Fresh Air Stories: Kat Brown
The Fresh Air Stories are a series of interviews talking openly about how we can get our kids outside more and show that there isn’t one ‘perfect’ way to do it. First up is Kat Brown
Tell us a little about you and your family?
I’m 37 and I live in Chislehurst with my husband David and two sons Louis, age 5 and Max, age 2. After working for 12 years in magazines in London and then leaving to be a stay at home mum, I am now about to launch my own business Mama Brown & Co - a marketplace and online magazine dedicated to making parenting playful.
We previously lived in South London for 7 years but moved out to Chislehurst in Kent to find our family home, a garden, and more open outside space to enjoy with the children...two small boys sure have a whole heap of energy to burn off!
Why is getting outside into the Fresh Air important to you?
My husband and I both grew up in Yorkshire and the outdoors was a big part of our childhood. We were fortunate to be born in a place and a time where you could still safely let your children ride their bikes round to their friends’ house so both spent many afternoons after school playing out and being active.
My parents also had a caravan so most holidays were camping - mainly in France - where the only hours spent inside were when we were sleeping! That love of the outdoors (and camping in France!) from an early age has carried forward now we have children of our own, and we try to turn the screens off and get outside with them after school and at weekends as much as possible. It’s great for burning off their bundles of energy, for their wellbeing and for ours too...somehow being in the open air has the power to clear your head, diffuse any squabbles, and put everyone in a good mood!
Family life is busy how do you build in time for getting outside?
Life is SO busy! With my eldest boy about to finish his first year of primary school, I have fast realised that the juggle of school runs, swimming lessons and starting the business means we’re always on the move. When you’re all shattered, it’s tempting to flop on the sofa and turn on the TV (and there are definitely times when only a Disney movie will do). Where I used to automatically turn on the television out of habit when we walked through the door, I now instead try to open the back door when we get home and set out some toys. I’m finding that it’s really helped to reduce their screen time and increase their outdoor play, making the most of the lighter summer nights while we have them! They have also reached an age where they are starting to play together without (too many..) squabbles, so I can have 15 minutes to research new brands for our store or write up an article for the online magazine.
With my husband working in London during the week, at weekends we try to come together and spend time as a family, often in the garden or the woodland near our home.
Fortunately, the nature of my business means that playing out with the boys is a great form of research, so we’re often road testing new ways to play out, learn about the outdoors and have fun in the fresh air which we can share with our audience of families.
What are your favourite things to do outside as a family?
We live near a pretty large national trust woodland which has loads of play potential! If we have a free day (or if I’m feeling energetic on the way home from school...) we take them into the neighbouring woodland on their bikes, there are a few jumps and runs which have been built by other children so they love pretending they’re BMX racers, and nature provides a soft landing and a safe space away from the roads where they can roam a little more independently.
It’s also been the location for various bear & scavenger hunts, duck feeding trips, Gruffalo spotting missions and Christmas elf adventures over the years, and gave us the inspiration to create a nature den in the garden from leftover decking board, chicken wire and discarded tree branches. Louis also made his own bug house so often enjoys rescuing various insects and ‘rehousing’ them at Casa Brown!
When it comes to getting away, some of our favourite holiday memories are late afternoon on the beach, when the toes are their sandiest, the sun is cooling and the water is warm!
Pic Credit: TravelTriangle
At Little Hotdog Watson we love being able to help families get out + about. Where is the one place you’ve been that you would really like to show to your children and why?
Boulders Beach, South Africa - the beach is home to a colony of thousands of African penguins and it’s incredible to watch them. Summer is the best time to see as many as possible, but they are living there all year round.
Fresh Air means to my family…..getting outside, clearing our heads and feeding our imagination and sense of adventure...all round good for the soul!
Little Hotdog Watson means to my family…..well it means my 2 year old will actually keep his hat on...no mean feat so thank you Emma for creating hats we both love!
Follow Kat and find out more about Mama Brown and Co here which launches 23rd September 2019
If you liked this interview don't forget to check out Amy Walkers: Fresh Air Story too.
Would you like to share your Fresh Air Story - we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org