Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan Markle, Royal Family
Royal Wagdom, Kate and her Prince

Welcome to my webpage!


I am a journalist, writer and co-founder of The Mammy Monologues project.  My work has been published in the UK, Ireland and the USA.  In the past fifteen years I've contributed to some of the following newspapers and magazines - The Sunday Independent, Woman & Home, Essentials, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Sunday World, The Belfast Telegraph, Image, Prudence, Woman's Way, Primary Times (UK & Ireland) The Evening Herald, The Irish Post (UK), The Irish Echo (USA), The New York Dog (USA) and The Irish Examiner USA.


I've been featured in a number of anthologies (both fiction and non-fiction) and wrote a whole book (gasp!) called It's Not Me, It's You! A Girls Guide to Dating in Ireland. I've also appeared on TV and radio (as myself, mostly) on the BBC, RTE, Radio France, CNN, CBS and Good Morning Britain.


Things I Wish I'd Known: Women Tell The Truth About Motherhood (Icon Books) an anthology edited by Victoria Young came out on 5 March 2015, other contributors include  Adele Parks, Kathy Lette, Cathy Kelly, Bryony Gordon, Emma Freud and Shobna Gulati.


I've appeared at the Henley Literary Festival twice and am a regular guest on BBC Radio Berkshire. 



Follow me on Twitter @amscanlon, Instagram annemarie.scanlon

& Linked In Anne Marie Scanlon



Twitter: @MammyMonologues

Facebook: www.facebook.com/themammymonologues


People Are Talking

Unexploded Blond Bombshell


The Sunday Independent  




Bojo's premiership has been marked by scandals but he never seems to sweat the big stuff.

With the international spotlight firmly on Prince Andrew (a man who doesn’t sweat either, apparently) Bozza finally caught a break. Unfortunately for him, an unexploded (Blond) bombshell detonated loudly. When news that Johnston was being investigated for grants he awarded pal Jenifer Arcuri, while he was Mayor of London, first broke, Arcuri dutifully defended the PM and kept his secrets. As thanks, Bojo apparently ghosted her. Arcuri was cross, they'd had a 'very special relationship' and he needed to 'man up'. Bumbling Boris is fond of spouting classical allusions.  Shame he's not familiar with Restoration Comedies or he'd be familiar with the old adage “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.  

People Are Talking

Crown Vs The Crown


The Sunday Independent  




The Crown Series 3,  a highly anticipated TV ‘event’ was finally released by Netflix and fans are disappointed.

The cast has changed but the acting is as stellar as ever (Jason Watkins as Harold Wilson deserves all the awards) but the plots.... Inaccuracy could be forgiven if it wasn’t so dreary - one episode revolves around a quite unbelievable midlife crisis experienced by Prince Philip, while the real life attempted kidnapping of Princess Anne in 1974 is completely ignored.


Of course the fictional Crown has some serious competition from the actual House of Windsor. Andrew’s now infamous ‘unbecoming’ interview aired the previous day. Meghan Markle’s family are determined to keep dissing her publicly while William and Harry are apparently at odds.  Come on Netflix, this stuff writes itself.

People Are Talking

Brexit Britain sick of Posh People Problems


The Sunday Independent  




When Meghan Markle first arrived in the UK the British public adored her but since then the love affair has ended.


Having squandered all the good will they had, Megs and Hazza recently toured South Africa, whipped out the baby and appeared to be on the verge of rebuilding Brand Sussex.


But, in a classic example of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, they gave interviews bemoaning their lot in life.


Brexit has left the British public exhausted and demoralised, a feeling compounded by the upcoming Brexmas General Election, - they don't have the patience for Posh Self-Pity. 


Apparently Kate counselled Meghan that everybody "goes through a bad patch." Meghan is almost 40, been married twice and has a baby. Does she really need to be told this? Things are obviously worse than we thought.    

People Are Talking

Royal House of Whinger


The Sunday Independent  




Outside of academic circles, King Ethelred (978 -1013) is largely remembered as "The Unready."  If Prince Harry is remembered a thousand years from now, which is unlikely, it will probably be as "The Hapless". 


He and his missus, Meg, do like a good woke cause and have been banging on about the environment for some time. Unfortunately, like many in our celeb-driven culture, the Duke expects the plebs to practice what he preaches, while he and Meghan don't.


Hazza has defended his copious private jet usage on the grounds of keeping his family 'safe'. Last month, big bro Wills took his wife and three kids on a budget flight without incident. In the Windsor PR war Wills is winning.


So too is Uncle Airmiles Andy, the more hypocrisy Harry spouts, the less people think about him and his dead pal who also liked private jets.

Woke Windsors Sussex Duchess Harry Meghan
Hazza & Meg Right Royal Virtue Signallers

People Are Talking

Royal Vacuous Virtue Signallers


The Sunday Independent  




Americans, despite booting the Brits out in 1776, are obsessed with the monarchy.


Few have been as dynastic as the Trumps, with heir Ivanka included in every damn thing.  In an odd reversal of protocol, Megs and Hazza’s royalling has taken on a distinctly Hollywood tinge.


As guest editor of the famed ‘September Issue’ of Vogue the Duchess has showcased her ‘Woke’ credentials featuring, with a few honourable exceptions, young women as glossy and affluent as herself. There’s talk of a Brand Meghan clothing line a la Princess Ivanka.


Harry, once the most beloved Royal after Granny, told Vogue, without any apparent recognition of the inherent hypocrisy, that he and Megs would only have two kids – for environmental reasons. What would Granny say? Nothing. She knows when to keep schtum. 

Trump. White House President Ireland Leo Varadkar
The Doonbeg Resort

People Are Talking

Is Trump Gonna Comb Over Here?


The Sunday Independent  





If rumours that Donald Trump is going to honour us with his great orange presence (after his State Visit to Britain) are true, then PAT advises readers to invest in a pair of good protective sunglasses.  Especially those in the Doonbeg area. 


In the wake of the Not-So-Secret Service poking about in the dunes Lovely Leo has confirmed that the luminous leader of the free world may be coming. But unlike his visit to England if Trump comes it will be in a personal capacity. 


What does that mean in Trump-speak? Let's face it, he's not known for keeping things on the down low.


Whatever the status of any visit we can be sure that our politicians will be queuing up to shake the President's self-declared 'yuge' hand. No doubt hoping that some of the magic that allows him to do and say what he wants is catching. Face it lads, the only thing likely to rub off is fake tan.


Game of Thrones, Harry and Meghan, William & Kate, The Windsors
The Night King. The House of Windsor also like skiing and Winter Sports

People Are Talking

Into Africa?


The Sunday Independent  




As Game of Thrones is now in it’s final series, fans are worried about how they will replace it.


PAT suggests Britain’s longest running Soap – House of Windsor, which is no longer Corrie with tiaras but has taken a dark Gothic turn with the alleged feud between Cambridge and Sussex. 


At PAT we’ve been loath to believe it but the latest development – the notion of giving Megs and H their own little kingdom in Africa, sounds like the Princes and their wives may well be as Lannisters are to Starks. 


Are the self-styled ‘Royal Rock Stars’ too big for a small island?  Are they the ones wishing to flee the ancestral homeland, where Megs is now being called Meghan Antoinette for her conspicuous consumption? Or, is future King William feeling threatened? Who is Daenerys? And even more importantly, who is Cersei?

Australian Estate Agent, Viral Video
Dirty Dancing on the Marble Worktops

People Are Talking

Property Porn

Down Under 


The Sunday Independent  




Here at People Are Talking we’re not ashamed to admit we adore a nice bit of Property Porn. Gorgeous Georgians, Victorian Villas, Marvellous Mansions and Bijoux Bedsits – there’s nothing we like more than a good virtual poke around someone else’s interiors. 


One Aussie Estate Agent seems to have forgotten that the 'porn' bit is the also the property bit and their video of a luxury dwelling in Sydney has gone viral for all the wrong reasons. Instead of a standard virtual tour the Estate Agents, living up to all the stereotypes about their profession, decided to jazz it up with the inclusion of two mismatched dancers. (Are they burglars or home owners?) 


The toe-curling result is like one of the worst music videos the 80s ever produced (and that’s a large pool). There are too many moments of sheer awfulness to list as Mr and Mrs Raunchy prowl and jig around the house in what is, essentially, a crime against eyes. 


Also, we seriously wonder who would be induced to buy a house by watching a fella marching over the marble work surfaces in his shoes? That's pure filth and has no place in proper property porn.

Meghan Markle, Royal Family, Royal Baby
Prince Harry and Meghan

People Are Talking

Oh (Royal) Baby! 


The Sunday Independent  




Oh dear, Meghan has ‘snubbed’ the Queen’s doctors and the entire future of the UK is under threat because of it. 


The British Press are aghast, amazed and apoplectic that a 37-year-old woman would want to have a female physician attend her birth rather than a bunch of ‘men in suits’.  The cheek of the woman! 


The royal correspondents are also getting riled up because the Duchess has apparently said she wants a home birth.  OK, let’s all take a breath.  Meghan’s home birth, if she does indeed have one, will not be the usual Mrs Middle Class with the inflatable pool, scented candles and soothing sounds in the living room. 


There can be little doubt that Meghan will have a full cadre of medical professionals on hand to assist the delivery of the latest little royal. Given that Meghan only moved to the UK last year the British press should really be celebrating the fact that at least one immigrant isn’t taking advantage of the cash-strapped NHS    

Fergie, Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson, Royal Family, Windsors, Airmiles Andy
The Yorks

People Are Talking

Royals Reunited! 


The Sunday Independent  




Rumours that Fergie and Airmiles Andy have reunited prove two things.  One, Meghan is now officially The Bad One™ and two, that Brits are so fed up with the Endlessexit (formerly known as Brexit) that they will jump at any chance of diversion. 


When Sarah married Prince Andrew in 1986 she was the fun modern one who would shake up the House of Windsor, (sound familiar?). The couple divorced ten years later by which time Fergie was The Bad One™. 


While the rest of the royals shunned Sarah she and Andrew remained best of friends. Although they have now been divorced for over two decades for much of that time they’ve shared a home.  They have been so close that Fergie felt confident enough to offer an undercover reporter a meet with His Royal Highness for £500,000.


Whatever their respective romantic status there is no scoop in Fergie and Andy getting back together because they’ve never really been apart.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Royal Family, Windsors
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

People Are Talking

The Bad Royal 


The Sunday Independent  




Once upon a time there were two English princes and they each had a wife. One wife was good and the other was not. 


While this might sound current PAT has gone back in time to the 80s when Diana was the darling of the British Press and her sister-in-law Sarah, Duchess of York was routinely vilified by them and nicknamed ‘Duchess of Pork’ when she gained weight. 


Diana died and was elevated to sainthood and Prince Charles assumed the role of royal villain for decades.  But now that both his sons have wives the British Press is on repeat mode with the women.


With Meghan firmly cast as the ‘bad one’ Charles has been rehabilitated and only last week the press was lauding him as ‘buff on the beach’.


Harry and Meghan apparently intend to employ a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, as their PR guru.  They should save themselves the money and buy an extra Silver Cross pram for the baba as the British media will only let them live happily ever after when they decide to.

Duchess of Cambridge, Royals, House of Windsor, Posh & Becks
K-Middy, Kate Moss and the Backhams go to the Gala

People Are Talking

Kate Vs Charlo 


The Sunday Independent  




Ever wondered what happens when senior Royals have rival events?  Given the  guests when Princes Charles went head to head with daughter-in-law Kate we think we know. 


At the 2019 Portrait Gala, Kate went solo and stole the show not only promoting British fashion  (McQueen)  but recycling a dress from a previous occasion.  Meanwhile back at Buck Hise, Prince Charles hosted dinner for his charity the Princes Trust.


Judging by the company the respective royals kept the protocol seems to be ‘age before beauty’.  While Charlo was rubbing shoulders with George and Amal Kate got to make small talk with Posh and Becks. Charles enjoyed the company of everyone’s favourite redhead Benedict Cumberbatch while Kate was left with her cousin-in-law Princess Beatrice. 


Still though for all that Kate looked like she was having a whale of a time and genuinely enjoying herself.  Maybe that was because husband William had elected to stay home and mind the three kids. 

Berverly Hills 90210, Buffy, 90s Icon
Luke Perry

People Are Talking

The Death of the 90s 


The Sunday Independent  




This week, in an unwanted flashback to the Starmaggedon of 2016 when celeb deaths were an almost daily occurrence, we lost three famous faces from the 90s. 


Luke Perry (52) was in many ways the face of the decade.  Perry shot to fame in the iconic TV show Beverly Hills 90210 (a cross between the soaps that preceded it and the reality TV that came after).  The actor was often compared to James Dean for his looks and his bad boy 90210 character Dylan McKay. 


On the flipside from 90210 the distinctive-looking Prodigy frontman Keith Flint (49) who died on the same day as Perry, was the personification of the rave scene.


Perry and Flint's deaths were closely followed by that of TV presenter and chronicler of all things Gen X, Magenta Devine.  Devine maintained her signature 90s look of black bob, black sunglasses and red lipstick throughout her career. People from the 80s going was bad enough, but the 90s?  It’s too soon.  

Oscars, Gender, Sexism, Dress, Stereotype
Billy Porter in a dress at the Oscars

People Are Talking

A Man in a Disastrous Dress


The Sunday Independent  




At the Oscars  Billy Porter proved that women are still held to a higher standard than men.  The actor owned the red carpet by simply wearing a dress, something women have been doing forever.  Porter was almost drowned in the subsequent tsunami of gush – brave, stunning, revolutionary etc. 


Oh puh-leeze, can we just say togas, kilts and Bowie on the cover of The Man Who Sold the World in 1970! Needless to say Porter’s inclusion in the best dressed lists was a given with Vogue, no less, calling the look “unapologetically fabulous”.  Really?  A man in a dress isn’t that shocking but the actual dress was.


If any woman had the audacity to rock up to the red carpet in that atrocity – a tuxedo top and hoop skirt, she’d be on every worst dressed list going. What would have been really revolutionary would have been Porter wearing a proper gala gown like Emma Stone’s bronze Louis Vuitton number or Brie Larson’s silver sheath from Celine – that would truly be unapologetic and fabulous.

People Are Talking

Meghan's Critics on FROW


The Sunday Independent  




New York was the place to be this week.  Fashion Week attracted the usual suspects to the FROWs (front rows) many determined, it seems, to look like they’d raided the nearest Oxfam en route. (We’re looking at you Olivia Wilde and Emma Roberts.) 


Meghan Markle was in town for her baby shower which launched a deluge of nastiness in the British Press.  Why did she go to New York?  Why didn’t she invite Kate?


Has it escaped their collective notice that Meghan is, in fact, American. That the majority of her friends are Yanks and in fact, the Baby Shower is an American tradition. 


The astonishing thing about Meghan’s trip to New York is that she actually came back.  The poor woman can’t turn around without someone sticking a long lens into her baby bump and speculating that her marriage is in trouble.


The problem is, this constant scrutiny is nothing compared to what will happen once the baby has arrived. Meghan will have her own dedicated FROW nudging ever closer.

Made In Chelsea, Bryan McFadden
Vogue Williams with baby Theo and husband Spencer.

People Are Talking

Mummy Shame in Vogue


The Sunday Independent  




Model Vogue Williams has announced that she and husband, Made in Chelsea star and royal in-law Spencer Matthews are hoping to have a second child, a sibling for 5-month old baby Theodore. 


Vogue is very honest about pregnancy, birth and motherhood and stating her intention to stop breastfeeding said, “After nine months of pregnancy and six months of breastfeeding I want to feel like myself again for a while before I get pregnant again.” Vogue has already discovered, the hard way, that breastfeeding is a contentious issue explaining that she’d been subject to much criticism – a lot of it contradictory. 


“As a mum, the last thing you need is to be parent-shamed.  Negative comments do affect you.”  Poor Vogue.  She probably thinks that things will be different with baby number two.  And she would be wrong. Random strangers hectoring women about their ‘mistakes’ in childrearing, Mummy Shaming, has been in vogue for as long as women have been giving birth.

People Are Talking

Celebs Vs Paps Redux


The Sunday Independent  




In the olden days (before Trump, Brexit and the death of Bowie) the relationship between the paparazzi and celebrity was clearly defined.  The Paps were the bad guys, stalking celebs with long view lens and exposing their private moments to the world; they were blamed for everything from trampling Begonias to the death of Princess Diana.


Now that’s changed and the poor Paps are all aggrieved about being victimised by social media stars who thought it was fine and well to post their own image on their feeds.  Imagine the celebs shock when they discovered that while the photo is of them that they don’t own their own image. The snapper owns the pic until they sell it to a media outlet, a situation that Khloe Kardashian described as “mind-blowing” when sued for copyright infringement for posting a picture of herself on social media.


Model Gigi Hadid recently found herself facing a similar lawsuit. Bet Slebs secretly long for the olden days when the odd punch was thrown. 

Meghan  Markle Kate Middleton, Duchess Cambridge, Duchess Sussex
Happy (Royal) Families

People Are Talking

Royal Handbags


The Sunday Independent  




Kensington Palace revealed just how far behind the times they are this week when they appealed to social media companies to help them police their “Kensington Royal” account, which is being “bombarded” with sexist and racist abuse aimed primarily at Meghan and Kate. 


The account launched four years ago has over 7 million followers.  Anyone who has spent any time at all browsing on social media can tell you that it’s a basic sewer and uncivil discourse is par for the course.  Four years ago when Kensington Palace set the account up it was just the same.  And yet they’re shocked? 


Some of the worst posts are apparently written by the opposing ‘Team Kate’ and ‘Team Meghan’ factions who have bought into the idea that Meg and Katie are engaged in an epic feud of Bette and Joan proportions.


Meghan, despite the endless comparisons, is not Mrs Simpson and Kate is no Queen Mother. Both are too busy to be a-fighting and a-feuding. Meghan is pregnant and has avocados to smash while Kate has three young children.  

Gillette, Sexism, Toxic Masculinity
Men, brawny with egos as delicate as a 5c plastic bag.

People Are Talking

Calm Down Dear


The Sunday Independent  




Nobody listens to women. The ‘fairer sex’ are frequently hysterical, are shrews, nags, nitwits, bimbos and a seething mass of hormonal mess.  That’s the message that Madison Avenue and the advertising industry have been delivering since before Don Draper was a boy. 


If people did listen to women then they’d know that the male ego is as fragile as any Fabergé egg and a thing more delicate than a 5c plastic carrier bag.  This, Gillette, the men’s razor company, now know in the aftermath of their new their advert – ‘the best a man can do’ addressing toxic masculinity. (Basically it’s a plea to men to stop being idiots in their professional and personal lives.)  


Ironically many men responded idiotically any by throwing their razors in the bin (or toilet). Trump-licker and professional contrarian Piers Morgan called the advert a “pathetic global assault on masculinity.” Gosh. Who’s hysterical now?  Calm down dear boys, it’s only an advert.  

People Are Talking

Everyone Loves Liv


The Sunday Independent  




Given the controversy about who is or isn’t presenting the Oscars this year maybe they should just cancel the whole thing along with every other award ceremony coming down the pipe.


We’ve seen the Golden Globes and the template won’t change much. After a couple of years of anxiety about  'privilege' Hollywood has returned to it’s default setting and is no longer that fussed about #MeToo or #OscarSoWhite.


Nobody will sully their acceptance speech by mentioning Washington unless they’re Christian Bale (who has a sense of humour, who knew?).  Some slebs will post ‘ironic’ selfies like Daniel and Idris but won’t better them. 


Male actors will be allowed wear whatever they managed to iron while female actors will be scrutinised and judged ‘best’ or ‘worst’ dressed.  (And nobody will better Saoirse Ronan’s vintage couture). 


Olivia Coleman will deservedly win everything. Fine! Everyone genuinely loves Olivia Coleman. So much so, she’s allowed wear what she likes.

Royal Family, Kate Middleton, Prince William, Windsor, Cambridge
The Real Housewives of Windsor

People Are Talking

Royal Handbags


The Sunday Independent  




Royal news now.  The bit between “the wedding” and “the royal birth” has traditionally been filled with tales of The Real Housewives of Windsor at handbags. And as tradition demands, the tabloids are full of the ‘Feud’ between Meghan and Kate and the wedge they’ve apparently driven between Wills and Harry.


Whether or not there is any truth to the rumours it would be surprising if Kate & Megs were best buds. They are two very different women with little in common. Kate has spent her entire adult life as a Royal WAG. Meghan meanwhile was very much the star of her own show. To suddenly become part of a ‘pecking order’ and not at the top either, must be difficult.


And then there’s the families. The much maligned middle-class Middletons have held their respective tongues and (apart from Uncle Gary) kept the side up. The Markles, on the other hand, cannot shut up and could lower the tone on The Jerry Springer Show.

Traffic Cone
Traffic Cone

Sarah Walker Show on BBC Radio Berkshire 


Tuesday 27th November from 20 mins 



Tales of Terror!


And Traffic Cones!





Paris Hilton, Nicky Hilton, The Hilton Sisters, The Simple Life
Paris & Chris in happier times.

People Are Talking

Another Does of Paris


The Sunday Independent  




It would be a lie to say Oughties ‘It Girl’ and Grand Dame of Reality TV Paris Hilton is back.  Paris is the gift that keeps on giving and never really goes away. What we’re experiencing right now is another Paris flare.


The Great Granddaughter of famous hotelier Conrad Hilton, and one of the original ‘famous for being famous’ celebutantes, never strays far from the public eye and like her Great Aunt Elizabeth Taylor is now mainly known for two things – schilling perfume (between them they have the top sales for celeb-endorsed scent) and men. 


Taylor began her serial marriage career with Nicky Hilton, Conrad’s heir and went on to have several more husbands.  While Paris has never married she has never lacked for company or engagement rings. 


The latest rock, from the latest ex-fiancé, actor Chris Zylka, is valued at an alleged $2 million. You'd forgive Chris wanting the rock back until you hear he apparently didn’t buy it in the first place. Oof, that’s not so hot Chris.

People Are Talking

I'm a Celeb Sex Change!


The Sunday Independent  




It’s back! The official ‘bit between Halloween and Christmas,’ I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, returns for the 18th time tonight.


But while we will all be tuning in tonight to gawp at the latest group of masochistic (or very ill-informed by their agent) group of Slebs including John Barrowman, Harry Rednapp and Anne ‘The Governess’ Hegarty, the question is, will we continue to tune in tomorrow?


The success of I’m A Celeb doesn’t rely on contestants being ritually humiliated by having to eat the reproductive parts of kangaroos and being encased in a variety of nightmare insects. The real draw has always been Ant and Dec commenting from the side lines.


This year, for the first time ever, there will be no Ant. Instead his role is being played by Holly Willoughby. While Jody Whittaker as the first woman Dr Who has been a raging success, we’re not sure that Holly Willoughby as the first woman Ant will be quite so amusing.

Victoria Beckham, Ginger Spice, Scary Spice, Geri Halliwell, Cheryl Cole
The Spice Girls 2018

People Are Talking

Spice up your life!


The Sunday Independent  




Ah nostalgia, the opium of the masses. Over in the Food Bank Britain, where Brexit, to paraphrase Prince Charles, “whatever that is,” is coming at them fast, the public want to bury their collective heads in the glory days of ‘Cool Britannia’.


And so, The Spice Girls are reforming! Ginger in her Union Jack dress will certainly show those Eurocrats what Brexit means. Not only have the Spice Girls announced their imminent return but ‘Cheryl’ (Tweedy-Cole-Fernandez-Versini) has released a new single. 


We have to hand it to Cheryl for her persistence, a full twelve years after she peaked at the 2006 World Cup, when she and Victoria Beckham were the undisputed Queen WAGs.


VB aka Posh is not joining the upcoming Spice Girls reunion – we can only surmise that Brand Beckham has enough money.  Maybe Baby, Sporty, Scary and Ginger can find it in their hearts to give Cheryl a musical home and a name that sticks - Alphabet Spice to celebrate her many initials perhaps.



Windsor, Queen, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton
Meghan and Harry on Royal Walkabout

People Are Talking

In Fairness, Duchess!


The Sunday Independent  




Oh Meghan.  All she had to do to make a ‘huge success’ of her tour of Down Under was to show up in a fancy frock, smile and occasionally pat her non-existent bump. 


But no, Meghan was determined to be a modern Royal and make a speech.  Has nobody explained to the former actress that Princesses are meant to be seen (in an array of fashionable clothes) but not heard? The last woman who got to shoot her mouth off in the ancient feudal system of the Royal Family was Elizabeth I.


Maybe in private, meek Meghan is as ferocious as old Queen Bess, because apparently nobody had the nerve to tell her that having given up her job to live off her husband, (who in turn lives off the State – leaving aside the good teeth and expensive clobber, the Windsors are basically Jeremy Kyle fodder,) that perhaps, "feminism" wasn't the best topic. 


Not content with that, this latest representative of Britain's ruling dynasty announced Feminism was about fairness. Fairness? In pure fairness....

Fairies, Folklore, Mythology, Tua de Danann
Irish Fairies



Sarah Walker Show on BBC Radio Berkshire 


Wednesday 31st October from 20 mins 



Away With the Fairies!





The Menopause & Michelle


From light entertainer to hard-hitting health advocate, Michelle Heaton talks to Anne Marie Scanlon about life after a double mastectomy and hysterectomy. 


The Sunday Independent  



Michelle Heaton jumps up out of her seat to hug me.  “Oh it’s lovely to see you again,” she says in her distinctive Geordie accent.  I’m shocked.  First, I can’t believe she remembers me – we ran into each other with our respective families in Disneyland Paris a few years ago. 


Secondly her warmth has put me on the back foot. I’d had a great craic with Heaton’s Dubliner husband Hugh Hanley, while the former Liberty X singer seemed more than a bit standoffish. 


As Heaton and I chat, I realise that keeping it at ‘standoffish’ must have been a huge challenge for her as she was battling menopausal symptoms – in the Magic Kingdom, with two small children.  Standoffish, was a triumph of will power.


Heaton is meeting me to discuss her unlikely role as an advocate for Menopause Awareness. I say unlikely because the singer is still in her 30s. Heaton has a family history of cancer and specifically breast cancer. She famously had a pre-emptive double mastectomy and hysterectomy when she tested positive for BRAC1. She was widely hailed for her bravery but when the hoopla died down she found herself in the unusual position of being a menopausal woman with a small child and a baby.


Heaton is tiny, even in heels.  She has to reach up to kiss me on the cheek and I feel like a lumbering giant beside her.  To compound the awkwardness, I manage to cop a feel of her boob as we come out of the embrace.  When I apologise she laughs and tells me she’s got no feeling in her boobs anyway - another side effect of the double mastectomy.


We’re in the Ivy Tower Hill for brunch and Heaton tells that she’s quite happy to kick back and have a Mimosa without someone calling for their bottom to be wiped. Under the makeup she looks exhausted and she says that she’s been suffering from insomnia which has exacerbated her already severe menopausal mood swings. Like many women Heaton was unprepared for the physical, mental and emotional impact of menopause. “Mr Sheridan (her surgeon), he did tell me... but the only thing that stuck in my head was putting on weight and that’s the least of my worries now,” she says, half laughing.  


The singer and I spend a lot of time empathising with each other over night sweats, mood swings and many of the other frightening and uncomfortable things that happen to a woman’s body during menopause. As a result of her own experience Heaton thinks that women need to start speaking up and speaking out.  “We’re not told about it; we don’t talk about it. It took me going though it… before this I was as ignorant as everybody else.”  I agree with Heaton completely and ask her why she think’s this important period in a woman’s life, and one which ultimately affects almost all women, is such a taboo?


“It’s like a shameful word or admittance,” Heaton replies.  “We are taught to feel (shame). Men don’t want to talk about it but will use it to blame us – “oh she’s going through menopause, that’s why she’s a bitch.”” Heaton firmly believes that it’s not just women who need to be educated about this time of their life but men too.

The entertainer goes on to say she thinks “the change” has a detrimental effect on marriages and relationships.  “I saw the deterioration of my Mum and Dad’s marriage and now I look back and think surely that had to be part of it.


Heaton met her husband Hugh, a decade ago, when she lived in Ireland for three years.  While here she worked with the Sunday Independent’s Brendan O’Connor on You’re a Star.  “Brendan was hard work,” she says with a cheeky smile. “I’d say that to his face too. But I love him and I miss him.  Tell him I miss him!” Heaton’s grin becomes bigger as she recalls meeting “my Hughie” in Dublin.  “Tara Sinnott introduced him to me as her future husband and I was like NO!” she laughs. 


These days she feels guilty that her husband suffers fall out from her menopausal symptoms telling me she gets ‘Super Rage’.  She goes on to say that only the day before, while at home in London, the ‘switch’ from ‘normal’ to ‘super rage’ occurred.  “It was because I had nothing to wear,” she says, “which is really fucking stupid because I have three wardrobes but in that moment I had nothing to wear and I took it out on my husband who didn’t know what to do.” She goes on to say that Hanley calmly told her “I don’t know what to do with you, I don’t know what to do any more because whatever I say is wrong.”


“And that was wrong!” she continues, laughing in retrospect.  She does an impression of her own high-pitch screeching, “What do you mean you don’t know what to say? I want a reaction!  He said “if I give you a reaction then it’s going to get worse and then the kids will ask is Mummy OK Daddy?” And that killed me,” she finishes looking as if she may cry.


Anyone unused to the menopause might read that paragraph and dismiss Heaton as a spoiled Diva reacting over nothing. But that’s the point. The hormonal surges of adolescence are tiny ripples compared to the tsunami that middle-aged women have to cope with.  Of course that’s Heaton’s other problem – she’s still a young woman.  Most of her friends are, like herself, women with young kids, who are a decade or two away from their own menopause. Heaton admits to feeling lonely and, as a result of this, feeling that she can’t really talk about it “because I don’t want my friends to feel awkward,” and says she self-censors continually as she feels like she’s constantly “moaning.”


Heaton goes on to say that speaking out publicly, writing her book, Hot Flush: Motherhood, the Menopause and Me, and talking to her husband has helped.  She urges women to smash the taboo and speak out.


Heaton has also recently become spokesperson for Femarelle® – a new supplement designed specifically as an alternative for women unable to take HRT. While Femarelle® is primarily a replacement therapy for HRT Heaton is taking it, under medical supervision, along with using a HRT patch.  She says that since starting the supplement she thinks her mood swings have become less severe and she’s hoping that she will stop struggling with insomnia too.


As I leave, to another long squeezy hug, she says that she loves Dublin.