Five marvellous minutes with the captain of games for growing minds.

Daisy Upton is a mother of two, an experienced teaching assistant and now a bestselling author. Having cut her teeth in sports broadcasting, her life changed when, at home with two toddlers, she discovered a hitherto latent but unerring knack for creating games to keep everyone from going out of their minds. This newly unearthed skill would go on to become a blog, which in turn morphed into a book.

As it transpired, Daisy was far from alone in seeking out activities that would keep her kids entertained and help them learn but which would neither break the bank nor require the levels of preparation that most sleep-deprived parents just cannot contemplate. Five Minute Mum, by contrast, specialises in creating little games which – as it says on the tin – take no longer than 300 seconds to set up, using items that you most probably already have in your house.

When the book hit the shelves in February, helpfully equipping parents of soon-to-be housebound little children everywhere with the skills to keep everyone happy for a few minutes at least, it became an instant Sunday Times bestseller. And rightly so. The ideas are brilliant, but also winningly, there is no trace of didactic superiority here. On Daisy’s website she details the recent moment she bundled her child into the car to go to nursery with no clothes on after he refused to get dressed. In short, there is no judgement to see here; only helpful ideas to play with. Want to find out more? Why not follow Daisy’s lovely account on Instagram here?



Here she tells us about why she disconnects every six weeks; how there really is no one-size fits all for parenting; and why believing in yourself really is the secret to online authenticity.

Five Minute Mum: Give Me Five by Daisy Upton is available to buy here now. Five Minute Mum: Time For School and Five Minute Mum: On The Go will be published in 2021.

My favourite website...


The Met Office. I am glued to the weather. I love gardening and had years of two small children at home who needed daily airing. I now know why my dad used to ‘shh’ us as kids when the weather report came on at the end of the news!

My favourite app...


Playground Buddy. I recently discovered this and think it is brilliant. It shows you on a map any playgrounds that are around you. It’s helpful if you’re in a new area or on a long car journey with kids and need somewhere to stop and let them burn off some energy. Plus, you can upload and edit the information about the playground for other users.

My favourite blog...


Elle Wright’s Feathering the Empty Nest. It’s such a beautiful page with so many incredibly moving stories, including Elle’s own. It reminds me to be hugely grateful for how fortunate I am.

My Internet hero...


My friend Sarah. She was diagnosed with bowel cancer and blogged about it up until her final moments. Whenever it all gets a bit much I think of Sarah, a true hero.

My favourite podcast...


At the moment I am really enjoying No Such Things As A Fish. I listen to it as I walk to and from school and often chuckle out loud, much to my embarrassment in front of fellow rushing parents!

My favourite YouTuber...


I am not a big YouTube watcher but I love Emma Conway, Brummy Mummy of 2. She has a fabulous YouTube channel. My kids are obsessed with Blippi!

My most recent buy online...


I bought Florence a gorgeous purple beanie hat from The Littles.

Last book you downloaded or read...


A friend recently loaned me Maya Angelou’s book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and I fell in love with her writing. I immediately ordered the next book in the series, Gather Together in my Name. I read half the entire book yesterday and have asked for her whole autobiographical series for my birthday.

Favourite tweeter...


@mariankeyes. She is just such a constant source of joy.

Favourite Instagrammer...


At the moment I am loving Sydney Piercey. The beautiful photos of her family’s French adventure and her incredible cardboard creations are my go-to. Plus, she’s a fellow fan of the kitchen dance!

Favourite tech gadget...


My battery power pack for my phone. I am always running out of battery when I need it most. I agreed my first book deal speaking at 100mph on three per cent of battery whilst stood outside a café watching my kids through the window!

The most useful gadget/item on your desk...


Does a chocolate orange count? My bendy phone holder tripod thing. It grips to any surface and can bend in lots of ways to get a good angle on a game we are playing.

Most useful digital resource during lockdown...


Oxford Owl. It has lots of great educational resources and free e-books which proved invaluable when we got bored of the ones we have at home.

Most inspirational digital resource during lockdown...


I used the Twinkl website quite a bit and I was so pleased they made so many of their resources free for parents. I also absolutely loved Louis Theroux’s podcast which had some really thought-provoking moments. And Josh Widdicombe and Rob Beckett’s Lockdown Parenting Hell provided some much-needed laughs.

First thing/app you look at on your mobile when you wake up/in the morning...


Facebook, because I immediately click on the memories bit and love to be reminded of what I was doing years ago, or happy moments I’ve collected online. It’s a nice way to start the day.

Last thing you binge-watched...


Married At First Sight Australia Season 5. We were hooked and I had to google them all afterwards to see what happened next! I’m a sucker for a love story.

Favourite brands have you discovered online...


Mrs Beasley’s Bows (I adore her hairbands and so does Flo who’s four); mutha.hood; Laurence King board games; Noodle Doo; Mint Poppy… There are so many fantastic ones, I could go on all day, but I only follow my favourites.

Social media allowed me to meet...


Some of the most incredible and wonderful people: Gina, Heather, Chara, Abbie, Becky, Susie, Laura, Lisa, Anna, Myriam, Africa, Sarah, Matt, Ellie, Sydney, Tova, Carmel... I mean I could go on and on. There are some really brilliant people out there doing fantastic things online. People that make me laugh or inspired are always my favourite.

The best digital advice I've been given...


‘You have to believe in yourself. That’s the secret.’ It’s a Charlie Chaplin quote but my mum sent it to me in a card and it’s true. If you don't truly believe in what you are sharing, people will see straight through it.

My screensaver is...


A photo from our wedding day of me and my husband chasing the two kids through an orchard.

My standout online memory...


When my literary agent Lauren first messaged me. I opened my inbox to someone saying to little old me, ‘I want to sign you up because I think you could write a book’. I felt like my fairy godmother had just granted one of my greatest wishes. I was in a playground with my kids at the time and thought I was going to fall over!

My pet online hate...


People criticising other people’s parenting choices. There are so many ways to parent. If there was only ONE ‘correct’ way, we would all do it. But there isn’t. My favourite phrase is ‘you do you’.

Do you have any online rules or resolutions?


I follow the school year. I think my time in education as a pupil and then as a teaching assistant set my brain to work in terms. I am online during school term time, and then I switch off and delete every social media app from my phone during half terms and school holidays. That way, I get a proper break every six weeks or so which really helps me rest and come back rejuvenated, ready to share more ideas.

The Internet. On balance, a force for good or ill?


Good. I’m an optimist and if you curate your feeds carefully you can find so much good you would never otherwise have discovered.

By Nancy Alsop
November 2020

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