My Morning Routine: Annie Ridout, editor of The Early Hour

Annie Ridout

At The Early Hour, we love to hear about how other people’s mornings unravel – so we’ve launched a new series: My Morning Routine. First up, the editor Annie Ridout shares hers. With two young kids, it’s a mixture of wholesome, chaotic and fun…

Annie Ridout is 32 and lives in east London with her husband and their two children – aged three, and eight months old. She’s founder and editor of The Early Hour, as well as a freelance journalist (the Guardian, Red Magazine) and BBC radio contributor. Annie will be speaking at Stylist Live on Friday 10 November – on the Morning Routines of Successful Women, alongside wellness and nutrition expert Jasmine Hemsley and Propercorn entrepreneur Cassandra Stavrou.

What time are you up in the morning?
At the moment, the baby wakes for a quick feed around 5.30am then goes back to sleep until 6.30am. So we’re up at 6.30, but I’m awake from 5.30. I’m hoping this will get later in time.

And what time have you usually gone to bed?
Bedtime is usually 10pm, but lately I’ve been especially tired, so 8.30pm (!). It doesn’t leave much time for TV-watching or evening work.

What’s the minimum amount of sleep you need each night?
I thrive on 10 hours. I’m good on eight. I can survive on six. I’m loopy on anything less.

What wakes you up in the morning?
My baby son.

How do you feel?
For a while, panicked (“when will he start sleeping later??”). Now: resigned.

Would you describe yourself as a ‘morning person’?
Absolutely, yes. I love mornings. When I’m getting a full night’s sleep, I like getting up before the rest of the house and having some alone time downstairs. Once my son is waking a bit later, I’ll set an alarm and beat everyone else down to the kitchen.

What do you first do upon waking?
Check the time (we invested in a mini alarm clock that lights up when you tap it. It means we can leave our mobile phones downstairs and have screen-free time before bed and first thing in the morning). Then it’s: Wee. Water. Get the baby’s clothes out. Dress the three-year-old. Leave them both with their dad and go for a 20-minute run.

I love weekends with my family… lots of coffee, music, dancing, chatting. I go for a long run

Do you incorporate exercise into your morning routine?
Yes. It was a 20-minute Pilates routine for a while, as advised by a personal trainer (I had a diastasis – or stomach muscle separation – after my second birth). But now I’m back on the endorphin-rush runs. I’m a bit of a running addict – though it’s all or nothing: every day or not at all.

Tea, coffee, juice, other…?
Pints of water to replace fluids lost from breastfeeding then three instant coffees (the premium stuff, Nescafe Azera).

Do you eat breakfast, and if yes – what do you eat?
Breakfast is my favourite meal. Maybe because I have a very sweet tooth, and for breakfast you’re ‘allowed’ to eat sweet things for the main meal. I have porridge with raspberries, blackberries, pear, apple, coconut yoghurt, chia and linseeds and agave syrup. It’s a very full bowl. And then I have a second breakfast about two hours later: a thick slice of toasted sourdough with salted butter, almond butter and sliced banana.

How long do you spend getting ready?
Every day I shower, wash my hair, moisturise, put on my make-up (Chanel foundation, Max Factor mascara – same I’ve used since my teenage years – a dot of bronzer and pink Vaseline on my lips), choose my clothes, brush my hair (this is the hardest bit – it’s long and knotty) and run downstairs. I have an allotted 15 minutes. It usually takes 20.

How do you choose what to wear each day?
I have started to develop a capsule wardrobe. My favourite coloured clothes are dusty pink, light grey, cream, medium blue denim and occasional navy. I never wear primary colours. So all of my clothes work together. This means finding trousers, a breastfeeding-friendly vest top, jumper and a pair of socks or pop socks. I wear a pair of my Tracey Neuls most days – I have three to choose from: neon orange, grey speckled and very pale blue/grey. Every outfit goes with at least one of those pairs.

Do you work at home, or outside of the home?
At home, on the corner of our kitchen table, while the baby naps. I have around three hours of baby-nap-time Monday-Friday to get my head down. Otherwise, it’s evenings and weekends.

Annie Ridout workspace

How might the rest of your morning pan out?
Once my husband has left for work at 8am, I have 1/2 hour to read books with the kids before the nursery run. My daughter recently started full-time – 8.40am-3.30pm – at a local preschool so I put the baby in the buggy and the three of us walk/scoot the five-minute journey.

I go home with the baby for his first nap and work – writing and editing articles, responding to emails. We usually go for a quick coffee when he wakes, maybe a swing at the park and home for lunch around 11.30am. These days, I eat like a child (tea is at 5pm). At midday, there’s another nap… another window for work.

What do your weekend mornings look like?
I love weekends with my family. We don’t get a lie-in, because eight-month-old babies don’t differentiate between weekdays and weekends but we might all hang out in bed together a bit longer. Then lots of coffee, music, dancing, chatting. I go for a long run, we all go for a coffee and I either return home to work while my husband has the kids, or we all go to the park. Since the birth of our second child, we’ve been keeping weekends simple. And weekdays, actually. It’s less adventurous but keeps stress levels down.

If you could design your dream morning routine, what would it be/include?
Children sleep until 8am. I get up at 7am, do 15 minutes of Pilates, go for a 20-minute run then return home and drink coffee and water while doing some writing. Every gets up and has breakfast together. That sounds boringly realistic, doesn’t it? Oh how ‘dreams’ change after children come along… from ‘travel the world’ to ‘have an hour to myself’.

If you’d like to hear about the Morning Routines of Successful Women, come along to Stylist Live on 10 November. And if you fancy sharing your morning routine, get in touch: