, it was almost the months leading up to his death where I was having to just acknowledge what was happening. And as much as the reality of it is very different too you know, the anticipation of somebody dying and you go through this grieving process before it happens like a prequal. 

Carla: [00:27:11] Yeah. Like before it actually happens, because you’ve already lost the person that you once new. And is that how it works? 

Holly: [00:27:18] Yeah. And I think because it’s brain and anybody who’s experienced, or whether it’s dementia or any kind of brain stuff, that’s what happens. You lose the person earlier, they go. And I was very lucky in that. So, I mean, the worst truthfully that some of the worst bits was. Telling the kids, because 

Carla: [00:27:35] Did they know what was going on? Did they during all this?

Holly: [00:27:38] In 2016, when he had the second surgery, we had to tell them. And they  was so little, I mean, I can’t even remember their ages. They were so little. We had to tell them because we didn’t know whether he would come out of that. You know, it’s such a serious surgery and we didn’t know what would be left of him. You know, you’re tinkering around in someone’s brain. You don’t know what’s going to happen on the other side of that. What might be left of them. Now thankfully, he was great. The day, few days after he’d done brain surgery, the second time he was picked wallpaper in Texas’ bedroom. And she’ll remember that she remembers that even now it’s like dad was so brave, you know, he just, he was doing this and he was doing that straight after having his brain surgery.

[00:28:14] But he was, I mean, he was just. Back to normal. So for them, it’s not a tangible thing, you know, like, yes he had brain cancer, but what’s that mean? What does that mean to little kids? It doesn’t mean anything. When he, when we knew that he was going to die, when I knew, and the doctor had told me that. In a corridor by the way, which was pretty horrendous. 

Carla: [00:28:35] Again, like, was this the same doctor? 

Holly: [00:28:38] No, but it was actually the same hospital and I’ve actually done. I’ve been invited to speak at, um, I was asked to speak at a brain surgery, neurosurgery conference not long ago where I got to say to those neurosurgeons, I don’t care. I don’t care if you connect with what you’re saying, I don’t care that you’ve said it a hundred times before. Just fucking fake it. Fake your empathy if you have to. Cause it’s the first time I’ve heard it. But the doctor said to me, we’ve been told that he had fluid on his brain. So they didn’t say anything about this was when he had the seizure.

[00:29:10] And then the doctor came to me and I said, we’re waiting on a, we’re just waiting on. We’ve been told we’re waiting on the scan. So I said, waiting on a scan. I’m just trying to find out what’s happening with it. I haven’t heard anything. And we’ve been waiting for days. He said to me, he stood by the nurses station in the middle of a corridor.

[00:29:25] Um, well, he’s got he, he has, um, brain tumors, throughout his brain. He’s not going to come back from this.  And then he took me to one side and he said, do you understand the severity of this? I honestly, like, I was like, do you and I could see the nurses behind it by this time because of my acting background, all the newspapers were running stories on this.

[00:29:46] So the nurses behind knew who I was and they knew. What was happening and they were just like gobsmacked behind him, just like looking at me, shaking their heads. Like I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. And I was like, do you understand the impact on my life? Like, do you understand the severity of what you’re saying to me?

[00:30:04] It was awful that that was awful. And then having to tell the kids, I was very lucky because I had met, um, Jeff Brazier, who was Jade Goodys ex partner and is the dad of her kids. I’d met Jeff years ago and didn’t particularly know him or anything, but we connected on Twitter. And around the time of it, obviously it was in the papers and stuff.  He messaged me and said, can I give you a call? And he gave me a call at the hospital. I remember I was sat outside and we just had a bit of a chat about telling the kids. And I said, I feel like I need to tell the kids now, you know, we don’t know what Ross is going to be like in a week’s time. He could, you know, we could tell him something, he could bark at them.

[00:30:44] You know, when, when it’s your brain, you don’t know what somebody is going to do. And he really didn’t understand by then, he’d been told he was, he was going to die. And he didn’t understand, he didn’t really get what was happening. And he actually said to me, when I asked him what was happening, he said, yeah, they’re trying to kill me. They’re trying to kill me. They’re putting this stuff in my drinks now and he didn’t get it. And we were lucky that I made the decision. After speaking to Jeff and him saying, you need to give the children a chance to say goodbye. You need them to say, sorry. If they think they’ve done something wrong in the same way we need as adults, the kids need it too.

[00:31:18] And I was so I’m so glad that I did. And I got brave because honestly it was the worst conversation of my life.  I felt physically sick all night. I was like shaking with worry and you know, everyone was there. We told the girls, they were hysterical, as you can imagine. 

Carla: [00:31:40] And how old were they then Holly? How old were they though? 

Holly: [00:31:44] Oh, God forgetting how old, um, so yeah, Brooke was six and Texas was four. Yeah, that was right. 

Carla: [00:31:56] Oh my God. 

 Holly: [00:31:58] So they understood, but they didn’t understand. And thankfully Ross was able to just smile and get it, like, not say anything inappropriate. And then it went very quickly, went downhill. So we, he was in a hospice. We were sent home and it was just completely inappropriate. And actually to the point where the nurse, the end of life care nurse who came to see us actually cried because she was like, I was like, I don’t know what. Like I’m five foot, one Russell, six foot, and you’ve got a six foot, man who has a brain injury doing stuff that’s actually really dangerous. And I can’t look after him. And I, you know, Ross,  was very black and white on life. It was like,I’m dead or I’m alive and I’m not fussed about were I am when I’m dead put me into ashes and chuck me in the bin. I ain’t bothered like, and it wasn’t that it was just an all pretend like we were very direct about life.

[00:32:51] And so I didn’t have any, you know, he wants to be at home or anything like that. I just like, he just needs to be comfortable and being in the hospice we were in Myton hospice in Warrick, which they were just incredible. And while we were in there, we, I decided while I was sat there thinking I can’t believe that this is a charity. This is not funded by the government, this service. And I, I sat there and I just like, I’ll just set up a, you know, a charitable, just giving page. And within about a week we had 13,000 pounds. 

Carla: [00:33:25] Wow.

Holly: [00:33:27] In my head, I was like, I just need to be able to pay for his care. And they said to me, it was, I think it was 9,000 pounds a week or something to have somebody in there, it was a crazy amount. I was like, if we can just pay for what he’s used, then I’ll feel like I’ve given back and we have over time, but it was so when we were in there, you know,  it allowed me while there was pockets of Ross being there now and then in the first week it allowed me to be his wife and not his carer. And to be able to say goodbye, and they were just incredible. But it, from the kids’ point of view, they didn’t see him for the last two weeks. So I actually decided at one point that it just wasn’t right for them to be there. 

 Carla: [00:34:06] Yeah. Because they’ve said their goodbye, they saw him at a good time. And I suppose, things were deteriorating quite quick where they?

Holly: [00:34:14] Eventually, he just went to sleep and there wasn’t anything to see. And I just thought, you know what? They don’t need to see that. They’ve, they’ve had a moment where they’ve said goodbye and that’s all they really need to do.

[00:34:23] And along the line, I just was very honest and I still am with my girls. I’ve never, I don’t lie to them. And so some parents, I guess, you know, I am brutally honest on  everything. There is not, if they ask me a question, they’ll get the real answer. Because at one, I can’t remember what all the lies are supposed to be about life. Like how do people how are babies made? I’m like, Hmm. People have sex. I don’t have the lies in me because I just want to be honest. Like I’ve got an obsession with just being real and honest and authentic. And I want my kids to understand, you know, when they’ve gone through something like this, you can’t bullshit them. You just can’t, they need you to be real. And I remember Brooke, you know, she was only six and they’re such insightful kids. She said to me, when Ross went into the hospice, she said, Mum is dad going to come out with this hospice or is he going to die there? And I said, he’s going to die here, darlin. And not mean just saying, I mean, I could see his mum, you know this gorgeous person and I could see his mum just like I can’t, she just didn’t want to have that conversation.

[00:35:23] And I’m getting it’s not normal to have that conversation with a six year old. It’s heartbreaking. And I remember the week, sorry, the two days before he died, she, my girls  were with my sister. And I had been at, by Ross’s bedside and hadn’t really seen the girls for a week. And you know, I’d been in there a month. I wasn’t living with them. I was coming in, I hadn’t seen them for a week and Brooke rang me and she said, mum, I miss you so much. And I was like, I know darling and she said, but I’m scared because I know that when you come home, that means dad’s dead. 

Carla: [00:35:54] Oh, my god yeah.

Holly: [00:35:58] And thats it you know? And, and when I did come home, there was that moment of. And I actually remembered when, just before I spoke to Jeff breeze on WhatsApp before. And he said, when you tell them, make it something special, don’t make it a sad thing. Do something. Children are so adaptable. Children are so resilient. If you need to get balloons, if you need to get cake in. And it sounds so weird to us as adults. Cause it seems like we need to be morbid, but actually children don’t work that way. If you can make it a positive experience, even in the worst moment of their life, then it gives them something. And so we went in and I. I initially they were excited cause I was home. And then there was that moment of this means that dad’s died and I cried. And then I said, after, you know, a time of us crying and being together, I said she would draw some pictures. And he said, yeah, let’s do a pictures. And I remember because  and I’ve got it  somewhere, Brooke drew a picture. And it was all really colorful and happy, which is always a positive sign with kids. And she drew a picture of everybody in the family and she had drawn Ross, but she drew them just slightly off side of the family, like away. And I think that was her way of processing that he wasn’t there. And that was just her way of doing it.

[00:37:04] And you know, what’s even since then every day that we, I have come, you know, I’ve continued to be honest with them and they have asked me some questions that would make you sob. 

 Carla: [00:37:14] Oh god even this is getting me,  I’ve got a lump in my throat.

Holly: [00:37:19] You know, kids will say the things that adults don’t want to ask. You know, they’ll say I’ve got a, my wedding ring has got three diamonds in it. There was actually no intention. And I just, my uncle’s a jeweler and I was like, just pop some diamonds in it. That’s fine. But in retrospect, I’ve always said, well, that’s one for you, one for you, Brooke . One for you, Texas. And it’s one for daddy. And I’d always said that. And I remember Brooke early on saying, so does that mean you have to take that stone out cause dad’s dead now. 

Carla: [00:37:45] Oh God. They just remember things don’t they, they really do. Um, Oh God bless her. 

 Holly: [00:37:55] I know. And it’s, I mean, the thing is, and for those that are listening, I mean, I know my experience, isn’t exactly the norm. It’s not, not the norm either. And I’ve certainly learned there are lots and lots of people because I see so many people in my groups and in my community online and people who come to me and go, I don’t know how you’re dealing with this. And. And actually, you know, since Ross his death, that is kind of how I, I don’t, I was already very heavily involved while Ross was going through, um, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer, that really pushed me into doing self development as a job.

[00:38:25] So that in itself was, um, what I found is I started to talk about the stuff I’d always done. I mean, I’ve done self-development since I was a really young kid. Even when we didn’t have the internet and nobody knew what self development was. And I didn’t, I just knew I didn’t want to feel rubbish. And actually, when I was a kid, I grew up on television that brings with it, its own mental health stuff and not the feelings of inadequacy and all of that kind of stuff.

[00:38:49] So I always did it. And so I started to talk about that when Ross was diagnosed and people around me. Kind of flock towards me to understand and want to know more. And because like you I’m an entrepreneurial person, I made it into my work. And when Ross died, I felt, I felt an obligation. That was a huge amount of press around Ross’s death. It was an every major newspaper on the front cover of some of them. I was on the Lorraine, on the BBC, on ITV talking about it. And largely because. One cause there’s a, there’s a hook for them. This story that I’m an actor, but also because I’d spoken online about it. And I know, and I’d vlogged during the time of being in hospice.

[00:39:29] And I know for a lot of people that might seem distasteful. One, I don’t care. 

 Carla: [00:39:34] No. You know, 

Holly: [00:39:35] I couldn’t give a shit if people feel that, however, from, from a way for people to understand my perspective. When I grew up on television, that was my safe space. I went to a pretty rough school where, you know, I was the kid off the tele. And although I was fairly popular in the popular group at school. I, it wasn’t easy at my school though. It was a lot of stuff I dealt with. And so when I went on set. And I was there. That was my safe space in front of the camera. I’m very, very comfortable there. And so actually, As weird it is, as it is to other people to stick a camera in my face and me to speak, that’s actually a very comfortable space for me. And it’s a way for me to work out my own feelings. And I also knew at some point the girls would want to understand at some point, maybe I’d want to look back and understand what I went through and also that there was going to be other people watching. And I looked for people talking at my age, in my, you know, my kind of person. And I want it to find that when I was in the hospice, I wanted to look for somebody to lead my way and I didn’t find it. I didn’t find people talking like me who were honest and who were, you know, saying the things that were uncomfortable. And so I remember in the hospice thinking, well, if I can’t see, I’ll be it. Because someone else needs this as well. And that was actually something that drove me through that time, because it was a focus for me to go. I’ll talk about this. I’ll talk openly. I’ll talk about the uncomfortable bits, those moments when you love somebody and they’re dying in front of you and you desperately want them to stay, but part of you wants them to let go. Now that’s uncomfortable, but you, you you’re watching somebody who’s, you know, Just basically starving in front of you, that’s a horrible space to be in. And no one to talk about us because you want to be the person that goes, I never wanted them to go, but actually there’s a moment, especially in those end of life stage where you go, I need you to let go now, like I need this to be it. I need this to be over for everybody. And I try to talk about that stuff. And actually after his death, I found so many people will gravitating towards me and asking, how are you dealing with it? When I can’t deal with the fact the washings up the wall and the kids are playing up, how are you dealing with it?

[00:41:47] And so I did, you know, I tapped into entrepreneurial world and I thought, I can’t people right now. Cause I’m grieving and sad. And, but what I can do is I can put something together, an online program and I’ll make it. Easy for people. I’ll make it cheap for people so that everyone can do it. And that means I can package up my knowledge with a little bow on it and I can send it out and people, I can send people to that.

[00:42:11] And I honestly, this was how the Happy Me project. My first happy me project one was, was born. And I honestly had no expectation from a financial perspective or, you know, a business move. It wasn’t like that it came from a very organic place. And, you know, we are nearly three years down the line from that program being released. And I have seen hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people across the world do that course. And I’m so glad that I see now I get to see so many people getting benefit from that. It’s just something good to have come from something awful. 

Carla: [00:42:45] Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes the best ideas are kind of when you’re at your lowest point, because I think that’s when you recognize where other people, how low they must feel, and you just want to help and you just, you know, and then all of a sudden you have this idea. I mean, God, I haven’t been through anything like what you had. So I’m not trying to compare it at all, but. With my bump to baby with the pregnancy to preschool directory that was launched because I got that low with my mental health. Um, and then I went to this class and it wasn’t on, and I was like for fuck sake and I was jst crying in the car and it was just a moment of like. Why isn’t there an up to date class, and I’m not by any means, comparing it to what you went through, but that was the start of my kind of journey as well. And like, 

 Holly: [00:43:32] Its that backed against a wall feeling isn’t it, it’s that. And also what you said there, like, I never, I never want to play top trumps on sadness. Okay. Because. Whatever someone’s going through when you’re at that moment, whether it’s cause you’re grieving, whether it’s cause you, the class wasn’t on and your mental health is not good, whether it’s cause the washings up the wall, if you feel sad and shitty, you feel sad and shitty. It doesn’t matter where it’s coming from because the feelings the same. And so for me, like, especially when I’m coaching people, I mean, I know that people need to know my background. They need to understand. And that’s why I share it because people do need to know I, my life is good. Right? Even with everything that’s happening. If you looked at my life, you would say, I’ve got a nice house. I’ve got money in the bank, I’ve got a successful business. I’ve got opportunity, lovely children, you know, all of this stuff. I’m very privileged and lucky in many, many ways. And so if you weren’t to understand the other side of it, the trick, the hardest side, the challenging side, the sad side, then you might think. Well, how can she tell me anything? You know, so how can she tell me anything she hadn’t been in it. And so I shared it because I want people to know, no I’ve been there, I’m in the trenches with you. Like I live and breathe the stuff that I talk about, I am not, I’m not into this toxic positivey. You have to be happy all the time. Sometimes you need to sit and watch Netflix in your pants and cry. 

Carla: [00:44:52] Yeah. In your fat pants though. I only do it in my fat pants.

 Holly: [00:44:57] Only the fat pants, not the sexy pants. 

Carla: [00:45:01] What are those? I haven’t even got any of them now, I don’t think they would fit on me. But I totally get that. No, completely. So, so after, after Ross passing away and stuff like that, I mean, obviously you develop this fantastic business and but did you find that your finances were affected? Did you have life insurance in place or was that something that you didn’t have? 

Holly: [00:45:26] Yeah. So it’s something suddenly you, when, when someone, when your partner dies, you suddenly realize that is something that you have to think about right now. I was, I would suggest a very unusual case and that Ross was had his had property. Now don’t get me wrong that has been a challenge in itself because me and Ross were very straight in every aspect of our lives, or we had our own finances. We both had our own businesses and we also had our collective finances. That’s how we work. We had our family stuff and then we had our own stuff.

[00:45:56] And so the properties were Ross’s, they weren’t mine. He had them before he met me. And although we owned properties together, He had his own stuff. So actually financially I was okay. Purely and Ross actually continued to provide for us because I have the properties and I rent them out. So I get a rental income from those properties.

[00:46:17] Now don’t get me wrong. That’s not absolutely like, we’re not balling. We’re not rolling deep because of that. But it certainly was much, much easier. And I didn’t have life insurance. Now Ross, his uncle is a mortgage advisor and after Ross’s death, he phoned me because he felt so guilty because he sells life insurance to people. And. The reason we didn’t was because of Ross, because at the time Ross was diagnosed at 29. So he, he didn’t think he was going to get sick. You don’t think you’re going to get sick at 29. It’s something you put off and you think, God, you know, you’re young, you’re like not gonna die. Like that’s how we see it and he should have, and in reality, he should have done that. And actually, since then, you know, I look, I’ve met a lot of women, particularly women because often, and this isn’t me being sexist. This is reality. So people can call me out. But this is a reality is that there are lots of families where the men, the man is the main earner in reality. And so. Often women are much more effected by their partner dying.

[00:47:19] And from a government perspective, what you get from the government is diabolical. Like I think it’s 300 pound a month. Um, it’s who can live on that? You can’t.

Carla: [00:47:30] You couldn’t even keep your own house. I mean, I. The reason why I mentioned that obviously when I used to work in a bank.  There was this woman who came in and she was in, she had just met this guy and they had a child together. They weren’t married. He was still married to his ex wife and he had children with her and, um, he owned the house and. They said, there was talking about life insurance and she was like, come on, let’s do it. And he was like, no, no, I’ll think about it. Anyway, she came in a couple of weeks later and he was only 40 and he died and they had a child together, but they weren’t married. So his ex while his wife but ex partner basically kicked this new woman out of the house, and that was all because they didn’t have a will and stuff like that, but it’s all linked is it’s just. People, I suppose you always think don’t we like, Oh, well we’ll get round to it. Oh, I’ll do it next week and stuff buy that pizza, you know, that’s like 20 quid or whatever. And a lot of the time life insurance is even less than that. So it’s something worth thinking about. Yeah

Holly: [00:48:33] It really is and I definitely think people are listening you’re so right. We do put off and it’s really important that actually, you, you do think about it because we just, we don’t know. And you know what. You can also even get payouts when it’s just really serious. So if you say just, I don’t mean just when it’s just really serious, cancer or something like that, you can get a pay out in before actually the death happens. And that is really important. The one thing that we said we were financially comfortable because of the entrepreneurial work that we did.

[00:49:03] And actually when Ross was diagnosed, I  remember us sitting in the hospital and going and just sittng and just taking stock of what we needed to do to beat the cancer and think how we can get through this. I remember sitting there thinking, do you know what we are so lucky. One, that we’ve had kids because that might not have been an option that we have our own home, that we haven’t got any issues we need to deal with. We haven’t got any gambling issues or alcohol issues or anything we need to deal with now. And we’ve got money in the bank and we could probably last a year without stressing. We could pay for stuff and we’d have to be a bit careful for doing nothing, but it would be ok. And. Honestly, like, it’s the one thing you don’t want to think about when someone gets bad cancer, like when someone gets really sick or anything, where you get really sick, you don’t want to think about money.

[00:49:50] And certainly when you’re grieving, that is the last thing you want to be thinking about. I mean, it’s just the fact I had to, even just and baring in mind Ross had a will. Just dealing with getting the properties, put into my name and how that would work, even that was horrendously stressful. And  I know, it’s I don’t, I understand my own privilege. I’m not, it’s a nice problem to have, but actually it was horrendously stressful during a time when I was grieving and also dealing with the fact I’d suddenly become a single mom. I’d suddenly had to deal with my children’s grief and everybody around me, grieving and also eyes on everything I was doing because everywhere I went, everybody knew what was happening everywhere.

[00:50:31] There was never a time when it’s only been really in the recent years that I’ve had to say, Oh, Ross, my husband died. When Ross died I would in fact, the day my girls, I mean literally when, when he died, we, the week after. At, sorry, not the week after the next month, the month after the girls started a new school, we moved house. I had to get a new car because it was a disability car and everything changed, everything changed. And I remember Texas starting school for the first time. Obviously Ross wasn’t there. Didn’t get to see that I was in a stressful panicky state, you know, going into that, all the emotions run high. I left the school and I I’ve never done it before either it was was raining. And I whacked into someone’s wing mirror and because I was just in a flap coming out at the school and I got up, pulled the car up, this was just outside the school got out. And I was like, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. Like I’m really sorry. Just let me know what the damage is, whatever. And the guy, the guy who, I didn’t know, went it’s okay, Holly, it’s fine. I’ll give you a call later, but it’s okay. If I give him, I had given him my number. I’ll give you a call later, but don’t worry. I know what’s happening. I was like, I mean, you imagine the tears come then. Cause then you’re like, Oh God. But it was just a very weird space to suddenly be. You know, you don’t want to think about the finances and that stuff.

[00:51:47] And thankfully I didn’t have to, but I’m an unusual case in that if you haven’t got life insurance, that’s all you’ll be thinking about. In those first stages, if you haven’t got money there.

Carla: [00:51:55] It’s a, it’s a case of like, when someone has to be off work because their ill as well, it’s like, it’s the whole package, isn’t it really? But it is for very important, I mean, how did you find  after that then being a solo parent, was that a struggle or did you just have to just get on with it? Did you find it difficult to grieve? 

Holly: [00:52:16] I just got on with it. I mean, I’ve got very supportive family. Ross’s family are amazing. And actually for the first six months we stayed with his mum, not because of me wanting to stay that other than our house, that we, we were renovating a house. And so that wasn’t finished. So we actually stayed with his mum, but I don’t know if that was a benefit or not. I mean, she’s amazing genuinely, I’m not just saying this. She’s never going to listen to this anyway. She just, she’s not a podcasert. 

 Carla: [00:52:41] She  might be my next guest. 

Holly: [00:52:45] You  never know. I’m not just saying actually genuinely as a really easy person to be with. So I’m very, very lucky in that respect. And that’s not the case for everybody’s in-laws, but I am very lucky to have that support. But do you know what I .Me and Ross, when we met, we were, we always said we were lone wolves.  That had found each of them and managed to slot into each of those lives. I’ve been always been able to take care of myself and look after myself and the day I wanted to deal with reality and I know everyone wants a cushion but I didn’t, I don’t deal with stress like that. I have to look the tiger in the eye and I have to tell myself what’s happening. Otherwise it won’t feel real. I never once says, said Ross has passed away or we’ve lost Ross. I said, Ross died.

[00:53:27] And because I needed to hear that and he needed to make sense of that. I needed to understand that had happened. And the day after his funeral, which was like, I mean, the funeral itself was like, there was probably 500 people at the funeral, and there was  paparazzi outside. I mean, it was insane. The second we, the second we finished the funeral, I was getting sent pictures of Ross. There had been paparazzi in the place where we had the funeral. 

Carla: [00:53:53] Were you mad about that or were you accepting of it? 

Holly: [00:53:57] Well, I didn’t really, I mean, you don’t really have a choice as such and the daily  mirror, not daily mail that they hadn’t taken pictures of the children. So I was glad of that. They had clearly made a conscious effort not to have pictures of the children and I didn’t know there were there. So they’d obviously been respectful and the daily mirror. I think I had done, I had spoken to them beforehand and they said, there’s going to be press there. And I knew there was nothing I could really do about that. So I just said, look, can you please be respectful? Like that was one of the newspapers, at least I could say with them, there were, I mean, they didn’t, I just didn’t know if they were there, so it’s fine. But it was that in itself is just a, I mean, I’ve. I’ve always had some eyes on what I’m doing from being really young, doing TV. And not that it was ever, you know, the dizzy and Heights of Hollywood, but I’ve always had a platform. So that was, but that was a different level on it and a different time of my life, where I’m experiencing all of this stuff in the public eye. And that was something very different and very exposing. And, you know, there was benefits of it in that I didn’t have to explain to people what happened.

[00:55:04] It’s not very nice having to bump into people and tell them that your husband’s died. But the next day after the funeral, I actually had some vouchers for Butlins and they were going to expire. And I thought, you know what, I’m going to take the kids to Butlins. And, um, everyone was freaking out around me like, Oh, you’re going to be okay. You can’t go to Butlins, do you want us to come? And I was like, do you know what? No, because for the kids. Kids aren’t equals that resilient kids are just like, yeah, you were going to Butlins, jokes aside at Ross’s funeral, the kids were running around. Cause it was so many people in our house running around, going it’s like home alone. Everybody’s here. Texas cried. I mean, Texas cried in the funeral car on the way back from the funeral, because she bumped into her teachers who came to the funeral and she was crying in the way back from her dad’s funeral, because she wasn’t going to see her teachers again. I mean, that’s kids, that’s the honest little worlds.

[00:55:59] And so we went to Butlins the next day. And don’t get me wrong. There was times in Butlins when I burst into tears because I was there seeing families together and thinking I, Oh my God. And in those that early stage people, I’m not the person. I’m not really the person you put your arm around. I’m not that person, especially when it comes to really big stuff, because , I feel like I’ve got to walk through it myself.

[00:56:26] And I don’t mean that alone. I don’t mean that I’m not supported. What I mean is that you can’t make this go away. So I have to, I have to make sense of this. And so for me, it was like, this is the new normal me and the girls are on our own and we have to work this out and we have to make sense of what that means for us.

[00:56:42] And I think having that mindset has helped me. I didn’t ever have a cushion, even though I had people around and people would have been there in a heartbeat and people were there and people were very supportive and they did things like brought me food. So my issue was I wasn’t eating at all or. My stress in my stress. Some people over eat, I under eat and I just wasn’t eating. So people were bringing me food and that was really helpful. So if you have somebody going through tough times, bring them food to do their washing and do the stuff they don’t even want to think about. And don’t ask them, cause they’ll say no, just bring them food and just put it out and don’t have any worries.

[00:57:14] If they, bin it or they don’t eat it. No worries. But you’ve done it because if people put food in front of me, I ate it.  If people didn’t, I didn’t care. So things like that were actually really very helpful, but becoming a single parent and actually the acknowledgement of that. The first year, there’s always somebody, if you need it, there was always a cushion. If I needed it, like there was always not that they were there all the time, but if I needed somebody to come and have the kids for an hour, someone was there. 

 Carla: [00:57:39] Wow. So, um, Holly, so just to finish off, what is it that you’re up to now then and where can people find you? 

Holly: [00:57:48] Absolutely. So now I run the happy me project. So I have the happy me project one, which is the initial one that I spoke about 21 days of online self development. You get, this is a course you do on your own. And I tried to get it 21 days, 21 days to make a habit. And it’s really straight talking. To the point self-development you get audios or some videos a principle workbook, and then you get put into my Facebook group.

[00:58:13] Now you can join my Facebook group without doing that course as well. And I’ll talk about that in a second. You also get the, there was also the happy project to now that was launched this year. That is a bigger course. The happy  me one is 30 pound. The happy me two is 60 pounds. Cause it’s some way bigger course.

Carla: [00:58:28] That’s so reasonable that.

Holly: [00:58:31] I know, and I get, I get, um, other business like coaches and I’ve actually had a few really huge business coaches. Who’ve done my courses and they they’re like, you’re insane. Like that’s so cheap, but there’s logic in it for me. I want every day, men and women, to be able to do my stuff.

[00:58:47] I want Dave, the builder and negative Sue from down the road to be able to do the courses and learn how to think more positively, how to, you know, feel more confident and  the happy me project two is about self belief and confidence so they can get both of those. I’ve also got some online meditation series all under the happy me project umbrella.

[00:59:06] And then I have some free options, which are my YouTube channel, so that my YouTube channel has loads and loads of years of self-development chat on there. My Instagram, I put daily stuff on there and my Facebook group, the happy me project, Facebook group. And so every weekday I’m doing lives essentially free life coaching in that group, they are either 10:00 AM or I’m going to do a couple of I’m just started this week, doing some evening ones.

[00:59:33] As we move into a new stage of lockdown where people are going back to work, people can find me by typing Holly Matthews into the internet. And if you can’t find me that internet is broken and they should phone somebody and get them in cause I’m everywhere, but you can also type in the happy me project and you’ll get links on there as well. But I like hanging out on Facebook and Instagram probably the most, although I’m on all of them.

Carla: [00:59:54] Yep. Holly. So what we’ll do is we’ll add all Holly’s links into the show notes. So thanks so much for telling your story, Holly, I really, really appreciate it. 

Holly: [01:00:04] You’re welcome. You’re so welcome. And I look forward to seeing lots of your, your listeners and do, let me know where you’ve come from. If you’ve come from this, um, this podcast and do let me know so that I can give Carla the heads up on that. And let her know you came from there. 

Carla: [01:00:17] Oh, thank you. Thank you, Holly. 

[01:00:21] Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode of 50 shades of motherhood. I thought really enjoyed it. And I hope you guys did too.

[01:00:30] If you are enjoying the podcast so far, which I really hope you are. And if you’ve got this far, why are you still listening? If you don’t? But, I would absolutely love you to subscribe and leave me a little rating. It means the world to me, and also helps me out massively, especially when I go to Danny and tell him that I’m going to be doing series two fingers crossed.

[01:00:54] So. I look forward to speaking to you next week and keep an eye on the Facebook page and Instagram. So you know who the next guest is. You will absolutely love it. I know it.

[01:01:07] This podcast is sponsored by my bump 2 baby family protection and legal directory. Being a parent is such a minefield. It’s so difficult deciding who to select when it comes to financial advice or family law solicitors. My bump to baby works with one trusted financial advisor and one trusted family law, solicitor in each town throughout the whole of the UK to find your nearest advisor or family law, solicitor, head over to  www.mybumpt2baby.com/familyprotectionlegal.

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