My top five hacks for busy Surrey mums

It’s a busy time of year here in the Lister household. I’ve been doing some amazing shoots like when Issy when met a unicorn or this like this Scandi style newborn shoot. The kids are busy at school and nursery and on top of this is the build up to Christmas which, as all Surrey mums, know is when things really get chaotic! My Christmas Surrey family photo shoots are already almost sold out which means I will be busy throughout. Managing my time is so important to help me keep on top of everything during the festive period. Here are my top 5 mum hacks that might help you save time too.

The kids bath time can be your time too


My kids love to have a bath, they can spend ages playing with bubbles or ice cubes. So while they are busy getting clean, I try to use this time effectively. Often I have a shower as I can see and talk to them from the cubicle but I also do things like a sorting out my nails, tidying up my eyebrows or a nice face mask. A friend of mine uses the time to give the rest of the bathroom a bit of a clean. What could you do while the kids are having fun in the bath?

Get to know your timers


Most machines have an amazing timer function that allows you to have something ready for when you need it. The oven, the washing machine, the dishwasher – just look for the little clock with the arrow. Before being a mum, it wasn’t something that crossed my mind but now I use them all the time. I often put things in the oven (like jacket potatoes) in the morning then have them ready for dinner time or I set the washing on to finish when I know I can hang it out. Dig out those appliance manuals and see if you can take advantage of this great feature.

Find the best apps for you

There are so many apps out there that can help you manage your work and personal life. I regularly use them for online banking and shopping. I’d be lost without my Amazon Prime app.  Here are just a few of my other favourites:

  • Google calendar is great for sharing diaries in a family. My husband and I both have one and it means we both know what is going on. I can put in diary entries to remind me of all the school admin as well the kids’ busy social life.
  • LIVI is a new one from the NHS which means you can see a GP by video. Not all surgeries have access but it’s worth checking out.
  • Youtube is still one of my most used apps. If I can’t do something I always search for a how-to video, for example assembling a toy or removing a car seat cover.

Making the most of car time

I’m often in the car with one or both of the kids and arrive at places a little early on purpose to use my car as an office space. For example I might use that time to post on my instagram feed, facebook page or other social media channels. I sometimes do my online shopping there or even send client invoices. It’s amazing what you can achieve in relatively short amounts of time when there are no kids to interrupt you!

Keep the cycle going


Keeping on top of appointments can be hard work with a family. I always book my next appointment while I’m at the place in question. This works really well for routine things like the dentists, opticians or hairdressers and means one less thing to think about and tick off my festive to-do list.

I love hearing from fellow Surrey mums about what their hacks are – please share in the comments below!

My name is Katie Lister and I’m a Surrey family photographer living in Hersham with my two children Sienna and Joey.

Header image by Nina Mace.

It's official - parents prefer natural nursery photographs!

Did you know that I also work with a select few nurseries each year, to capture natural photographs of pre-schoolers whilst they play? If you are interested in seeing this style of photography at your nursery, please tell them about me!