Mama Meets...Louise Emma Clarke 'Mum of Boys'

Meet Louise, author of award winning parenting & lifestyle blog Mum of Boys. Born and raised in Tunbridge Wells, Louise now lives in Dubai with her husband Charlie and two children Stanley and Wilfred (and is expecting baby number three in September!) 

Louise Emma Clarke with her boys Stanley (4) and Wilfred (2)

Louise Emma Clarke with her boys Stanley (4) and Wilfred (2)

What time did you wake up this morning?

What was your very first thought of the day?
Is it really time to wake up?

What are your 3 essentials for getting up, out and at 'em?
Usually a strong coffee, but I've had to stop that at 20 weeks pregnant! So I usually have a long shower, mug of ginger and lemon tea (I still have morning sickness), and a big bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes (current craving).

Describe your typical morning.
I drop my eldest off at school and youngest off at nursery and then usually work from a cafe nearby. Sometimes I have meetings with PR's or companies out here in Dubai, whilst other mornings I work on magazine features, write blog posts, or manage social media accounts. I head back to pick up the boys at 12.15pm and we always spend the afternoons together.

Your perfect local lunch spot would be...
Wilfred still sleeps at lunch, so we don't often dine out as a family. On the rare occasion we do it when we are in Tunbridge Wells, I like Bills in the town centre.  

The happiest moment in your day?
Every morning bang on 6am, Stanley drags his duvet into our room and climbs onto the bed. Wilfred then shouts from his cot and we go and get him. We have half an hour to hang out together in bed before we all have to get up - and that is definitely the happiest I feel in the whole day.

The hardest moment in your day?
My husband very rarely makes it home for bedtime, so I'd say that the kid's teatime, bath time, and bedtime is the most challenging. Especially as Wilfred has decided that anything healthy is a big no no - so I have to smuggle vegetables into his food and hope he doesn't notice!

#1 tip for juggling work and family life?
A good support network. I wouldn't manage if I didn't love Wilfred's nursery and totally trust our nanny on the mornings he doesn't go. The fact that Stanley is so happy at school in the mornings also makes a big difference. It means I can get on with work without constantly worrying about them. I focus on work - and when I pick them up, I am Mummy again. 

Most overused word of the day?
SSSSSHHHHHHH! My children are so so noisy together and I am constantly trying to quieten them down - especially as we live in an apartment and I always worry we are disturbing people. 

Once the kids are in bed I…
Retreat to the sofa to wait for my husband, enjoy a home-cooked dinner, and then flip open my laptop to blog or catch up on work. I work nearly every night and have done since I went freelance (from my job on The Daily Express) back in 2008. My husband is used to it now!

Top 3 local gems?
When we're in Tunbridge Wells, we love visiting Dunorlan Park to feed the ducks (so different to anything we do in Dubai!) We love walking our dog (who lives in the UK with my parents) at Harrisons Rocks, where there are different wooden animals to spot and a Gruffalo-style house hidden in the woods. And with a bit more of a drive (20-30 minutes), we really enjoy visiting Godstone Farm to see the animals and play in the amazing outdoor play park. 

Best piece of advice for fellow Mum's…
Trust your instincts. It's a cliche, but so true!