Interview with That’s Manchester

Now vloggers and YouTube stars are all the rage, I am conscious that I’ve not jumped on the ‘video’ bandwagon and I’ve concentrated my efforts into writing to help people rather than ‘putting myself out there’ in the flesh. Part of the reason for this is that I’m only just starting to promote what I do properly now I have released all of the books – and secondly, I still have body dysmorphia and anxiety, which means I can understandably be fairly pedantic and more than a little self-critical when it comes to appearing on camera!

I’ve been doing a lot more keynotes, talks and presentations lately and I’m used to standing up and talking to people about my experiences, but going on the telly is a whole new kettle of fish. But when brand new local channel That’s Manchester dropped me a line and asked me to come in and share my thoughts with them I took the opportunity with both hands. It’s really important to me to be able to share my message of positivity with as many people as possible – and this was a fantastic way to do it and something which I hope I will be able to do more!

So here it is – this aired last week but in case you missed it or live in another part of the UK (or the world!) you can take a look now:


That’s Manchester


Local Press Coverage for Tough Cookie

MEN screenshot 4crop


I was so pleased and proud to be featured in a local newspaper here in Manchester to spread my message of positivity around anorexia and better body image.

It’s really important for me to be able to get my message out there, because I feel that in general press don’t really share truly inspirational recovery stories in the way that they should. Instead, they focus on the lowest weight of the person, post emaciated photographs, include detailed (and unhelpful) descriptions of what they did and didn’t eat. What newspapers and magazines who share this type of content don’t see (or perhaps do see, but don’t care about) is the effect this has on people who are vulnerable to developing anorexia – or those in the early stages. These articles actively encourage them and even hand them tips to ‘help them’ to become poorly. I’m passionate about changing this because these types of articles definitely influenced me when I was developing anorexia.

Local press coverage for Tough Cookie is just as important as national and international exposure – so a big thank you to the Manchester Evening News and Stockport Express for sharing my positive perspective on anorexia – and hopefully allowing me to reach more people to show them that there are people out there who want to help and support them.




Anorexia: A positive perspective

blogsane - Copy

Here is my recent guest blog for fab UK charity SANE, who work to help people living with all kinds of mental illness. You can see it on their page by following this link, or keep reading below.

Anorexia is always shown in a very negative light in the media. Of course it is a terrible thing – a debilitating illness – I know, because I suffered from Anorexia in my teens. But I’m very passionate about being positive about Anorexia – because I did recover – and like many, I was let down by my local health services and providers.

Why do I want to be positive about Anorexia?

No, Anorexia is not a positive thing – but we can be positive in order to reduce the numbers of people losing their lives to the illness year on year. Instead of focusing on the negatives, I want us all to be more positive about Anorexia because I believe that’s the only way people will recover – by showing them it’s possible to recover and it’s worth it – that they are worth it.

If we constantly report NHS shortages, devastating stories about people who were let down, and phony ‘success’ stories which include photographs of desperately poorly people who describe in great detail how they came to be poorly, then we will not beat Anorexia.

I know that in this country and indeed the world over, Anorexia is widely misunderstood even by health professionals, and there are few resources on the NHS which means that an illness thriving on a lack of urgency is left to worsen until crisis point is reached. But I am living proof that Anorexia CAN be overcome even without conventional help – so it’s time we stopped focusing on loss of weight, emaciated figures and size zero and started instead to share the success of real people who have overcome Anorexia and now live free from fear or misery.

What can I do if I am suffering from Anorexia?

If you are reading this blog and are struggling with Anorexia, the biggest piece of advice I can give is to try and remember who you really are. By that, I mean stopping listening to the cruel voice in your head which tells you that you’re not worth it, and starting to take notice of your own inner voice – the voice which talks about all those things you want to do, the places you want to go, the person you want to be. Anorexia takes all these dreams and aspirations away from you – so starting to remember them and getting excited about them is an important first step. If you can do this, and use mood boards and visuals to feel as though you’re getting closer to your goal, the incentive to recover grows. You become distracted by how wonderful life can be, and in turn you stop listening to Anorexia, which tries to convince you you’re better off dead.

I know this is hard – but focusing on the future and believing it was worth living for really helped me to get through – especially on the hard days where I felt as though I couldn’t fight any longer.

What should I do if I want to help a friend or loved one with Anorexia?

It can be incredibly frustrating for people around someone with Anorexia, because you almost feel like a helpless spectator as the battle is waged inside that person’s own head. However it’s really important that they know they don’t have to go through it alone. Even though they have been ‘taken over’ by this demon – they are still in there somewhere, and although Anorexia will tell them not to, they need and want your love and support. Be there for them – and try to recognise what is Anorexia and what is not. For instance, if they fancy going to the cinema, then take them – but if they want to cook you a three course dinner then eat none of it themselves, you should refuse politely and explain why. Anorexia is often harder for family and friends because when you’re in the midst of it yourself, you’re so consumed by it you can’t see the effect it is having on others. Hang on in there and make sure you get some support for yourself so that you’re strong enough to stay by their side.

If you would like more help and advice on Anorexia, you can visit my blog, or take a look at my books which were written using my own experience to help others to recover and live the life they deserve to.


Love Your Cellulite


A few weeks ago, I was away on holiday with my family (hence the lack of posts!) Unsurprisingly, the holiday inspired a body-image related post – with an especially unusual name (I bet you haven’t heard those two in the same sentence before). Yes, it might seem like an oxymoron to reference cellulite alongside ‘beautiful’; because we are told that the two don’t mix. We are told that we should banish and eliminate cellulite using expensive creams, lotions and surgery. It is often given unhelpfully negative personifications such as ‘unsightly orange peel’ – so naturally, we want to get rid. We’re also sold this misconception that if we have cellulite, we must be fat. So here I am (cellulite and all) to banish these theories and to prove to you that actually, cellulite ain’t that bad.


I noticed that throughout our holiday, my mum was especially self-conscious. She seemed to be constantly comparing herself to others and putting herself down.  In the end I found this pretty annoying because really, there is nothing wrong with my mum! But I know it’s something I have done often in the past, so instead I tried my best to support her and help her to feel better.

One of the things she was especially hung up about was her cellulite. Now to me, it really isn’t that noticeable – but to her, it’s hideously obvious and ‘ruins her legs’. Understandably this makes wearing swimming costumes and bikinis a bit tricky – but unfortunately she had little choice in 45 degree heat!

I did my best to convince her throughout the holiday that the cellulite wasn’t really that bad at all – and besides, it only made up a small part of her. Women of all shapes, sizes and ages have cellulite – I have cellulite. It really is very much part of being a woman and something which I can understand people being self-conscious about, but really believe shouldn’t be such a sticking point. We don’t often see super-slender, airbrushed models with cellulite (especially advertising numerous anti-cellulite products which in themselves imply it is something to be banished!) – but in real life, (i.e, on a beach) you see it on nearly every woman. Sitting on a beach of many women, all of varying ages, shapes and sizes, I noted that over 70% had cellulite. Yet they were all individually beautiful! In addition, many of them seemed perfectly confident lying in the sun or splashing about in the sea even though they possessed this ‘defect’. I pointed this out to my mum continually, but it didn’t seem to have much effect.

On the last day, I found a wonderful example which I hoped would change her mind. I’d spotted a beautiful girl being ogled by blokes as she lay on her sunbed – wearing a red bikini with dark skin, waist-length wavy dark hair which shone in the sun with oversized sunglasses shading her eyes. It was clear that she was beautiful, even though she was lying down in the shade. Several hopeful guys sauntered up to catch her attention and try to talk to her within the space of a couple of hours. Then late in the afternoon, she was asked to translate in Russian for the sunbed guys, who were desperately trying communicate with the couple on the loungers next to us who couldn’t understand why they needed to pay. She stood with her back to us as she explained that the sunbeds would cost so many dollars – and as she did I couldn’t help noticing that actually, she wasn’t as slim as I’d had her down to be when I’d seen her on the sunbed from a distance. Standing before us now, I realised that she was actually a size 12 or 14, maybe even a 16, with wide hips and lumpy thighs, topped with a large bottom which was covered with ripples of cellulite. Yet this didn’t detract one little bit from her beauty. In fact, these features enhanced her beauty. She was gorgeous – cellulite or no cellulite.  I watched as she walked back to her lounger and waded out into the sea with her friends. She seemed carefree, happy; unaware of how beautiful she was but completely oblivious to her so-called ‘imperfections’. This was so refreshing for me – and straight away I pointed out to my mum how beautiful she was – to which mum agreed. Then I asked her if she had noticed her cellulite. She said she had – but that it hadn’t changed how beautiful she was. So then I turned it round for her and asked – ”why should it make any difference to your beauty, either?’

In Tough Love I talk about how we see others differently from ourselves – and this is most certainly an example of that. We tend to see the merits of other people before we see our own – or worse, we don’t see anything positive at all when we look in the mirror. But actually we fail to see when we have positive things which reflect in others – and the so-called ‘negatives’ which we have come to believe are embarrassing or defective parts of us because of harmful outside influences are magnified in ourselves but ignored when we look at other people. It’s holiday season – so try to be kind to yourself and remember that you are beautiful just the way you are – no matter what you may think is ‘wrong’ with you.



Enjoyed Love Your Cellulite? See more like this in my book here.