Tess Daly: Back To School, Back To Strictly

Guest writer Tess Daly talks about juggling work and family time in her new weekly blog on Yahoo Lifestyle UK.

It's been a hectic week. Those long, lazy days of summer have been abruptly replaced by the discipline of early nights, 7am alarms and nightly homework!

Going back to school requires plenty of planning. I pride myself on being organised (with my work schedule I have to be!) but no matter how much advance prepping, there's always the ONE thing I manage to forget - this time it was my children’s Wellies.

In my defence it WAS during a 28-degree heat wave but cue a reprimanding from my eldest (Phoebe; 8 going on 12!). Ah the pressure of being ‘The Perfect Mother’- who NEVER forgets a thing! Deep down we all aspire to and (hopefully) manage to pull it off sometimes.

For me, juggling work and precious family time is a constant balancing act. I'm lucky to do a job I LOVE but those special moments with my family are the ones I value most.

That said, I can’t wait to get back into the Strictly studio with Brucie. This series promises to be one of the best ever with so many great characters on board - Hairy Biker Dave Myers' warm wit has already won my heart and I can't wait for Vanessa Feltz to bite back at the judges!

I was filming Strictly’s first show the day before school started. It was a big day for us as it was my 4 year old daughter Amber’s first day of school. This meant getting everything ready well in advance; new school shoes, pencil cases, haircuts and school bags packed with Peppa pig and Moshi Monsters key rings firmly attached!

[Aurora James: I admit it - we love family food shopping]
[Kash Salem: Why I always look forward to weekend breakfast]

Everything had to be labelled, from socks to lunch boxes. I saved precious time with these genius stick-on labels I found at Ooh La Labels which even stay on after washing. Kids can personalise their own designs too. Cute for them and easy for me!

Fortunately, Amber coped admirably on her first day - much better than me as I choked back tears while plastering on a brave smile!

Later today, I'm heading to her Reception class' picnic in the park. I try to not miss class events as its a chance for the little ones (and their mums!) to make new friends - the key to happy school days for all.

I'm packing a healthy picnic of cheese sandwiches, fruit smoothies and my new obsession - sweet and salty "skinny popcorn" (hurrah for guilt-free snacking!)

On Wednesday I'm in London with Vernon hosting the wonderful ‘Well Child’ awards that honours some very brave and inspiring children with serious illnesses. It’s an event that Patron Prince Harry never misses and it's bound to be an incredibly moving evening for which I have plenty of tissues packed.

On Thursday we have a bumper play date planned at ours with the girls friends coming over for dressing up, dancing and dinner. My ‘hidden veg’ pasta or homemade chicken nuggets tend to be the most requested meals.

Thursday also happens to be my 10th wedding anniversary - which reminds me that I must go gift shopping...men! SO difficult to buy for...

Friday the 13th is Roald Dahl Day at school - with a "Dahlicious Dress Up Day" and I've been busy sourcing BFG and Matilda outfits from our local Fancy Dress shop.

Then it’s the weekend and I intend to make the most of one of my last free weekends until Christmas. That means leisurely mornings (no clock-watching!).

We'll probably take the kids out for dinner and a movie as the girls are desperate to see ‘Smurfs 2’, and then grab a bite out somewhere afterwards.

I'm hoping the weather holds out as I'm also planning on long walks with the dog followed by a delicious home cooked Sunday Roast with friends and family.

In a couple of weeks my weekends will be spent on the Strictly dance floor all the way up until Christmas! Not that I'm complaining!

Bring it on...