Hello, happy Monday! Today we have the loveliest of mums on the blog, Polly Boyd.
Polly is one of the reasons I adore Instagram, her feed and stories are always beautiful, sincere and honest and she’s up for a laugh over DM’s! I was also lucky enough to share her wedding on the blog and a few years on it still remains one of my favourite ever wedding days – oh the style. Go check it out on this link.
I love Polly’s outlook on parenthood and share a lot of similar values, thanks for being so honest Polly and reminding us that just being is good enough.
Can you introduce yourself…
My name is Polly, and I was a secondary-school music teacher who is now a stay-at-home mum. I had a seasonal food and lifestyle blog however am now focusing my time on raising my kids and renovating our new home.
Love it or Loathe it?
Mostly loathe to be honest. Unfortunately, in my eyes Instagram brings out the worst in us a lot of the time, discontentedness, jealousy, nastiness; not to mention the pressure to spend more money, look skinnier and share in the same political opinion as those who can shout the loudest. Yes, it has its positives; meeting new people, having a creative outlet, and finding inspiration, however if my mum at my age was once able to do all these things through other mediums without social media, it would have undoubtably come without the detrimental effects of Insta. Would I want my children to grow up in a world without Instagram? Yes, probably.
What is your family set up?
I am married to Daniel, and we have been extremely blessed with Zara (2), and Robbie (1). I am trying to pick appropriate attributes for the kids, but to be honest they are the perfect juxtaposition of exquisite, moronic, heart-warming and tiring, all at the one time.
Where you live?
We are currently renovating a house in the field next door to our current house, just outside Lisburn. We are close to family and friends, and absolutely love where we live.
What do you do for work?
When writing my UCAS application in sixth form, I joked with my friend that my efforts were futile, as my future sights were set on motherhood, to be a ‘housewife’ just like my mum. I write that I ‘joked’ as there is such a stigma attached to this particular life that I wanted to live. From the throw-away comments that snidely imply that you can afford to use twenty pound notes like kitchen roll, or hint that your skills are ‘wasted’ by staying at home, there is definitely a view of girls like me that make the decision to stay at home. After five years of university, three degrees, and a cosy grammar school post, it was still a big decision to turn my back on a path I had worked incredibly hard to achieve, and a wage that made life a little ‘comfier’. Can you tell I still need to justify my decision? Maybe someday I won’t feel the need to.
Three words that describe your household?
Loving. Exhausting. Serving. We definitely want our kids to grow up, giving up their time to serve others. I think our society has largely forgotten how to serve others and can only function by serving itself.
Do you think you have a good work/life balance?
Not at all, but I think as a mum of two very young children I won’t have a good balance for a while. I get a lot of people asking me what it’s like to have two kids, 16 months apart, some seeking advice on whether it’s ‘doable’ (ha! Like there is any other option), and my reply is pretty simple. When baby number one comes along you can make life much easier for yourself by letting to go of the ‘baby-less’ social life you had before and getting into a good routine. However, when baby number two comes along, you don’t have the option of making it easier. You just have to let go of what was before and embrace this new stage of your life.
How do you manage to work/run a creative business around your kids?
It doesn’t really apply to me right now, as I have recently just walked away from the blog, and am still feeling my way to where my creative outlet will fall next, but it’s mainly because I just can’t see an option of not being at home with my kids 24/7 at the moment. I think once the kids are attending primary school, I will re-evaluate my ‘game-plan’, but it will definitely have to fit around pick up times, as the kids will always take priority.
Any hard rules you stick to both in work & family life?
Always stay thankful, and the bath must be run at 7pm.
How do you relax?
The only place I can truly relax at the moment in at our family holiday house in West Donegal. It’s remote, has no TV, and the view is breathtaking. The spin bike is the slopy, sweaty second.
Best book you’ve read recently?
Gah! I don’t read. Which is why I don’t write very well. However, I do read A LOT of children’s book as Zara is a massive book worm. I can recite nearly all of Julia Donaldson’s oeuvre.
Any other books you need to share?
Anything by Dr Seuss.
You would think with a music degree that my list would be extensive, inspiring and thought-provoking but no: American country, modern worship and 16th century choral music.
Loving ‘The High/Low’ at the moment, whenever I get the rare chance to listen to it, but usually have Radio Four on in the background when pottering around the house. ‘You and Yours’ and ‘Desert Island Disks’ are particular favorites. I really am painting the picture of a 60-year-old women here…
How do you and your husband stay connected?
We aren’t terribly successful at taking time out for date nights, but we are lucky that we don’t tend to have separate hobbies that take us away from family time. We enjoy taking the kids out for meals and away for long weekends, and it’s the quality time that we spend together as four, that is the balm for our relationship as a couple. There’s a mutual, unsaid understanding between us that recognizes when the other needs an hour to get their head showered, and it’s small things like that, that means we are never at breaking point with each-other.
Style – do you feel you have a signature style?
Goodness. I wouldn’t know how to characterize my style per se, but I don’t follow high-street trends so closely that my wardrobe constantly has to change. I find my wardrobe is made up with pieces that can come out season after season, and not look dated. At least I hope they don’t. I really hate the need for women to stay so up-to-date with fashion at the moment. My granny had to literally make her own clothes at my age, and it saddens me that we have moved so far from that lifestyle. If we weren’t currently renovating, I would 100% be purchasing a Stalf shortie jumpsuit in ‘Ice Cream’ for this summer.
Shops you love?
Cos and Mango for me, Zara for the kids, Trouva for home, and Neptune for inspiration.
Did your style change since becoming a mum?
Yes! Anything remotely cropped has had to be passed on to those with slender waists. Two C-sections within 16 months has resulted in the need to steer well clear of crop tops… And if you aren’t wearing a Breton top at least once a week are you even a mum?
Beauty products you love?
Anything by Comfort Zone. I have become a firm believer in getting your skincare right before spending a fortune on make-up. A good serum in your life and you’ll never feel the need to constantly conceal and mask tired, blotchy, spotty skin. Becca Under Eye Brightening cream and HourGlass Caution Extreme mascara are my current absolute must haves in my make-up bag.
What family meal is guaranteed to be eaten by everyone?
Slow cooker meatballs.
Rainy day survival tactic?
Acceptance that anything you need to get done ain’t going to happen and be prepared to play with every toy/puzzle/activity that has ever entered your house. Just commit.
Any mum hacks you couldn’t live without?
Every night, leave your kitchen/living space exactly how you would like to find it in the morning. Yes, at bedtime the last thing you want is to start mopping/emptying the dishwasher/clearing up the dishes from dinner, but it really does make life so much easier in the morning, and mentally lets you start the day right. Our family life is certainly not a perfectly oiled machine, but we have found the more your commit your time and energy to parenthood, and less resisting to it, the more you get out the other side.
What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year old self?
I definitely don’t have any regrets about life since leaving school, and I am a product of the decisions and experiences from the past ten years, but I would encourage myself to not doubt my own ability and achievements. I would say I come across as a confident, strong minded person but underneath it all I feel sick at the thought of letting others down, or people realizing I am not the ‘real deal’. I want my kids to grow up firm in the truth of their own worth, and I hope they will be surrounded in life, with people who appreciate their value.