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Why Essex Mum Emily Norris is the Go-To Parental Advice Expert

emily norris portrait

How It All Started

From a simple escape from a ‘poonami’ to keeping the kids busy, Essex’s Emily Norris has become the go-to for parental advice. Absolutely discovers how it all started and why a book was the logical next step.

The Poonami Dilemma

emily and children

We have all been there, even non-parents, when looking after family members and sitting there with a happy, gurgling child when you feel something. You are unsure what, but then a smell suddenly washes over you, and you realise a nappy needs changing. What will face you is always a suspenseful moment, and, sometimes, the damage is so bad you can’t prevent it from seeping out onto you or the nearest furnishing.

It’s why millions have fallen at the mercy of Emily Norris and her calm approach to any parental dilemma.

Becoming the Go-To Parental Expert

Essex-based Emily is a much-loved author and YouTuber with over 1 million followers and has become known as the go-to guru for household and parenting tips, attracting celebrity fans such as Mrs Hinch and Giovanna Fletcher along the way.

The mum of three has created a positive online community to support others in navigating the highs and lows of family life, from organisation hacks and nifty ways to tackle the school run and housework to quick weeknight dinners and boredom-busting tips to keep the kids entertained, as well as addressing the ‘bigger picture’ issues such as sleep, boundary-pushing and post-baby partner relationships.

The Book: A Logical Next Step

Emily’s book, Things I Wish I’d Known: My Hacks for a Tidy Home, Happy Kids, and a Calmer You, is out now. It tackles aspects of family life in sections including Home Sweet Home, Food, Glorious Food, Travel & Holidays, and School Rules.

Reception and Book Signing

“I’ve had such an overwhelmingly lovely response from my followers worldwide, buying copies and sending me messages about how useful they have found the book – messages like that really mean the world to me,” Emily smiles when asked how the response has been. ”I managed to meet many of my followers at my book signing, which was a special experience – it was quite surreal and a day I will never forget, literally one of the best days of my life.”

Why Write a Book?

The book was seen as the natural next step from the online support network Emily started building a decade ago. “I’d gone from being a busy marketing director to just ‘mummy’, and when my husband Matt returned home from working long hours at the end of each day, I felt a bit silly only having stories of dirty nappies and (a lack of) sleep to regale him with,” she explains why she started. “I loved being a full-time mum to my boys, but I missed the adult interaction I’d had at work, and, as a result, my self-confidence took a knock. It’s weird because although I barely had a second on my own, in many ways, I’d never felt more alone.

“One thing I really enjoyed about spending time on YouTube was getting tips and ideas from other mums, picking up simple tricks (or ‘hacks’). So I figured, why not start my own? Once I started posting, I fell in love with the mother community as well.”

Crafting Her Online Presence

The online world can be a tough place, so did Emily have an idea of how she wanted to come across? “I didn’t really have a plan,” she says. “I just wanted to share what worked for me as a busy mum. To many, talking to a camera is a bit alien, but to me, it just seemed natural, like I was talking to a friend, another mother, and eventually, I was doing exactly that.

“It all happened organically, really,” Emily says on the topics covered. “I was documenting in real-time, so their development and stages of childhood and my ever-evolving title of mum determined the content I would be making. It’s also been a great place to test out hacks and share whether they work in reality. My audience has grown with me, and so have their children, meaning the topics that are in my life are often in theirs, too.”

Why Now for a Book?

emily norris

“Writing a book feels like a culmination of all the content and advice I’ve put out over the past decade,” Emily says. ”It felt like the right time; it is the book I wish I’d had when I had my first baby – a one-stop-shop of hacks and habits to make life that little bit easier. Matt and I always joke about when you leave the hospital with your new arrival, they should give you a book, and then I realised after ten years of being a mother, it would be a waste not to put pen to paper and give my tips that I’ve learned along the way. There are also so many hacks that anyone (including non-parents) would benefit from, including home, food, cleaning, and travel hacks.

“The writing process wasn’t easy, and it was extremely time-consuming,” she adds, “but it was certainly a labour of love. Thankfully, I have documented so many of my tips and hacks on my YouTube channel over the years that it was like having a reference book, and I could choose all my absolute favourites. I scripted most of my videos, so it was a case of putting it all together to make a good read and a great source to reference, sat on the shelf for convenience. Finding new and exciting hacks was a little trickier as I like to test them all out.”

Favourite Hacks

There are some gems when it comes to hacks in the book, but we have to ask Emily – does she have a favourite? “That’s such a tough question. How can you make me choose?! I guess in my top three would be when I first learned that baby vests were designed with an envelope neck so that in the event of an explosive ‘poonami’, you could easily pull the vest down over their body to remove it rather than lifting it over their head and causing carnage. That one blew my mind. Another brilliant hack when the children were small was to peel the liner around stickers in a sticker book, which made it easy for them to peel the stickers off themselves. A favourite that we still use now is an ‘I’m bored jar’ – we fill it with easy activities for the children to do, and in those ‘I’m bored’ moments, they can pick something out of the jar to do.”

Home Renovations and More

It’s not just parental advice that Emily has become known for as she also has a social media account documenting renovations at her Brentwood home. “Viewers really love my cleaning videos and were excited about our house move, so we decided to dedicate an Instagram page @emilynorrishome to our renovations as well as documenting it on YouTube,” she explains. ”We have always revamped and developed the homes we have lived in, and it is such a lovely keepsake of all the hard work that has gone into upgrading our living space – seeing the befores and afters is so satisfying! It’s also so helpful to others who are renovating to get inspiration or advice and learn things we’ve learned along the way. We are inundated with home interior questions, so we know that we are helping many.”

Living in Essex

On living in Essex, Emily can’t say enough good things about it. “Being originally from Canada means I am like a tourist and appreciate how nice it is – it is a wedding county for a reason, right? There are so many stunning parts. In Brentwood, we frequent Weald and Thorndon Park with the dog, and the boys love a trip to Hylands Park. If we take a staycation in the UK, we’ll often opt for Norfolk or the Cotswolds – not too far away, and it has some lovely places to visit and stay. We absolutely love Smiths restaurant in Ongar, that’s definitely a favourite of ours. A little more relaxed, but we recently discovered Moto Pizza in Chelmsford and thought it was great!”

Future Plans

Looking ahead, we may soon get some fatherly advice thrown into the mix. “I really hope to make inspiring content for as long as possible, and I would love to start a podcast in the future. It seems my audience likes the onscreen chemistry between my husband and me, so we thought a Podcast would give followers a chance to see us a little more relaxed and see how humour plays a key role in our relationship, which is still going strong after 19 years, 15 years married, three children, a dog, and a few renovations.”

Follow @mrsemilynorris / @emilynorrishome.

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Picture of Mark Kebble

Mark Kebble

Mark's career in journalism started in 2001 when he landed a role on a small lifestyle magazine in Angel, North London. Soon enough, the magazine was purchased by a larger organisation and Mark found himself promoted to editor at the tender age of 23. He later became group editor, working on magazines for Angel, Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Highgate. He was also involved in a launch in Hadley Wood and a major new group website, later becoming Group Hub Editor. In 2021, Mark joined Zest Media Group and oversaw the launch of many Absolutely titles across the UK. To date, Mark has launched in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Essex, Yorkshire and Cheshire. When he does have some free time, Mark is also the Chairman of an amateur football club in Surrey and is also a fully qualified FA football coach.
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