How to Make a House a Home

House Renovator Emily Smythe shares tips on how to manage two under two with a renovation!

Ahh, home. The best place in the world! And in the pursuit of making it perfect, we are willing to do what it takes. From the fluffiest towels to the comfiest mattress, every detail counts. No-one knows this better than Mum of two Emily Smythe, who during maternity leave from teaching has taken on a house renovation and become an Instagram superstar. Emily takes some time out of her busy schedule to share her top tips on how she balances renovating, work and bedtime!

Emily Smythe

1) Hi Emily! Taking on a house renovation with two under two sounds ambitious! What have you found to be most challenging?

It was definitely ambitious! We decided to move into our renovation in 2019 and Simon and I discussed children but we didn’t think we would be ready for a good few years. By December we were sharing our news with family and friends, it was crazy. There were so many tricky elements, but I think the hardest was when we had no stairs and we used a ladder to climb while I was five months pregnant.

2) What are you enjoying most?

I love having a balance in all aspects of life. I know I’m not made to be a ‘stay at home mummy’ but on days Ella’s in nursery I miss her so much. Balancing a renovation, children, work and my Instagram is great as it keeps me on my toes – I love to be busy!

3) What are the three top tips for time management?

My favourite tip is to always have a plan or a ‘to-do list’ so you can feel like you’ve achieved something but also so you can see what’s left to do. My next tip would be to set a timer- I do this all the time when I only have an hour to clean etc. My last tip would be to always overestimate. Simon always underestimates, and it drives me wild! Always give yourself an extra half hour.

4) As a parent, life can feel like one big rush! What are your handbag essentials for life on the go?

It definitely can! I’d say my purse, snacks, baby wipes and a good lippy!

5) What are your favourite ways to unwind?

I love having a bath and wrapping up in a cosy, fluffy towel or reading a book in bed are the best ways to unwind.

6) Bedtime with little ones can be testing, any dreamy tips for getting them to sleep?

I find having a routine with both of them usually works. Ours is having a bath, snuggling with milk, their bamboo baby muslins and a book (although Bradley hasn’t quite got the bedtime memo yet!). If the normal routine doesn’t work, then always have a little, starry night light and play it for 5 minutes. It usually works!

7) How do you manage your own sleeping routine and make sure you get enough rest?

Simon and I live a wild life at the moment and try to go to bed at 9pm/ 9.30pm. We know it’s temporary but we also know sleep is so important.

8) What is your little Panda’s favourite bedtime story?

They are loving the hungry caterpillar at the moment.

9) Any tips for managing the mess around the house?

Honestly… I can’t stand the mess! It really bothers me when things aren’t in their place. But, I’ve had to learn to relax a little and so, I do two tidy up slots in the day now; one when Ella’s napping and one when they go to bed. I find a tidy house = a tidy mind.

10) What are you most looking forward to when the renovation is complete?

I’m really looking forward to finishing now after three years of hard work. Although, I know we absolutely love a project so I think we will always find something to do!

And finally…
What would you say to any other parent about taking on a house renovation?

emily smythe kid

Finally, I’d say you can enjoy a renovation and your children. You can definitely juggle both if you don’t mind the dust and living in a building site (believe it or not). I quite liked it because I only needed to clean rooms that were complete. I think the most important thing to remember is that it’s all only temporary and the end result will definitely be worth it. I promise!

Thanks Emily! Are you looking to start a house project? Get in touch @PandaLondon, we would love to hear from you. We hope Emily has inspired you with her enthusiasm and great tips on keeping a balance. Join our newsletter for exclusive offers on our snuggly bedding and homeware to keep a home sweet home nice and cosy.

Good Luck!