Q&A with Annie Ridout

For my next Q&A I’m delighted to have Annie Ridout on the blog. I’m yet to meet Annie IRL, but she very kindly gave me a guest blog spot on her brilliant online lifestyle and parenting magazine The Early Hour, last November. I remember my excitement when she said yes to my blog on the early days of motherhood and it was so nice to have such a warm and lovely response to my request!

Annie is founder and editor-in-chief of The Early Hour, as well as a freelance journalist (The Guardian, Red Magazine), a regular blogger for BabyCentre and a copywriter (she’s currently creating the copy for a new app, aimed at women). She regularly speaks about parenting and feminist issues on radio and TV and is speaking at Stylist Live next month.

I love reading The Early Hour. The range of topics is excellent, I love finding out about other families and businesses and it’s not afraid to cover all subjects from funny to serious, shocking to sad.

I found myself nodding along at lots of Annie’s answers and am very excited about the possibility of an early hour book and podcast!

Thank you Annie for all your brilliant answers and being part of my blog!

Annie Ridout, editor of The Eary Hour, photographed at home in Walthamstow.

What is your motto for life?

Feel the fear and do it anyway. I went through a difficult period where I suffered with anxiety and panic attacks. I managed to get through it, and to not let it rule my life. So while the anxiety is always there in the background, lying dormant, I now know that it won’t stop me from achieving my goals (as long as I don’t let it).

What is your current destination?

I’m founder and editor of digital parenting and lifestyle magazine The Early Hour. Articles are published daily at 5am. I recently celebrated The Early Hour’s second anniversary, which felt like a big achievement. Year one is more exciting, year two is when you really have to start working – the novelty can wear thin, and it’s about keeping the focus and staying positive.

I’m in talks with some publishers about The Early Hour becoming a book – about parenting truths – and find this very exciting. Also, I’m planning a podcast. Other than that, my aspirations surround continuing to dedicate as much time as possible to my two young kids. They bring huge joy (and a fair bit of stress!). Parenting is always a work-in-progress… it will never be ‘complete’.

What advice do you have for your 16-year old self?

Believe in yourself. Everyone suffers with self-doubt and feels insecure at times – you’re not alone. It will get better.

What three things are you most grateful for today?

1. My family – immediate and extended. My husband is incredibly loving and supportive, I feel so lucky. And my children bring more happiness and laughter than I ever could have imagined. My siblings, parents and in-laws are fun, funny and full of love.

2. My upbringing. I was raised in London, which might not seem like the ideal place to raise a family – but it taught me about art, theatre, poetry, ballet, people from different backgrounds, how to hold your own, being sociable. It’s where I’m raising my own kids, too.

3. My career. I love working as a writer and editor (I freelance, as well as running The Early Hour). Finding time to work isn’t always easy but when I do (nap times, evenings, the odd occasion that I have double childcare), I absolutely love having this focus outside of motherhood.

What are your natural highs?

Running first thing in the morning fills me with endorphins and makes me feel high. I’m a total addict, which made both postnatal periods quite difficult, as I had to recover fully before I could get back into it. Also, a morning with the kids – coffee, park, a long walk and trip to the park – in the sunshine, but on a coolish day… that makes me feel really good. Until the tantrums begin, around lunch time. Lastly, a night out with my husband: dinner, wine, holding hands, chatting. That brings me great joy.

What gives your life balance?

Again, running. Or long walks in the countryside. A trip to the seaside. Always outside – I love fresh air. I even love polluted air, if that’s all I can get. I feel very claustrophobic being in any one space for too long.

What makes you laugh?

My sister.

What is your proudest achievement?

My children, my relationship and The Early Hour.

Who in your life has influenced you the most?

My mum and my sister.

Which five people, living or dead, would you invite to a fantasy dinner party?

Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Benjamin Zephaniah, Susie Orbach and my husband.

Tell us something we don’t know about you?

I have 10 piercings – two in my nose, seven in my ears, one in my belly. And two tattoos. They are mostly hidden or not in use.

You can read more great content on the Early Hour or follow Annie on Twitter and Instagram.

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