Pandora Sykes, 34, lives in North West London with her husband Ollie, 36, their daughter Zadie, three, and their son Sasha, one year old
I try not to schedule important meetings or deadlines (aka âthe scary stuffâ) first thing on a Monday because I suffer from insomnia, and a long to-do list the next morning often results in a restless night. Sleep problems are common in my family and I have struggled with them since I had children. It doesn’t affect me too much during the day, although I do have to be careful about how much time I spend looking at my phone or watching TV at night.
On good days, I wake up naturally around 7am. My son Sasha was born three months before the first lockdown, so I set out to become a mother of two and find my new rhythm. My husband Ollie and I have developed a proven morning schedule: he cooks breakfast for the kids, while I choose their clothes.
Our daughter Zadie goes to nursery and we are fortunate to have a nursery for our son Sasha. When it’s my turn for breakfast, I’ll grab a sesame bagel with smoked salmon, and slip into a walk around Kensal Rise, while catching up with a podcast like Shameless or The Receipts.
Then we both juggle our jobs – Ollie is in marketing, while I left my post as fashion editor four years ago to work as a freelance writer and podcaster. [until recently Pandora co-hosted The High Low]. I work in the living room and use a traditional desktop computer – it’s old school but that means I can’t be tempted to move around the house.
My style has changed dramatically since I became independent. My look used to be very trendy, but now it’s more practical: leggings and a t-shirt are my must-haves, and I’m putting on a preppy shirt from The Jacket for Zoom calls. Knowing what’s âtrendyâ will never leave me, but now I’m much more drawn to building my vintage collection and love browsing Etsy and French second-hand sites for unique pieces.
I always try to find the balance between my relationship with work and family life, which in writing my book How Do We Know We Are Doing It Right? (a collection of essays on societal pressures and happiness) helped me reflect. Writing it has encouraged me to take a step back and really think about what motivates me when I say yes to things: when I take a project for example, am I doing it for the right reason and why? it beneficial? I try to remind myself that productivity doesn’t make you a better person.
I’m sticking to one project a day: I recently interviewed writers for Zoom events, and I’m recording my podcast’s second series, The Missing, on Long-Term Missing Persons. It was so sad to hear about Sarah Everard – it wouldn’t have taken the death of a young woman to finally have the recent conversations about women’s safety. Every woman I know has gone through times of vulnerability when alone, and I always check my friends after a night out – it’s instinctive for most women, but I don’t think that’s a concept considered by. men.
My relationship with social media is a work in progress. I use Instagram to follow creatives and Twitter to discover new writers and promote my work, but I don’t feel the need to log in every day. I enjoy the freedom to turn off my phone at night – it helps calm my mind.
I try to finish the job in time to take care of the children’s bath time with Ollie, then he cooks. Neither of us like it, but he’s slightly better at following recipes – a chicken and plum dish he made recently was delicious. We often get boxes of HelloFresh recipes (these were life-changing) and we sometimes buy Charlie Bigham ready meals.
Sometimes after dinner I stuff myself with French comedy drama Call My Agent! with Ollie or go back to my desk to tie up some work projects, but often I will sit in the window seat reading. I’ve read a lot of books – recently read We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan and Act of Desperation by Megan Nolan, and I’m about to start Transcendent Kingdom, by Yaa Gyasi.
Some evenings I go FaceTime my friend Dolly Alderton with a glass of wine. We had so much fun co-hosting The High Low, which ended last year – I miss working alongside him, but our friendship hasn’t changed.
My husband is an early riser, so we’re going to bed around 10pm and I’m going to put in a few more pages from my book. I just started using CBD night drops to help ease my erratic sleep pattern. So far, so good.
âHow do we know we’re doing it right? Came out in paperback on Thursday (Windmill, Â£ 8.99)