“I did two weeks without drinking recently and I missed the ritual of pouring a glass of wine once the kids were in bed to signal the end of the slog each day.” Mum-of-two Polly Geal (@Polly__Loves) talks family life with The Early Hour…
Polly Geal (Polly_loves), 35, is a family photographer and blogger. She lives in London with her husband Oli and their two kids: Raff, four, and Elsie, two – and works from home mostly, unless out on a shoot.
Our mornings are… More structured now than they’ve ever been because my son has just started school. I am not great in the mornings and like to start the day slowly so it’s been a bit of a shock to the system having to get everyone up, dressed, fed and out the door by a fixed time. On weekends we have cuddles in our bed and stay in our pyjamas as long as possible before having a treaty breakfast together like avocado toast with dippy eggs.
My kids mainly wear… I don’t spend a fortune on kids’ clothes because we can’t afford to and it just doesn’t sit comfortably with me. Instead my kids wear a lot of high street clothes (we love Zara and H&M) mixed in with a few special items from small brands and makers like Rainer and Bear, Little Cotton Clothes, Coco & Wolf and Hello Minouche.
We are also very lucky that my mum is a bit on the crafty side and makes them beautiful knitwear each year. I also love finding gems on Ebay and in charity shops for the kids, especially vintage.
I cope with clutter by… I don’t really cope with clutter, my mood is better when there is a little bit of order because I work a lot from home. I have the drawer of doom, which is where everything ends up at the end of the day if I can’t be bothered to tidy up. The kids don’t have an obscene amount of toys as we believe less is more when it comes to stimulating play, and what they do have we keep in baskets so it’s easier for them to scoop up their ‘stuff’ and put it away when that time comes.
I never leave the house without… My kids! Well occasionally I do and it is liberating, let me tell you! But seriously, I never leave home without my phone, keys, baby wipes, some fruit and snacks – because my children have insatiable appetites – & Other Stories Perle de Coco hand cream, and a notebook because I have a memory like a fish so I have to write stuff down as I go to save me forgetting everything.
When no one’s looking… I’m not much of a chocolate eater by day but I am a wine drinker by night. My husband and I did two weeks without drinking recently and I missed the ritual of pouring a glass of wine once the kids were in bed to signal the end of the slog each day. We started making non-alcoholic cocktails instead which was fun. It definitely helped us cut down and reminded me there are lots of other ways to relax and unwind.
I encourage creativity… by allowing the kids to get bored rather than populating all their free time with activities to keep them occupied. I don’t believe in over scheduling – I think it’s important for kids to have to think for themselves, to come up with their own ideas of what they are going to do with their time and to play uninhibited, and freely without too much structure. We also do art of some kind every day – I’ll put the crayons and pencils out on the kitchen table every afternoon and the kids can help themselves when they feel like drawing.
I’ll never be able to part with… My photos and the vintage enamel brooch my husband gave me on our wedding day.
When all else fails we… Go on a walk. Rain or shine I find getting out and letting the kids run free and explore in nature is restorative and calming – for them and for me. We live near the river so we’ll walk along there and go exploring. We also live opposite a children’s playground, which is very handy when things go a bit bonkers at home and we need a quick escape.