Paloma Faith chats to Katy Pearson about life as a single mum, adventures in Southend and the battle to forgive herself...

The track list on Paloma Faith's newest album is a bit of a giveaway when it comes to what's been going on in the singer's personal life of late.

How You Leave A Man, Eat Sh*t and Die, Divorce, The Big Bang Ending... the entire album is almost an ode to breaking up.

No surprise when you consider it was only last August that Faith announced her separation from French artist, Leyman Lahcine - with whom she shares two daughters, aged seven and three.

And the How You Leave A Man hitmaker has been vocal about the impact having children can have on relationships.

'You lose your entire identity, and not only have you got to adapt and get used to this new person [the baby], you have to learn and get used to yourself again - because you're irreversibly changed,' Faith, 42, explains.

'Your entire existence is completely dismantled [when you have a child] and then you're told to put it back together, but there's no manual and you don't remember where the bits are.

Great British Life: Paloma FaithPaloma Faith (Image: PA)

'I think its difficult to like love anybody whether it’s the father of the kids or a new person enough to make them feel fulfilled when you have got children.

'And you have two choices: you either try and cobble it together to look a bit like a version of what it was before, or you go, I reject that, I'm making a completely new thing out of it. And I think that's what I did - and I think that's what killed my relationship. I was like, that's not me anymore.'

Since becoming a single mum, she said: 'I feel like the lack of resentment is so tangible. I found it really stifling - and I don't resent anything anymore.'

But that doesn't mean the decision to split was an easy one. In fact, as Faith tells me when we chatter via Zoom (she's lounging on a leopard print couch, in an old-school style Kappa tracksuit), she's still not sure the break-up was the "right thing."

'I think society puts too much pressure on us to know what we want and what the right thing is. Sometimes it is like both options are quite sh*t. Like staying with someone when it’s not that fulfilling is quite sh*t isn’t it?

'But then breaking up and being a single mum is sh***y as well. You feel like you've gone against your maternal duty or something.

'Trying to learn how to navigate that on your own and then potentially integrating another person in is difficult. I don't know if anyone ever really knows what they want. They might know for a split second, and go, I'm just gonna do it - and then you live with the consequences.'

New album, The Glorification of Sadness, is "a manifestation of [the] break down" she had after the split from Lahcine. From her latest empowering single Bad Woman, to album track Eat S*** And Die, it's a raw and vulnerable account of the rollor-coaster of emotions during a break-up.

Great British Life: Paloma FaithPaloma Faith (Image: PA)

But the emotion would have been there whatever decision she'd made about her relationship, she says/

'It would have been just as difficult to stay as it was to leave. I would have written just as emotional an album if I had stayed with him, that was all about the suffering of being in a long-term relationship.'

One thing she struggled with post-children was having to act as "a mother" to other people as well - 'and not just my boyfriend but lots of friends, my own mother, family members...'

She added: 'I just can't do those things anymore. I think a lot of women who don't say "I can't" are sort of pretending that they can, and then suffering from burnout.

'I've never really understood the word boundaries because I came from a crazy, traumatic childhood" (her parents separated when she was two).

'But after having kids, I became very boundaried and I think people didn't really recognise me. I didn't even recognise me, because [it's in] my nature to feel guilty.'

She confesses that she feels rather let down by feminism. For years women have been told we could have it all, 'but what that actually means is doing it all,' she muses.

'We are burning out. I am writing a book about it at the moment because I am struggling with it.

'I think most women do. Whether they have got kids or not I think women are just a little bit abandoned by feminism now.'

Co-parenting is something else she's grappling with.

'If you are lucky like me, when the kids go to their dad’s twice a week then you get free nights off which you’ve never had before.

'Sometimes I absolutely hate it and I keep nudging and trying to get him to invite me over.

'I’ll be like “yeah I’m a bit lonely today” and it takes him a while for him to say “do you want to come with us?” and I’m like “yeah thanks, OK.”

'And then other times I just love it and I think “oh my God, this is what I need” I might just stay in and watch a film or go out with friends or whatever, but I always try and make sure that I know what I’m doing because when I don’t I can get sad.

'I think with the distance, my kids' dad really appreciates me in ways that maybe he didn't say before. We take time out to say "you're brilliant" to each other, which we didn't do before. I'll say, 'I'm so lucky that my kids are your kids

Mentally, Faith, whose UK tour started in April , is in a better place now after 'the most dramatic period' of her life.

'When I first ended it, I felt I had to sort of perpetuate this idea that I could power through and continue to kind of do everything, and I think that I burned out, I do think that I had a kind of breakdown when I broke up with my kids' dad,' she said.

'Now I feel better in the sense that [I'm] a bit more kind to myself in knowing what I have capacity for. My priorities are clearer and less blurry to me than they have been for several years.'

Great British Life: Paloma Faith at Adventure IslandPaloma Faith at Adventure Island (Image: Adventure Island UK)

Touring with the kids is not something that is fazing her.

'I have done two tours now with the kids and I feel like it is now more our life, so I’m sort of prepared for it.

'I am really lucky because I have an amazing nanny/child care person that helps me and is quite like-minded - definitely the reason why it doesn’t feel as stressful as it did.

'My kids are a little bit older now. I’ve got a seven-year-old and a three-year-old and I just think there is a slight difference between touring with a baby and touring with two children.

'I mean the three-year-old can cope if she doesn’t get her nap or if she has had a bad night's sleep. She can cope, same with the older, now it’s sort of a fun thing for them rather than a screaming baby who hates the fact that the bus is parked next to the massive sleeper or whatever.'

Paloma will be performing at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend on May 15. It's a return to the city for the star, who was only in Southend a few weeks back.

She visited Adventure Island, posing with "Elvistein", tucked into fish and chips at its Sands By The Sea restaurant and also visited nearby Scott's of Southend garden centre, in Sutton Road, for it's popular "meet the animals" event, snapping a selfie with one of its adorable ducks.

She's likely to do more of the same when she's back with her girls in tow, she says.

'We always just try and spend the days doing fun things.

'We just try and go out into the world and see a bit of wherever we are at. Do some baby groups, go to the sea, get ice cream. We have adventures. We try and make the most of the travel together.'

And although she’s “on route” to a period of happiness, she can’t quite yet see the decision to split as choosing a happier path for herself.

'I think to feel that way, I’d need to have forgiven myself, and I’m not there yet,' she says.

Forgiven herself for what exactly? 'For him not being enough for me.'