Radio and TV presenter Edith Bowman, mum to Rudy, 7, and Spike, 2, admits her favourite time of the day is their bedtime, when she gets to spark their imagination with stories and read from their favourite books. Now in Christmas countdown mode, here Edith talks family get-togethers and festive fun with her two small boys and musician husband Tom Smith.
Telling my sons a bedtime story is precious. We’re big believers in the power of books and reading and it’s been a huge part of our life with the boys since they were born. Last weekend we drove to Gloucestershire and were stuck in traffic for hours but the boys were perfectly happy with their stories. That’s why I’ve voiced three books by children’s author Tracey Corderoy for Vauxhall Motors: the stories can be accessed by parents in the car on long journeys over the Christmas period to keep kids interested and happy.
I think David Walliams is a fantastic writer
Rudy loves reading David Walliams’ books and is enjoying the latest one, Grandpa’s Great Escape. I love that because I had a very close relationship with my own grandpa, so can relate to it. I think David Walliams is a fantastic writer. Spike adores The Gruffalo at the moment, and likes to play with the soft toy too, which is sweet.
Reading helps develop their imagination and my boys are great storytellers
I think it’s important to encourage their creativity. Reading helps develop their imagination and my boys are great storytellers, which I think is because we’ve always put so much importance on stories and reading at bedtime. Psychologically it’s so good for children to be interested in stories. For us as well as them, reading at bedtime is a special end to the day and a brilliant way to wind down.
The boys are already excited about Christmas. We’ve got an extended Christmas this year and are managing to stretch it out all the way through December. My brother works offshore so we’re having an early Christmas celebration with him, his fiancée and the whole family in Scotland in mid-December. The boys love to travel up to Scotland and spend time with everyone, and we will have Christmas Day in London with my in-laws, so plenty of family celebrations planned.
We have a lot of family traditions at Christmastime. I bake shortbread with Rudy and Spike and they leave it out on the mantelpiece with a glass of milk for Santa and his reindeer (apparently they all love milk, so the boys tell me!). They hang up their stockings and write letters to Father Christmas too. It’s as much fun for me as it is for them. That’s one of the many things I love about being a parent: it’s a great excuse to relive your own childhood and do all those silly things that are so lovely at Christmas.
I’m not as organised as I could be, let’s put it that way! The boys had photographs taken for Christmas cards and I duly ordered a load to be printed, ready to send out. I got the envelopes and I was all set then I realised I didn’t have enough cards to cover even half my list! But I’m going to pick up a Christmas tree today and then I’ll decorate it with the boys. As with all mums, it’s about finding the window, making the time. My feeling about Christmas prep is that I’ll get there in the end, it’ll all get done!
Vauxhall Motors and Edith Bowman have created Backseat Bedtime, a series of narrated children’s stories available to stream through Vauxhall OnStar – a personal onboard assistant for your car offering WiFi and much more – making the backseat feel more like bedtime on long car journeys.