We’re loving Forbes Style, a new website created by TV and radio presenter Emma Forbes. Based in London and mum to Lily, 13, and Sam, 11, Emma’s site has inspiring yet practical ideas aplenty, from a failsafe cupcake recipe to making fab, vintage-looking cushion covers using scarves from Top Shop; organising the perfect (i.e. non-embarrassing) birthday party at home for teen girls and alternatives for the boys (an “I’m an 11 year old, get me outta here” theme for her son, featuring a challenge to dive into a bucket of plastic snakes and spiders, plus “bug”-covered cakes – genius) to coping with fear of flying and lots more.
Nonstopmama caught up with Emma about Forbes Style and life as a juggling mama.
How did you come to be a TV and radio presenter?
I sort of fell in to telly presenting – I had originally wanted to be a dancer, but gave it up due to injuries and because I wasn’t Darcy Bussell! The TV world was very exciting, with all the new channels, and I started to have a real passion for it. So I just wrote and wrote to people and the BBC were the people to give me a ‘break’, cooking on kids’ telly!
How do you manage the family/home/work juggle?
What helps me manage the ‘juggle’ of kids and work is a massive ‘to do’ list! I have been known to wake up in the night and add to it and I have endless Post-It notes with things to do on them – I can’t say it’s a hugely organised list, but it’s ongoing! I think, like all things, the juggle works sometimes and other times, if one child is sick or the slightest thing goes wrong, then it can all go pear-shaped very easily!
Food-wise, what helps you keep your energy levels up?
Nutritionally, I am a bit of a health food junkie – always the first to experiment with any new health food that comes out, flax seeds, you name it. I try to do healthy snacking or grazing – fruit, nuts and so on -but the odd Starbucks on route helps too, with a caffeine fix! I always, always eat breakfast – granola (I love Lizi’s organic granola), with flax seeds, blueberries and skimmed milk and roobosh tea. I always feel if I have eaten that it gives me the kick I need to get started. If I don’t eat breakfast, I would be crying by 11am …
What are your sneaky food weaknesses?
Carbs – ideally I would live off carbs – bread, pasta … I sometimes sneak in the odd cupcake (life’s too short without cupcakes). And chocolate I love, too. I feel if I eat Green and Blacks organic chocolate, it is somehow healthier for me!
Do you enjoy cooking?
I love cooking – I find it de-stressing. I know that sounds weird, but it helps me focus my thoughts, unwind and think about stuff. I guess I just don’t stress about it. I am a haphazard family cook – I tend to have little plan, buy what I like the look of and sort of hurl it together and hope it comes out ok! I get so tired of ‘fussy eaters’ – mine are great at eating, but they have friends over who tend to eat such limited food . So, as a quick and easy – but fun – thing for kids, I do what they call my ‘pasta bar’: I just boil up a huge bowl of some kind of pasta and then put out all sorts of little bowls with all different things in it – parmesan, chopped mozarella, olives, chopped carrots, tomatoes, chopped cooked bacon, you name it – and then they can add and make their own variation! A bit of olive oil and there you have it! There is always something in there that someone likes!
What about exercise?
Fitness-wise, I hate the gym. I have to be honest and say I would prefer it if I didn’t have to exercise, but I know I have to! I do yoga – more for relaxation and stretching than the exercise, and I power walk. I gets me outside and I stomp around a park and it feels good! I would love to try all sorts of things but have a bad back ,which means I can’t do things like spinning or Power Plate …
How would you describe your fashion style?
My fashion style is hard to pinpoint. I guess I am sort of classic with a modern twist! I don’t suit high fashion stuff, classic shapes tend to suit me better. I have my staples of endless black jackets – in different shapes! – t-shirts and jeans in varying styles. Day to day, that tends to be the look.
Any go-to favourites that always make you feel good
I have a couple of things that are my feel good clothes – they are normally always something that my husband has bought me, as he has great taste and chooses me the clothes that last. I have a fab black coat I love and two dresses that I know even on a day when I feel fat and ugly will make me feel human!
What helps you stay on top of things at home – are you a neatnik or more relaxed about the chaos of family living?
Around the home, I am a bit of a neat freak – or a ‘faffer’ as someone named me. I love ‘faffing’ – sorting things out, drawers, you name it. I don’t mind chaos, but I like it then cleared away and get quite a lot of satisfaction from doing it. My kids, by and large, are pretty neat too – my rule is if you leave it on the floor tossed away, then you clearly don’t want it and I will give it to charity. It may sound harsh, but trust me, it works!! They are both pretty good at keeping things neat! Chaos is good, but I couldn’t sleep with chaos …
What are your get-glowing beauty tricks?
When it comes to beauty steadfasts, I am never far away from a tube of Eight Hour Cream, or Carmex for the lips and I love moisturiser. I would never go to bed without slapping on huge amounts of moisturiser – particularly as I get older. I try to be really careful in the sun, too. I always have factor 30 on my face and wonder why I come back from holidays so pale!
How do you unwind at the end of the day?
What helps me unwind is just chilling out with my family. I find that childrens’ laughter, tales of school and all the general stories make me laugh and take away from the mayhem and madness of the media career! I love watching a good movie – ideally a chick flick that makes me laugh and cry – good food, good friends and a hot bath and bed!