Spending one-on-one time with Etta and Artie

Holly Branson's daughter, Etta, overlooking a pond and landscaped gardens
Image from Holly Branson
Holly Branson
Holly Branson's writing
Published on 31 July 2019

For a long-time, I’ve been wanting to dedicate some special one-on-one time with Etta and Artie.


Holly Branson looking out of a window with her two young children in New York, 2018
Image by virgin.com

A lot of the books, blogs and studies I’ve read about the topic say the benefits include the deepening of your bond and relationship, ensuring your child feels acknowledged and empowered to embrace their individuality.

However, with a set of twins and a baby, I’ve always found it hard to find the time. Etta, Artie and Lola are all so close and love each other’s company too, so it often falls off the priority list. 

Etta and Artie in a boat with the ocean and horizon in front of them, backs to the camera. Artie is pointing to the left of the image.
Image from Virgin.com

I felt particularly inspired after recently meeting Esther Wojcicki. Esther speaks and writes about the importance of building independence in your children so they can find the confidence to make their own decisions and pave their own way. As my maternity leave draws to a close, I figured I should put some dates in the diary now before I get back to the office and life becomes even more hectic!

I decided to set two days aside, found a great list of activities and let Etta and Artie each make a plan for a special day out with yours truly! They both decided upon such different itineraries and it reminded me how different and unique they are, despite being so close.

Holly Branson with her son Artie
Image from Holly Branson

Artie and I went to the National Maritime Museum, the Cutty Sark ship in Greenwich and then took a river bus down the Thames to the London Eye. It was touching to see Artie so animated and excited by the world around him and listen to all of his curious thoughts. He really does have the biggest heart and the best sense of humour – which came out in full force with just the two of us around!

Artie stands at the wheel of the Cutty Sark
Image from Holly Branson

Etta’s day out took a different tone but it was equally busy. We started off at Kensington Palace where Etta was captivated by Queen Victoria’s childhood trinkets before heading off to an adventure park where she zip-lined, climbed and swung her way around the course. I was blown away by how brave and determined she was, despite being the smallest person on the course by a long shot.

Holly Branson's daughter Etta looks out over a garden in London
Image from Holly Branson

It was so great to see their unique passion, curiosity and interests come to life by spending this precious time together and I believe it was really valuable for their confidence, individuality and independence.

I’m going to try and set some individual time aside on a monthly basis. It doesn’t have to anything expensive or time-consuming either, it might be as simple as a special breakfast or an ice-cream date together. The key is to let the kids decide on the details, but here are some really simple ideas I’ve added to the list:

  • A 30 minute extension to the bed-time curfew for quality time with the parents.

  • Baking a family recipe together.

  • A babycchino-coffee date with a mini quiz.

  • An afternoon tending to the community gardens.

  • A trip to the markets to learn more about the food we eat and where it comes from.

Etta and Artie Andrewes on a climate strike march, holding posters they've made to cover their faces
Image from Holly Branson

What would you add to the list? I’ll make sure I keep you all posted on our next adventures!