Throughout lockdown, we’ve loved settling down for the evening in front of the TV with a cuppa after putting the little ones to bed. And although some of our favourite TV series have been put on hold due to the pandemic, one show we have been loving is The Mummy Diaries with Sam and Billie. That’s why we’re so pleased that the lovely sisters and their families will be back on our screens this week with series nine (yes nine!) of their show.
We caught up with Sam and Billie to find out how it was to film during this latest lockdown period.
Billie: “This series has been a lot during lockdown. There’s always different stuff going on, but you will get a real insight into what we have been doing in lockdown which is probably pretty much the same as what everyone else has been doing!
“Also, with me personally, viewers will see my Dancing on Ice experience with the start of it, and obviously the very abrupt end. There’s also the house renovations we’re starting to move on with, so there’s still been bits going on, but a lot of the series is lockdown.”
Series nine will be the second series of The Mummy Diaries filmed during a pandemic, and it’s fair to say it came with its challenges.
Sam: “For me, not being able to do stuff together was hard. A lot of the time, Billie and the Shepherds would do their thing, we would do ours and then we would come together at the end of each episode with the kids for a dinner. Being with the kids, mum and Billie, is what I’ve really missed this series.
“Obviously, we’ve done video calls and there are a few bits we’ve filmed together at the start of the series, but it is quite hard cos the kids love getting together. It’s great content, they’re cousins, they love each other, we’ve always got so much to talk about and catch up on and I really missed that towards the end part of the series.”
Billie: “That’s probably what I found most difficult as well, not being able to do all the stuff we would normally do together with the kids. And that’s probably the only part of the series we feel doesn’t feel the same as normal, but then everyone is in this position, so everyone gets it and understands.”
The families have now been documenting their lives since 2016, and it feels like we’ve seen their tots grow up on screen, so we wondered, do the kids love watching themselves back on TV?
Sam: “The kids absolutely love watching the Mummy Diaries, mine never really used to but as they’ve got older, they like watching Nelly and Arthur so they watch their own scenes but they’re more interested in seeing what Nelly and Arthur are doing.”
Billie: “That’s exactly like my two with Rosie and Paul they want to see what they’ve been doing!”
Juggling work, home schooling, childcare and everything else us mums have to deal with can be tough at the best of times, but especially in a pandemic. Like many of us, it sounds like the sisters have gotten through this difficult year by staying connected to their loved ones and making sure they maintain a healthy balance of work and home life.
Sam: “It’s difficult because it has been tough at times, but we’ve still been able to work so we’ve been able to film two series during lockdown and a pandemic, so I feel quite lucky in that sense. But quite a lot of people might speak to me on DM’s and reach out to me asking how I cope with two small children and being indoors all the time and not being able to get out.
“Everyone is looking for inspiration and what to do and ways to keep their spirits up. We have a girl group chat and to be honest, it’s a bit dry at the moment but every now and then, everyone asks how are you all? Are you okay? We video call all the time and me, mum and sis have a group phone conversation almost every day. And I think it’s those things that are still really important for your mental health and staying happy and positive – just having the right people to speak to every day makes a big difference.”
Billie: “I wouldn’t say I really struggled but like most parents at home, you can’t get anything done and you find yourself getting stressed and worked up. But what I’ve realised about myself, especially with having the kids home all the time, it’s more about setting yourself smaller tasks.
“So, I would try and do a million and one things in one day and then get really frustrated with myself cos I thought I haven’t done this, I was going to clear that cupboard out. So now I kind of think just set yourself smaller tasks and have a good balance of that mixed with work and don’t be so hard on yourself. I think that’s really important because it is impossible to do everything at the moment, especially when you’ve got the kids at home. I think everyone is really feeling it now.”
The new series of Sam & Billie: The Mummy Diaries starts Wednesday 24 February at 9pm on ITVBe.