Open all hours kitchen

Baking Cooking Bread


It’s week two of the Easter holidays and everyone is on different timetables. Only son gets up as soon as I move (he’s on an extended sleepover in our room). Daughter three gets up around 10.30. Daughter two sleeps in till 11 and daughter one never sees morning. This means that mealtimes are a bit of a rotating affair. Only son has lunch at lunchtime with daughter one who is on either breakfast or brunch. Daughters two and three have lunch at Spanish time and dinner time is any time between 7 and 10pm. As half the team are Masterchef afficionados, there is a lot of action happening in the kitchen, though not much of it involves washing up.

It also means that certain people are going to bed very late, particularly those in GCSE central. On occasion, I have been up early with only son and up late watching films with daughter one as part of GCSE wind-down. I fear I will get to the end of this holiday feeling more tired than when we started.

Keeping everyone entertained in the meantime can be complicated as they are all totally different people. Daughter three has been writing a planning book for when we go to a concert for her birthday in May. She is always one step ahead of the pack. I have never seen such a detailed description of transport links. Only son is making Easter baskets for his teacher. Daughter two is cutting up her clothes and making bikinis out of them. Daughter one is doing quizzes about probability.

The only activity which seems to bring them together is an obstacle course they have set up in the garden. For some reason they all want to do it against me even though – or possibly because – I am not renowned for being the star athlete in the family. So evenings have been spent leaping over chairs, balancing on broomsticks and zooming down a baby slide. In between such activities and into the early hours comes work.

It’s not the oasis of calm I am used to with only the cat for company during term time. In a week’s time, though, it will be back to normal. Except…an email landed in my inbox the other day. My partner has just moved office and role. The email was from him and headed “remote desktop”. Uh oh. He could be invading my home office [the living room table] some time soon. After so long of working on my own from home, I am not sure I am ready for company. My partner is used to talking to people and having things like lunch breaks. My home office work style is basically head down and work hard against the clock. There are no watercooler moments, unless you count the school run and the occasional spooning of Kit-e-kat into a bowl.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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