I thought I'd start off this new blog by introducing myself a bit more. I live in Oxfordshire with my ad-man husband and our two children, Joe, six, and Chloe, five. Home is a village in the countryside but not far from either London or Oxford so that life can be a mix of both muddy puddles and the concrete jungle. This is a new blog where I'll be posting a series of Q&As from my favourite mums-in-the-know plus news, reviews and prize draws. Please subscribe below right to get updates direct to your inbox and don't forget to follow me on Instagram. In the meantime, here's my own little question-and-answer session.
Q&A: Emily Kerrigan
What's your best 10-minute meal for a hectic school night?
What ingredients do you always have on standby for kids' teas?
Rice noodles and spring roll wrappers can just sit in a kitchen cupboard until you need them for rice-paper roll-ups and cook very quickly. Fill them with whatever fresh bits and pieces you have in the fridge and get everyone to make their own at the table (kids like rolling them). Parents can add chilli and a cold beer to theirs.*
What’s your best tip for getting kids to eat the good stuff?
I have a whole page of advice but making one meal you can all eat together is my top tip, with added garnishes for you (*see above). My two invariably eat so much better if we’re all sat down as a family – plus you’re only having to prepare one meal then. On nights when the kids are in bed long before my last work mail’s been sent, I’ll aim to make two-sitter dishes we can eat in one or two shifts. But they’re definitely more likely to eat their greens if Mr K and I are sat with them eating our greens, too.
What’s the most surprising thing your kids like to eat?
Mussels. I showed them how to pick them out using an empty shell as a pincer and they just went for it. Sometimes kids will surprise you if you pique their interest but there’s no rhyme nor reason to it. My son eats clementines but not oranges, my daughter eats oranges but not clementines but they both eat mussels. Go figure.
What’s your best bit of kitchen kit?
My panini press always gets a lot of use, not just for toasties but to make fritters – you don’t have to flip them and there’s no getting stuck in the pan. You can make a lovely, veggie-laden fritter in the same time it takes to make a toasted cheese sandwich.
What’s your favourite beauty product for tired mums?
Clarins Instant Concealer – a friend just put me onto this at the school gates. You can wear it without foundation and cover dark circles in seconds. I finally look like I’ve actually slept properly since 2010, when Joe was born, which I haven’t.
What’s your favourite kids' book?
I love the girl power behind Andrea Beaty’s ‘Rosie Revere, Engineer', ‘Iggy Peck, Architect’ and ‘Ada Twist, Scientist’ plus I’m a sucker for anything by Oliver Jeffers, especially 'The Day the Crayons Quit' with Drew Daywalt. It’s my standard kids’ birthday party gift, along with a pack of Crayola.
What’s your favourite kids’ retailer?
Little Cotton Clothes are gorgeous if you have a daughter up to seven years old. I love the Peter Pan collars on their little dresses and the to-the-knee socks in really lovely colours.
Where can I buy a little gift for myself or another mum?
I’ve just got myself a new pen pal in the shape of an old friend who loves writing good old-fashioned letters. We’ve started postcard swapping with each other – just little tips, recipes and hellos. I love getting proper old-fashioned snail mail so I’d buy some Fraser & Parsley or Posy and Petal stationery.