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'It feels like you are up in the trees': Inside this yoga-friendly family home in Cork

Loretta Kennedy takes us through a day behind her front door.

Source: Loretta Kennedy

About the home

Where? Cork
What type of house? Semi detached house built in the 90s
How many bedrooms and bathrooms? 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, plus one en suite
When did you move in? July 2011

About you

Name: Loretta Kennedy
Age: 45
Occupation: CEO and founder of MamaBear Foods
Who else lives there? My partner and three children

What made you choose this house over others?

We moved back from London when our eldest was one and rented in different parts of Cork. When we went looking to buy a house I was heavily pregnant with our second child. I fell in love with a converted cottage in the middle of nowhere and we very nearly bought it – until we revisited a third time and met the children of the owners, who looked so bored. The owners told us they were moving to the city because their children were pretty isolated and the bus route was very poor.

It made me realise that if we were buying somewhere, we needed to be thinking about what we would need five and ten years from then, so we opted for a house close to schools, shops and on a bus route. It takes about 30 minutes to cycle into Cork city from where we live.

Source: Loretta Kennedy

Which place in your home do you love the most (and why)?

My favourite spot is definitely the living room early in the morning with the sun streaming in before anyone has woken. Or our raised area of decking outside, which is our meditation spot. My partner built it two summers ago and he used beautiful old stones to create a wall to hold fruit trees and flowers. It feels like you are up in the trees and totally hidden when you go up there. I love it, as do the kids.

Which place in your home do you love the least (and why)?

The playroom is my least favourite spot. It continually reminds me of the amount of crap we have somehow managed to accumulate. We are in the process of reclaiming this space and turning it into a flexi office and yoga space and have started de-cluttering. I am so much more conscious of what we are buying and bringing into the house now, particularly things like toys. It’s hard to get rid of them once they come past the threshold, even using freecycle sites.

Take us through a day in your house, room by room

6:00am: I’m up any time between 6 and 6:15 but set my alarm for 6:15 in case I sleep in. Usually everyone else is asleep and I head downstairs and make coffee for the house. I have a small cup myself before I meditate, either in the living room or out on the decking. I meditate for about half an hour and then I do about 20 minutes of yoga. If I don’t do this my day feels off for the whole day. Then I check my diary for the day.

7:15am: If it’s school term we get the kids up by 7:15am at the latest, but my middle girl has usually woken by 6:45 herself and made her way out to wherever I am. If she sees I’m meditating she knows that I won’t come out to her unless there is a problem! My eldest gets herself up, but my youngest, who is 6, is a disaster in the morning.

7:55am: The kids are out the door and on a bus by 7:55 and then we head out.

11:00am: I will usually have a take away coffee with me in the car and have a brunch packed which I have around 11 am. No two days are the same for me. I could spend the day chasing emails. I could have a meeting with a supplier or a stockist or my mentor.

3:00pm: My work day finishes by 3 as that’s when the kids get home and off the bus from school. I work a little more after they go to bed on our kitchen table, another space I love. I have great memories of parties and late night chats (usually with a lot of wine involved) around this table!

Source: Loretta Kennedy

3:30pm: If it’s a school day, I start homework with them at the kitchen table after a snack. We have a great monk’s bench that they sit on which we got from Linehan Design in Cork. It’s made from oak and weighs a tonne and you can lift the seat to find a storage space built in. There are years’ worth of the childrens’ art work in there which I will go through some day when I get the time.

6:00pm: There are invariably after school activities like gymnastics and swimming, but once they are all done we have dinner usually round 6. I try to eat with them as much as possible. I used to cook for them and then myself and my partner would eat later, but now I try to eat with them and get them to stay at the table and talk, and help with the clean up afterwards.

If it’s nice we’ll eat outside and I love setting the table nicely. Lots of colourful food, flowers, salads, botanical drinks like homemade kefirs. I don’t eat meat, so there will always be lots of veg and salad out. On Mondays my partner works from home and cooks with my eldest. It’s always lovely to come home and someone else has cooked.

8:00pm: By 8 it’s time for my youngest to go to bed. I will have the fire lit in the living room if it’s cold and I love sitting by the fire, finishing off some work or reading before bed. My partner is usually home by 7, but sometimes later, so I love the weekends where we don’t have long working days.

Source: Loretta Kennedy

8:30pm: We got a gorgeous long leather couch when we moved into our house and that’s where the kids snuggle for movies or reading. I knew I didn’t want matching furniture so we have lots of different pieces in the living room including a Queen Anne chair and a carved wooden and red leather chair from Morocco.

10:30pm: I try to get to bed before 11 and am trying to reduce the time I spend before bed on my laptop as I have had terrible insomnia this year. I tell the kids they need to do it so need to practice what I preach!

Is there anything you’d do differently if you were doing it again?

I would buy a detached house by the sea but on a bus route into Cork city! I love the idea of living in an old Victorian house with sea views. I love the sea and would love to live nearer to it.

More How We Live: ‘We couldn’t afford to buy our dream house, so we created one’: Inside this stylish and bright semi-d in Cork>

About the author:

Emily Westbrooks

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