Emily Leary: It’s a representation of us and where we are most comfortable
The #LoveHome Project is all about finding out what makes a house a home. Emily Leary created and runs website AMummyToo which showcases a seemingly endless array of mouth-watering recipes as well as tips, tricks and activities on how to balance work, life and family. Speaking from Nottingham, which she calls home, Emily is a bubbly, lively character who knows the importance of involving all the family in as many aspects of the home as possible.
When you think of home what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Family, it’s a place where we relax. We all go off in our various directions during the day but home is where we all reconnect.
What does Home mean to you?
It’s our safe place. For me, because I do a lot of work around the country and go off to different places, home is our space; it’s a representation of us and where we are most comfortable.
What is your favourite childhood memory of home?
When I was little my mum had a really big willow tree and we used to hide under the branches. We played really obvious hide and seek games but you don’t realise that when you’re three. Where could we be this time? Probably exactly the same place as last time.
Which is the most important room in your home?
The honest answer is my office because I spend quite a lot of time in there. I work from home and initially it was the junk room which stored things we didn’t have any space for which happened to have my desk in it. I realised I was spending all my time in there so had to have some comfort. It was where I was listening to my music and spending most of my time so I put a lot of effort into it. It looks nice now and has comforts in it as opposed to just being a storage closet.
What one thing would you do to your home if money was no object?
I would magically increase my kitchen to about six times its current size. I work with food all the time and I love cooking, I’d have space for us all to eat in the kitchen. I love cooking with the kids and there’s never enough space for all the gadgets I own. Proper space to cook with the family in the kitchen which is what I remember from my childhood, mum cooking while we sat at the table.
What one smell immediately reminds you of home?
Childhood home it would be pastry because my mum used to make a lot of pies. So if I smell pastry I always feel like a teenager again getting home from college and hoping my mum is making a pie. For my own home it almost always smells of spices because I do a lot of cooking and a lot of experimenting. I get used to it so I don’t really notice it, then if we’ve been out and I come back in I think “Wow”. It smells like a spice factory, there are so many different spices and sweet smells. You can tell I’m quite food obsessed.
What is relaxation at home to you?
Netflix. I tend to watch box sets. I tend to watch box sets while I’m working which is bad because it makes it hard to relax. But if I’m making an effort I’ll put one of my favourite shows on and get something out of the freezer, I have a lot of profiteroles at the moment, and chill and watch several episodes. I really like medical and legal dramas because it makes me feel like an expert by knowing all the jargon. It also makes me feel like I could perform brain surgery. I could be the defence team for a criminal. It’s a form of escapism but it’s a lot of fun even if it is a bit of a guilty pleasure.
How do you make a happy home?
It’s really important to do things together. To get your hands dirty. So we tidy up together, we cook together, we rearrange the furniture together. Anything in the home we try and involve the whole family. When we re-did the kid’s bedrooms they had a lot of say in the process and the choosing of the colours and the furniture. So rather than it being mine and my husband’s home and the kids live in it, they have a sense of ownership.
How do you give your home a distinct character?
When I was little my mum had a real organised clutter kind of house. There was a big dresser in the kitchen with loads of little glass bottles and bits and pieces on it. As a teenager I was convinced I was going to have a real minimalist home, you know; white walls, white furniture, nothing in it. You realise as you get older what all those little things mean and hold a collective character. So now I’m very much like my mum, I have shelves with all sorts of stuff and I love it. That’s where a home’s character comes from.
Does cooking play a part in your home, if so how?
Cooking for me is a family activity. The whole family play a part when it’s going on. When families have limited time together, if you plunk them in front of the TV every night while you cook then you hardly see them. It feels like “here’s you food, okay now bed”. So getting them involved in the cooking means even if I’ve worked all day I get more time with them.
How do you take a piece of home with you when you’re away?
I use Skype, so I literally dial back into home when I’m away. I read the kids bed time stories over Skype, that’s nice a connection to home.