Gemma Bonner, Head of Dance at Sutton Dance Academy and mother –of –two girls, is a gem. She is authentic, energetic and has an infectious smile. Gemma talks to us about guilty pleasures, life lessons and the important role her husband plays in their family.
What time do you usually wake up? My alarm goes off at 6:45am most days, and if it doesn't go off I wake up then anyway! Very frustrating on weekends!
What do you usually have for breakfast? Nutrition is very important to me, and I know how crucial breakfast is. But honestly? Often nothing at all! On a day when I make time, I will have porridge to give me lots of energy for my morning classes!
What is your daily ritual? The only thing consistent in my day is the chaotic run from one thing to the next. I never quite feel organised enough to keep to a set routine - although I do like structure. I do shower every morning regardless of anything though :-)
What is a typical day like in your household? Quite often our eldest creeps into our room around 6:00am and goes back to sleep with us. We wake the little one up around 7:30 - I think she would sleep all day if we let her! It's then the mad dash to eat breakfast - which my husband usually organises - and get the school clothes on. Both children are at different schools so the mornings take some negotiating to get to each school on time. And then I dash to work ready to teach at 9:30. After school is different each day depending on clubs or work schedules, but bedtime for the children is always between 7 and 8pm. Then I get straight into bed too if I can manage it.
What does “me time” involve? Time on my own. I love reorganising cupboards, papers, furniture - but only when no one else is around. I love making things look spick and span. I've never been alone long enough before it's all turned upside down again though.
Favourite dessert? Anything creamy, caramelly and a little bit naughty! Dolce de Leche from Brazil - that's my weakness.
What is your guilty pleasure? Pinterest. I could while away HOURS on Pinterest but always feel guilty for excessive screen time.
What is the last hobby you picked up? I genuinely haven't picked up a new hobby in a while but I'd love to. I love the idea of learning something new and crafty. I've been meaning to try finger-knitting for ages.
Favourite lyrics? I'm not great with favourites. I always change my mind and get inspired by different things at different times. Genuinely can't find anything in my mind for this question - although I am a sucker for a great quote! 'Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly' - that's one that resonates.
Favourite song of all time? Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros. I walked down the aisle to it. It will always be a little bit special.
Favourite musician of all time? Again this changes all the time but at the moment I'm loving anything Folky. The band Coco and the Butterfields is a regular on my playlist.
What is the best thing about your job? There are so many great things about my job. It is just 10 minutes away, it is flexible, I interact with loads of great people and I do what I love every day.
How do you juggle work and family? Sometimes with difficulty. Now that I'm working full time I don't feel that I can be the mum I want to be. But on the other hand, before I went back to work, I was starting to lose my sanity a little! I was struggling with being a mum full time and so at least now, I can have some great moments with my kids and enjoy a different challenge at the same time.
What is your biggest fear? Hmmmm. I'm starting to fear getting old. I've not thought of it much before, but recently seeing elderly people in my life starting to age considerably is frightening. I'm also quite fearful of my kids growing up and not knowing how to do the best for them. The emotions that already rock our household having two girls leave me feeling lost and incapable. I worry that I'm not doing it right. I worry about my husband working in The City and the recent terror attacks on neighbouring countries. But you can fear too much right?
What does motherhood mean to you? My husband plays a big role. Without his support and his hands-on parenting, I would be at quite a loss. He knows that I find parenting hard and he also knows that I need time alone. I struggled with being a mum full time. Now that I’m working, having such a supportive other half helps me to have some great moments with my kids and enjoy a different kind of challenge at the same time.
What has motherhood taught you? Not to judge others, to publicly empathise with others having a tough time and that I'll be tired for the rest of my life.
So far, what has life taught you? Gosh. Everything and nothing at all. I still feel like I know and understand so little. Every single day, I'm challenged in my thinking and my emotions. Every day, I learn something completely new about myself and the world around me. Everyday, I wonder when I will grow up and know everything… but the older I get, the more I realise that I will always feel a little left behind. Technology is starting to baffle me, directions are starting to confuse me, deadlines are starting to panic me, and I am now more hesitant to challenge myself physically incase I hurt myself. All very natural I'm sure… and life is teaching me that nothing is infinite.
What was the last book you read? The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson. I very rarely find time to read these days but this was one I tried one night and couldn't put down. Kept me guessing until the last page. I like a book like that.
What is your favourite book of all time?I'm not great with favourites but The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a book that I've read several times and it never ceases to baffle, amaze and disturb me.
What would you tell your 14 year old self? That mum genuinely is right! Work hard because it really does matter. Put others first and always look out for those who need it.
What is the best advice you were ever given? Someone said to me on my wedding day - 'Stand back and take a moment to look around. It will go fast.' This is true for life too - moments to appreciate and enjoy are important.
What is your biggest regret? So far my biggest regret is the year I struggled with life and didn't really notice my kids. I feel like I missed a year of my youngest daughter's life and spent too much time feeling angry and insular. All life's experiences make you the person you are and so perhaps I am better for it now - but I wish I had enjoyed my tiny daughter more.
What is your proudest achievement? Coming out the other side of the year mentioned in the previous question! I'm sure it wasn't the last tough time I'll ever have but having done it once has equipped me with some armour to use next time I need to go into battle.
What do you hope to achieve next year? Complete life organisation. Hahahahahaha!!