Case Study: Sam Sims

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AGA 60 in duck egg blue in kitchen with white cabinetry

We caught up with Sam Sims, founder of Up All Hours, an online resource for parents. Sam’s spending the lockdown period with her husband, Asa, and their eight-year-old son, Barney. We talked cooking, home schooling and the juggling act of life today… 

Sam Sims founder of Up All HoursHow are you finding lockdown life?
I’m finding it challenging and interesting in equal measures. I think it’s the juggle that’s quite fascinating – between parenthood and full-time work and being at home with my husband more than I’ve ever been. 

What’s the hardest bit?
From a parenting perspective, the challenge is keeping an only child entertained. I’m now very aware that he doesn’t have a sibling, so he’s stuck in a house with two adults. From a schooling perspective, it’s how do we get him to listen to us. He’s not a massively academic child – he wants to be out in the garden playing football all the time – so getting him to sit down and do what the school is asking him to do, I find quite tricky. 

How’s Barney doing? 
From an Up All Hours perspective, we speak a lot about being mindful of our children’s mental health as well as our own. They are aware there is a deadly virus sweeping the world. They can’t escape it. I’m aware I have to be conscious that it could be scary for him. He asks a lot of questions. I think they all do, but I think he’s OK and I think he feels safe. Making them feel safe is really important. He speaks to his Nona, my mum, who he is really close to. She’s been in full lockdown in Spain with my grandmother, so we’ve had a lot of good family FaceTime stuff going on. 

What’s Up All Hours doing differently? 
To be honest we’ve come into our own. We have a really engaged community anyway, but we are very aware that at this time any extra help we can offer parents for themselves and their children is going to be very well received. Sam Sims and son cooking on the AGA 60We’re doing lots of live stuff on our Instagram account @upallhoursphotos. We’re doing live history lessons #historyfromhome with @maxshad. We’re doing cooking with the kids with @jessieshad – the head chef and owner of King, an amazing restaurant in New York. We’re also helping parents find some time for themselves on a Monday with exercise. We stand by the hashtag and philosophy of #nevermissamonday and do a live session with @jamiesawyerfit who is a brilliant personal trainer and father of two.

How has your cooking changed at home?
We have an AGA 60, which we really love. We’re so grateful to have it, as we’re cooking more than we ever have. We love the AGA. It’s still the highlight of the house. We’ve been taking our time making things for breakfast that we wouldn't normally do because we are usually always rushing out of the door at weekends to get to football. Now we have time on our hands, we’re making the things we normally miss out on, like pancakes. 

We’ve made the classic banana bread that everyone’s doing. We’ve done really nice slow-cooked pork in the simmering oven. We’ve also got Barney a lot more into cooking now and he really enjoys it. I’m a massive porridge person for breakfast. We’re having poached and baked eggs for lunch. We’re trying to keep healthy now we’re not moving as much. So we’re looking for healthy food that’s really nutritious. 

Barney Sims making pancakes using the AGA 60Because we can’t get out as much to shop, we’re trying to be creative with the ingredients we have, so we’re doing one-pot dishes. One of the highlights that’s come out of this is that we’re eating together more as a family. We’ve also been leaving the AGA on all the time since we’ve been home. It’s been keeping it nice and warm when the weather was cool. It also looks great. When you’re at home it’s nice to like what you’re looking at because you get a bit sick of your four walls. 

What will you take from the way we’re living now once lockdown ends?
If I were to set my intentions for the future now, I’d like us to continue eating together as a family and eating more consciously. I think we’re wasting less food and being smarter about it and I’d like to continue doing that. 

Sam and her team can be found at