The TV and theatre actress spoke to Mother&Baby about what it’s like being a 40-something mum to two young daughters, kitchen dance parties and back-to-school excitement
Straight-talking Tamzin Outhwaite may come across as a little bit stern as DCI Sasha Miller in New Tricks but at home the 43-year-old star is all about having fun with her daughters. Mum to six year old Florence and two year old Marnie, Tamzin insists that despite being an older mum, she’s ‘more ready to be a parent than ever before.’
‘I wasn’t ready to be a parent in my 20s and early 30s,’ she says. ‘And I’m incredibly young at heart.’ Rocking out in the kitchen to the Frozen soundtrack with her girls is a daily norm.
'I’m incredibly young at heart'
Both girls have their own strong personalities to contend with. ‘Florence is a perfectionist,’ says Tamzin. ‘I’m trying to teach her how to turn a negative into a positive if something doesn’t go quite as she wants it.’ And Marnie’s the family joker. ‘She really knows how to make people laugh,’ says Tamzin.
Tamzin and the girls’ dad, actor Tom Ellis, chose to give both girls quite old-fashioned names. ‘Florence’s name was inspired by the place, which I love, and the character from The Magic Roundabout, which I watched as a child,’ says Tamzin. ‘Plus, it has lots of abbreviations so she has lots of different names.’ Florence’s middle name, Elsie, was given in memory of Tamzin’s late grandmother.
‘Marnie’s name is also shortened a lot,’ says Tamzin. ‘We call her Marnie Moo or Moon Bean.’
Two difficult pregnancies
But while Tamzin clearly loves motherhood, she wasn’t such a fan of pregnancy. Having suffered from bouts of sciatica and morning sickness in both her pregnancies, she admits it wasn’t a good time for her. ‘I didn’t like being pregnant – it felt like a long time,’ says Tamzin. ‘I’m wary of people who say that it’s amazing. I enjoyed it in phases, but I didn’t feel graceful.’
The girls’ births weren’t easy, either. Both were breech births, which ‘took the decisions away’ from Tamzin.
'Parenthood puts everything into perspective, life wise'
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Regaining her enviable post-baby figure after both pregnancies was another struggle – but one that Tamzin has a refreshingly healthy attitude to. ‘I took me a long time to get my pre-baby body back,’ she recalls. ‘But then I stopped worrying and it happened. I figured if it took nine months to grow a baby then it’s going to take at least that to lose the weight.’
A slim and trim figure definitely isn’t at the top of Tamzin’s priority list. ‘Parenthood puts everything into perspective, life wise,’ says Tamzin. ‘Nothing is as important as your children’s health. And you’ve got to take the time to enjoy each moment because you’re not going to be around forever.
‘It’s amazing watching them interact with each other. A child’s laughter is the best sound a parent can hear.’
Back to school
Tamzin’s eldest is about to start her second year of school and both mother and daughter are looking forward to it – and have already been getting prepared by buying shoes from Clarks’ back-to-school range, which Tamzin is the style ambassador of.
‘School is something solid for her to do all day,’ says Tamzin. ‘Six weeks is a long time for children to have off school.’
'The girls are at an age now where they’re starting to become friends'
The baby of the family, Marnie, will start nursery in September but although she doesn’t really understand it, Florence can’t wait for her baby sis to join the school run. ‘Flo’s really excited about dropping her off on the way to school,’ Tamzin says. ‘The girls are at an age now where they’re starting to become friends.’
A healthy work and family balance
Tamzin’s been able to spend lots of times with her family this summer as she’s had seven weeks off, in between filming New Tricks and rehearsals for her new play, Breeders. While her work schedule is unpredictable and childcare is a necessity, Tamzin says it works for her.
‘The career I have means that it’s a strange balance [between parenthood and work] but it does work out,’ says Tamzin.
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Her advice to other parents? ‘Don’t stress,’ says Tamzin. ‘There’s all these development milestones that people talk about, but I don’t stress about them. For example, I’m still trying to wean Marnie off her dummy – something that I thought would’ve happened by now. But you don’t see adults with dummies, so I know it will happen eventually. For now, it’s a comfort to her at night and anything that comforts my children is fine by me.’
Tamzin is the style ambassador for the Clarks 'Back to School' campaign. For more information and to book a fitting appointment visit Clarks' website.