Lucky Things Interview with Annie Ridout, Editor-in-chief of The Early Hour

Why do people get up really early in the morning? Maybe, you have little ones to hang out with, maybe it’s time to get to work, maybe your body just tells you it’s time to start your day, maybe your alarm clock was set for the wrong time or maybe you just can’t sleep. When I get up early (for any of those reasons) and I have a bit of quiet time I’ll take a peek at one of my favourite online lifestyle magazines The Early Hour. It’s cool as articles are posted at 5am each day.

The Early Hour’s Editor-in-chief Annie Ridout first spotted Lucky Things on Instagram and she was keen to hear more about our IVF journey. It’s great to be featuring an interview with Annie on Lucky Things. Here’s what she had to say..

Annie and Joni garage (1)

Annie with her little sidekick Joni

Where do you live and what are your 3 favourite things about your home and local area? I live in Walthamstow. We spend a lot of time in the garden – my husband planting beautiful flowers and raspberry canes, my daughter digging up the earth and me sniffing the blue moon roses and delighting in all the wildlife (birds, bees, squirrels, cats). During the winter months, we enjoyed wrapping up warm and heading to Epping Forest for a long walk – crunching frosty puddles, breathing in the fresh air and then getting home and having a lovely hot meal. In the summer, we spend lots of time at Lloyd Park – feeding the ducks, or in the playground. The best places for food/drink, locally, are: Eat17 (reasonably priced but DELICIOUS food and they are really good with kids). The Castle pub for an early dinner and a few pints/glasses of wine. Again, they welcome kids in the daytime and early evening. And lastly, the new Sodo (sour dough pizza) restaurant. We were living in Clapton before moving out to Walthamstow and frequented the Sodo on Upper Clapton Road so we’re pleased they’ve opened a second one in E17.

What encouraged you to start your own thing / business? What challenges did you have to overcome to get it going? I wanted to be at home with my daughter, Joni, while also earning a living and I really liked the idea of owning my business. I’d worked as a journalist/copywriter before giving birth so it felt natural to set up an online magazine.

The challenges are:

  • Not earning anything, initially
  • Feeling work slip into life and vice versa (you’re never switched off when running your own business)
  • Confidence. It takes a lot of confidence to set up shop but it gives you a lot of confidence once the first cheque comes in.

What is the inspiration for your interviews that appear on The Early Hour? The majority of The Early Hour’s readers are mothers of young kids, or expectant parents, so basically: people like me. Therefore, I think about the people whose lives I’d like to read about and interview them. Other than that, there might be something topical I’d like to cover, or someone else pitching an idea for an article or a parenting issue that I’m keen to look in to.

What advice do you have for parents and carers who want to encourage the little people to have fun with creative things? Sometimes the most basic activities generate the most interest with my daughter. It doesn’t need to cost loads of money. Her favourite things to do are: painting, getting a Pritt Stick and smearing glue all over some A3 card then sprinkling glitter onto it, ‘drawing’ with her felt tip pens. Joni’s also now at an age where she’s really using her imagination so I think it’s important to just let her play on her own sometimes… when I’m cooking dinner, I’ll often turn around to find her putting her doll to bed, or lining the Playmobil figures up on the stairs and making them talk to each other.So, a combination of organised creative play and free play.

What has your daughter taught you? I was already fairly patient before having a child but I’m now encouraged to practice my patience daily. I know that getting angry or frustrated will only upset Joni so I have to try and resolve whatever situation we’re in (doesn’t want to clean her teeth, won’t eat her dinner, wants to watch yet more Peppa Pig) without losing my rag. She has taught me a love stronger than anything I’ve ever felt before, and from the moment she was born – she came first. I’m never number one any more. Her needs and wants are my priority and mine come second to that. I think it’s valuable, in life, to experience what it is to put someone else before you.

What your lucky your motto when things get a bit tough?  “Smile and the world will smile with you.” If you leave the house in a grump, people will pick up on your bad vibes and avoid you or wind you up. If you put on a smile, even when you feel shit, you’ll eventually start to feel better (it releases endorphins when you smile) and you’ll receive lovely smiles in return.

What’s your tip tip for managing work and home/family life at the same time? Get up early. I use the early morning to shower or, in the winter months when Joni slept until 8.30am (!!!), to work. Also, I keep four out of five week nights free to catch up on work, clean the house and RELAX. Too much boozing and too many late nights will make it hard to be productive. You’ve gotta have fun but in moderation, if you want to achieve anything.

What’s your favourite childhood memory? My dad playing guitar while me, my sister and my brother were in the bath. Or driving around Cyprus in what I picture as an open top car but I think was actually a jeep with a broken roof, listening to the Gypsy Kings really loud. Or summers in Somerset, spraying each other with the hose, jumping through the sprinkler and playing pranks with/on my siblings.

What music and tunes are you listening to at the moment? I’m enjoying James Blake’s new album and love Anthony and the Johnsons but I also listen to lots of old 60s music – Joni Mitchell (who my daughter was named after), Crosby Stills and Nash. Then there’s the music of my teenage years: Lauryn Hill (my favourite song is I Gotta Find Peace of Mind) and Mary J Blige and lastly, I’m loving Michael Kiwanuka’s new stuff.

What are your 3 lucky things?

1. Playing the piano (which I don’t get to do so often these days but LOVE when I do).

2. Blue moon roses.

3. My daughter, Joni, and her dad (my husband) Rich.

Thanks Annie (and Joni). Have fun around E17. You can sign up to cool articles and weekly round-up alerts to The Early Hour here.

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