This week marks the return of our popular Mama Meets series. We are hosting our very first Mamas Meet Up in Whitstable this week, therefore it seems very apt to be speaking to the lovely Elly Simmons from Herringbone Kitchens, based in Canterbury (just up the road from Whitstable.)
Elly lives in Canterbury with her partner William and 3 year old son Freddie. Elly and William make amazing bespoke kitchens for living in (check out Erica Davies kitchen and Pink House Living for examples of their handiwork) from their workshop in Kent whilst co-parenting their gorgeous son Freddie.
What time did you wake up this morning? 6 AM
What was your very first thought of the day? Please be Sunday (or Freddie get your foot off my back).
What are your 3 essentials for getting up, out and at 'em? I like to get up a little bit before everyone else to make a list for the day and have one quiet cup of tea. So pen, paper and plenty of tea.
Describe a typical working morning: Will takes Freddie to preschool and I normally pop over to the studio and go through the plans for the team for the day. There are hundreds of elements to designing, creating and installing kitchens, so making sure there is strong communication between everyone is important. When Will comes back we both head to Burgate for a coffee and a quick chat with our neighbours before opening the studio. We live in the centre of the city, near our studio, so there is a real sense of community around here. I think you have to be a bit eccentric to live in Canterbury, so conversation is never dull.
Your perfect local lunch spot would be... Ohh that is really hard in Canterbury, best cheeky chicken in town is Smokeys, for pulled-pork it's Pork & Co and when we are trying to be healthy it's The Veg Box.
The happiest moment in your day? When Freddie comes home from preschool, he still smiles and runs to me. I know this won't last forever so I milk it up every time.
The hardest moment in your day? Trying to get Freddie to brush his teeth. Any tips?
#1 tip for juggling work and family life? Ask for help, keep your boundaries and have an equal partner. I had to learn that keeping my boundaries and being protective of family time was important for me to feel more grounded throughout the week. Working together has brought a whole new level of keeping business and family life separate. Will and I have always been equal partners, so I feel like we are both juggling the busines and family life together. When I joined the business I insisted on a date night once a week, just so we can remember that we are a couple, before we became business parters.
Most overused word of the day? Lovely, everything in the interiors world is lovely and I can't help myself from sometimes using that lovely word too. I came from the public sector where everything was 'going forward,' so I don't mind the word yet.
Once the kids are in bed I... sometimes fall asleep while trying to get Freddie to bed....
Top 3 local gems? It is really hard for me to narrow it down to 3. You can't visit Canterbury without a trip to the Cathedral though, I love the Lilford Gallery for art inspiration and the Goods Shed is a foodie heaven.
Best piece of advice for fellow Mum's... Be forgiving to yourself and each other. I definitely do not have it all together. I'm the mum who never has wet wipes on hand or that extra pair of trousers in case of an accident, but as long as Freddie's safe and healthy, most of the rest of the stuff is material or opinion.