Smile for the camera…

This is a brave edition of this long running blog. Foolhardy even but needs must.

I have set a high bar for this weekly epistle. My readers expect many things including candour. They demand quality, some pathos, wisdom but above all else, they want to smile and occasionally laugh.

And to create this alchemy, if I have to throw my wife under the bus (or to the lions) then so be it.

Still with me?

Then read on…

Nothing unusual about a dog walk for team Holland. Just another walk in Richmond Park for a middle-aged couple and their beloved dog. Well, normal to a point insofar as the old couple and their beautiful dog were joined by their eldest son, Tom and his very close companion, the actress Zendaya.

A lovely dog walk then, what could go wrong?


Some way in to the walk, Nikki’s phone rang (not unusual) but she actually answered it (which is unusual) but this is another issue aside.

Calling Nikki is Andrea, a trustee of The Brothers Trust. Andrea is a lawyer who offers sage advice on all things philanthropic and the smooth running of an organisation like TBT.

“Hi Nikki, what house number are you?” Andrea asked sounding a little flustered and urgent.

Nikki’s face drops. Why does Andrea want to know our house number?

“I’m here for my head shot… for the website… like we arranged…”

Another epic diary fail which immediately plunges Nikki into a panic. No point in offering excuses, Nikki explains her whereabouts, apologises profusely and sets off in haste for the car. Fortunate that Tessa has pooed already because her walk is over.

En-route home, Nikki’s dread builds at the thought of how we left the house. Certainly, in no state for a non-family member to witness and especially Andrea who happens to live in a palace nearby. At present, our patio is being re-laid, I have left a frying pan in the garden to cool off after last evenings poppadom’s and there is damp laundry hanging from airers and from every other vantage spot throughout the ground floor.

As our car pulls up, Andrea is waiting patiently.

Nikki tears into the house and tries to explain herself with humour…

‘Sorry, we met at university, so we still live like students…’

The shoot goes well. Andrea is recorded for posterity and will shortly be on our website. Panic over. Everything is okay. Nothing to see here…

Until a few days later when the world’s biggest website – decided to make our dog walk even more traumatic for my shy wife.

A photographer with a long lens and a dubious moral code had been merrily snapping away at the famous duo amongst us.

Of course, this is something which we half expected but always hoped wouldn’t happen. Lots of celebrities pay money to be ‘papped’ and covered in the press but not in this instance and so it feels intrusive and an indictment on us all. Being famous nowadays is more exposing since everyone has a phone and a platform. A cost and a burden of success and popularity although unfair when an unsuspecting mum is caught unawares and looking like a ‘monster’ – her word, not mine.

Show rather than tell is a great mantra for the arts – but I would never be so unkind to reproduce this photograph here – but to say, its easily findable and if you’re reading this blog, then you have the means!

Days later, Nikki stares at the photo in question and is aghast. She closes her laptop and takes immediate action…

She makes an appointment to see her hairdresser.

Her hopes that no one will see the images are short-lived as her phone starts to ping from her well-meaning ‘friends.’

It’s almost as though an impromptu WhatsApp group had been established.

Perhaps called something like, Nikki Papped.

Anyway, as the laughter and glee fades, the girlfriends rallied and assured Nikki that she is in fact gorgeousssss…

But walking Tessa will never ever be the same again. Not with the prospect of being secretly photographed. Now, Nikki will have outfits to consider. To choose leggings that are flattering. To opt for a coat she hasn’t worn already…

‘How does my hair look?’

Who gives a shit? Tessa needs a poo.

But I won’t say this of course. Far too risky. I will wait patiently even if a hair dryer is required.

Our hope is that now the world has seen the young couple on a dog walk and a supermarket shop that they might be left alone – but Nikki is taking no chances – big hair and full make up from now on which but will count for nothing if she’s snapped picking up a dog poo.



You can watch me reading today’s blog on my YouTube channel.

Takes on Life Vol. 2 is published on May 1st and can be pre-ordered now.

The podcast Takes on Life is scheduled to begin April 5th (but subject to change) (highly probable)…

For more blogs like this and hours of extra content are all on my Patreon – as well as the chance to get Vol.2 now.






16 thoughts on “Smile for the camera…

  1. Kim says:

    Thanks for sharing this blog. I’m so sorry you all had to endure this inexcusable behaviour. It goes without saying that Nikki is naturally gorgeous, whatever the occasion.

    It always makes me so angry to see these stolen images. The ‘people’ who take, deal in and share these photos are beneath contempt. I share your hope that your two youngsters are left in peace now and have their privacy respected.
    I also hope that this experience hasn’t tainted your family time together, especially as it isn’t often you are all able to be in the same place at the same time.

    Wishing you all have a happy and peaceful week ahead. Take care of yourselves ❤️

  2. Cushla Love says:

    I feel for her, some people just don’t know when to stop, and respect people’s privacy.
    Nikki is gorgeous there is no denying even if she doesn’t admit it. When i saw the photo I didn’t think a thing of her appearance, you all looked great!

  3. Heather White says:

    I’d reassure Nikki that she looked great (she did), but I also know I’d feel exactly as she does if the same were to happen to me. I don’t know how Tom & Zendaya deal with such intrusions, and they (and you) shouldn’t have to. I also relate to the unexpected guest arriving at the not-show-ready house. That one stings a little more for me! Enjoy your Sunday.

  4. Jasmine Williams says:

    For starters, that’s ridiculous y’all have to deal with those creeps following around. But I did search to see and Nikki doesn’t need to feel self conscious she looks beautifully casual. Hopefully she won’t worry too long because she’s gorgeous!

  5. Yuna says:

    Great blog ,com . I know for that Everyone have ur respect , but in the same way, i Hope that had a lovelt walk and i Hope u are urs a lovelt and blessed week .

  6. Anna D says:

    I read your blog every week but it’s the first time i want to write and answer something. I don’t know how would i feel if this happened to me but i want just to say that Nikki is beautiful all the time !!! inside et outside and if the others are not agree with this, they have to look after his own business (sorry for my English i’m french …)

  7. Kimberly Dahlberg says:

    Thank you for writing about this Dom. I feel so bad that you all had to go through this. I hope Nikki realizes she is one of the most stunning people ever.

  8. Sara says:

    I truly enjoy your take on life and all that it entails. I look forward to this weekly. Just to add you and your wife are a lovely couple… Privacy seems to be a thing of the past sadly.

  9. Janos says:

    I don’t know how do the lovely young couple feel about those intrusive photos. I wouldn’t want to excuse the “dubious moral code” photographers, but I think that many people who see this photos are happy – without any intrusive intent. I don’t know if I’m right, but I think that most of the “fandom” for them is not the usual hysteria, as people used to express themselves towards celebrities and movie stars. They are somehow different from the average Hollywood-type celebrity, so people’s love for them is somehow different – maybe more “personal”.

    They are not only a beautiful young couple, but extremely kind, intelligent and down-to-earth people with normal thinking, close family ties and preserved old friendships. Both of them have a normal, loving and supportive family background. I think many people are happy with such pictures simply because they see that they are well, they love each other, and they spend pleasant time with their loved ones. And maybe the world appears a little better because of this.

    Sorry for my bad English, I hope you understand what I write. I wish the lovely young couple and their entire family and friends all the best.

  10. Karen Serio says:

    Very funny blog today but personal privacy is a terrible price to pay for fame. Big hugs to Nikki who is truly gorgeous and a few bad pictures will never change that fact.

  11. S says:

    Thanks for this blog! I’m seriously against sneaky pics being taken, by fans and paps. Yeah being a celebrity has its downside of not having much privacy but it’s still wrong. Celebs are people too and should be able to enjoy the simple things of going shopping or walking the family dog. It’s a shame. I really hope that they can have and enjoy a free pap day out ☺️

  12. Jane says:

    I read your blog every week and always enjoy a good chuckle, but this one is different. I applaud the fact that you were “brave “ enough to write and publish it. Far from throwing Nikki under the bus, it highlights the injustice s many people are subjected to by the media and your support for your family.
    Keep up the great work.

  13. Jane says:

    Congratulations on being”brave” enough to write and publish this piece. Far from throwing Nikki under the bus, it demonstrates your love and support for your family and the media’s intrusion into people’s private lives.

  14. Elsie says:

    I laughed at the last part! “Who gives a shit, Tessa has to poo”.. oh man. This sounds just like my husband. Once again sir, awesome read! And tell Miss Nikki she looks fine. And we do love seeing you and thw whole family doing walks. ❤️

  15. Moony says:

    Thanks for addressing the matter of those leeches known as the papperazzi, Dom! It’s terrible that a simple pleasant walk was turned into an opportunity for the papps to invade a private moment! I will never understand why there is a market for this kind of invasion! Even worse when the papperazzi is actually sanctioned by some celebrities for more fame & fortune! Nobody needs that kind of fame or desperation! I am glad that this is not the case with your family and friends. I’m just sorry such a pleasant day was turned sour or caused any anxiety because papperazzi don’t understand the meaning of “right to privacy!” As for Mrs. Nikki, she is lovely! It’s not possible for her, or any of you, to turn out a bad pic! 😂👍 Just wanted to mention that! Thanks for such a great blog and books too, Dom! Have a good rest of the weekend.

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