I had great fun this morning chatting to TV and Heart FM’s radio presenter Katy Hill. The former Blue Peter presenter now runs a fantastic mummy blog, documenting her journey as a mother. In her interview with My Baba Katy shares her experiences of children, routine and sleep, as well as her top tips for a chilled Christmas Day. Katy is married and has two children, a daughter Kaya, eight, and son Akira, six.
What are your top tips for getting troublesome sleepers into a good routine?
Routine is key; from an early age you have to try and get that routine nailed. From when my children were babies we have always had the routine of an evening bath every single day, followed by a story and a song to finish off the night. When my two children were tiny babies I was big fan of ‘Happiest Baby on the Block’ book. I was always big on swaddling, white noise, and black out blinds in the bedroom. We still keep to this routine now and they’ve always been good sleepers. Wait, I tell a lie, my son was terrible up until he was four, but he’s a brilliant sleeper now!
What was your favourite lullaby or nursery rhyme to sing to your children when they were younger?
I know ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ topped the charts from the research by Baby Annabell, but the song I’ve always sung to my children is one about building a little house. It’s not a very well known song. My children are now 9 and 6 years old, and they still ask me to sing it every night without fail. I have to get up at 3.45am for my show at Heart FM, so by their bedtime at half 7, I’m knackered, but it’s still a nightly ritual!
Toddlers often go crazy for non-traditional songs. Did your children have any favourites?
We’re quite into One Direction now, but I’m not sure if that’s a mummy influence! As babies they loved lullabies. They were big fans of other songs, but not at nighttime, or we’d be dancing around at bedtime and that would not make for a good night’s sleep!
Tell us a bit about your parenting blog?
I started my parenting blog about four years ago now. When I had my daughter nine years ago I came to the conclusion that life was too frantic and I didn’t want to miss the years with her, so I made the decision to take a massive career break from when she was born until a year ago from now. It was the best thing I did. Life can be manic, and when you’re self employed it’s hard to say ‘no’ to offers of work, so we moved to LA for three years and then came back. When you become a mum, you can feel as though you lose your voice a bit, and I feel for mums in the thick of it. It can be tough how life changes, and I wanted to put across my experience in an honest blog.
I decided not to have a nanny, so it has always been literally just me. I felt like I wanted to support other “regular” mums through their amazing but challenging job of mother hood. I started my blog and it went nuts. I really enjoy it, it’s my corner of the world where I say what I want, and it’s actually won awards! The parenting industry is a lovely place. There are so many likeminded women blogging, they all still have a voice, they support each other which I really like. We paint a picture of normality, if you believe all the celebrity photos you see, you’d be rocking up to the school run in your stilettos, and in reality, that’s so not the case.
What’s your one piece of advice to other mummy bloggers out there – on making a blog a success?
I’d probably say the best advice I can give, is be authentic and try not to worry about what everyone else is doing. The moment you stray from being true to yourself you lose your authenticity. Remember why you’re doing it and don’t get lured in by sponsored posts and advertising unless fits in with your ethos.
You’re a brand ambassador for Baby Annabell, how did that come about and what is it about the product that’s so popular?
I was approached by the team at Baby Annabell. I was thrilled they got in touch, considering how many celebrity mums are around. I always enjoyed dolls growing up and what I love about this brand is that it caters for girls and boys that enjoy dolls with the Baby Annabell Brother Boy doll appearing on the market when Prince George was born. My daughter has always been into dolls, she’s now 9 years old and still loves playing with her dollies. It teaches children about nurturing and compassion which I think is a great thing. The new dolls on the market are amazing, they’re so baby like! When broody, I just wander into my daughter’s bedroom and pick up her doll! (Laughs!)
This Christmas, my daughter is desperate for Annabell’s 2 in 1 Baby Unit Wardrobe and Changing Table. She’s funny about hanging clothes, it’s so sweet.
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
For me it was a thing called a Miracle Blanket – probably that or white noise. A Miracle Blanket is a swaddle that layers your baby up and keeps them feeling completely secure and for me that really worked well. White noise is also something I swear by. I used this for both kids and it has always settled them. The idea came about when I was hoovering around my children and the noise soothed my daughter to sleep. I also use white noise to help me to get to sleep. I’m usually in bed very early ahead of my Heart radio show, and white noise helps me block out any of the other noises going on around me.
What have you got planned this Christmas and what family traditions do you keep alive around the festive period?
We’ve got a fairly epic Christmas planned. We’re taking the kids to the Philippines for the first time. My husband is Filipino, so we’ve got Christmas on a beach and we’re all super excited. Our usual Christmas consists of getting up Christmas morning, the first thing the children do is open their stockings which will be hanging by the fireplace. This is the gift that Father Christmas brings them. We’ll then have breakfast, go to church, and open most of the presents in the afternoon – with one kept for Boxing Day, to keep the magic going that little bit longer.
My top tip for Christmas day is ‘batteries’. Get a ton in the house. Secondly, if you want a chilled Christmas, make sure you pre-build everything so you’re not sat there all day with a screw driver. Wrap it pre-built so the kids don’t have to wait an hour or more until they get to play with it!
What’s your favourite family recipe?
Do you know what? I am beyond rubbish at cooking. My favourite is a gingerbread recipe at this time of year. My kids love making decorations out of them and I’m like, I wouldn’t eat that if you paid me! Ha. We always make a gingerbread house this time of year which is great fun.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
I’m a massively positive, very glass half full and love life. I think I’m quite a good friend, and I’m genuine – what you see is what you get.