Jet-setter and digitally-savvy mama of two…
When Jo Lorenz left Sydney and first stepped foot into Hong Kong, she had no idea that her eight month stay would eventually become home as she celebrates almost over a decade being here. From meeting her hubby, to delivering her two sons, Harry and Jude here, Hong Kong has a special place on this mama’s heart. Bridging her love of family, styling, travel and creativity to the online platform, Instagram, she has created a presence with her chic, minimalistic aesthetic in the digital world. We step into her gorgeous home and learn more about the best advice Jo has received, who inspires her, and her favourite family-friendly dining spots.
Tell us about yourself and how you found yourself in Hong Kong.
I am a stylist, digital content creator and proud Mum to the two best little dudes on earth: Harry and Jude. I came to Hong Kong for an 8-month secondment ten years ago and while I was here, I met my husband, Willy. Willy’s a pilot, based in Hong Kong, so this wonderful city quickly became my home. It’s been very good to us and both our beautiful boys who were born here.
Describe your personality with three words.
Pragmatic, evolving and hungry.
Tell us how you got into photography and styling?
I was always the girl taking photos. Always. When I started working in the design world, the meeting of my take-on-life behind the lens, met my view on design in front of the lens. And so my styling career began. Styling is 100% what I do in every aspect of my day. It’s ultimately just called OCD!
What or who is your biggest inspiration to your creative work?
Oh so, so many! I am constantly inspired by the works of greats like Max Dupain and Olive Cotton, who were pioneers in Australian photography. Their photos fill me with a sense of tranquility, joy and positivity. Perfection.
What were some challenges you faced when launching your own business/passion project?
Believing that I’d made the right decision and that I could make things work. My husband was/is my biggest fan and he was the one that kept me going. He’s pretty rad. I think I’ll keep him.
What has been your most memorable collaboration and why?
I love working with my good friend, Emma Lauren. We’ve had a few travel gigs together and we just mesh really well, both professionally and personally. Love you Emmalynny!
How has being a mom changed the way you view your professional life?
It’s made me realise that life is too short to not enjoy your work. If you don’t enjoy what you do, try and change jobs! Or at the very least, change your outlook.
How do you balance work and mama life?
We all know it’s not easy as you constantly feel like you’re letting down one party. Or is that just me?! I feel like I am standing on a humungous set of scales, where one side occasionally starts to dip a little and so I have to jump across to the other side to balance it again.
One thing I always try to do though is give my boys all of me, when I am with them. No distractions, nothing else matters. Be present and in the moment! I get home from work and we have some cuddles and talk about their days. Then it’s time to make dinner, then bath time. Then after bath time we usually have some kind of make-believe game time (at the moment Harry just loves playing ‘Granny’, where we pretend we’re at Granny’s house in Sydney!) and then it’s more snuggling and bed time stories.
Then, once the boys are asleep, Willy and I give ourselves permission to be as distracted as we want, by whatever we want – be it emails, Instagram, television or just being comatose on the couch!
How are your two boys different and what do you love uniquely about each one?
They are so different! Harry’s the world’s fussiest eater, loves to act (yet prefers a small audience) and can be a little fastidious at leaving me. Jude, however, loves a huge party with everyone under the sun, eats everything in sight and would run off with a complete stranger.
They are alike in many ways too though – both incredibly systematical and logical and both have the best smiles on the planet!
If you could choose a new career what would it be and why?
Oooh I don’t know! Maybe a Broadway actress. But certainly not because I haven’t got the skill set for it…
What are some of your organisational tips and tricks?
For food, our homemade pasata sauce is probably my favourite food hack – it’s super easy to make, will last in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, is jam-packed with veggies and goodness, and is incredibly versatile.
We use this hidden-veggie special as a base on home-made pizzas, over pasta with a little cheese, or as a replacement for tomato sauce/ketchup. I get so much weird joy from watching my children devour something I made them!
Read more: Best Cooking Classes for Kids in Hong Kong
And my tips for plane travel with kids is preparation, preparation preparation. Pack lots of wholemeal and yummy food, 3-4 favourite toys and books and then, when you arrive at the airport, buy them a small and inexpensive present like a new toy car or sticker book. The novelty will last for hours into the flight (you’re welcome).
What do you do to get in that “me” time?
I’m a complete and utter bath person. If I can get 20 minutes soaking in a steaming, hot tub once a week (without any little people bursting in!) then I am recharged.
What do you find to be the most challenging part of parenting?
The repetition of, “Mum can I do this?” and my answer being “no”. Literally ten seconds later, “But Mum can I do this!?”.
What is the most rewarding part of parenting?
Getting to experience their exuberant views on life. Every day is a fresh slate, with adventure afoot!
What are 3 things you find yourself repeating to your kids all the time?
- “Don’t hit!”
- “No, don’t climb up there!”
- “I love you!!!”
Name your funniest parenting moment.
A recent one that springs to mind was when Harry asked me to help him with a menial task and when I asked why he couldn’t just do it himself, he simply said, “Because it’s your lucky day, Mumma!” Thanks kid, thanks.
Favourite family holiday destination and why.
At the moment, our favourite destination is simply heading home to Sydney where we get to hang with family and friends, and feel at ease. The boys just love it there and become the best versions of themselves.
What are your favourite spots to eat at with your family in Hong Kong?
We live on Lantau, and mainly only dine out here with the boys. Our favourites at Caffe Paradiso in Mui Wo, for delicious breakfasts and coffees; and Mavericks at Pui O Beach (five mins from our home) for yummy burgers and chips at sunset.
What’s the best advice you’ve received as a parent?
That mum always knows best (given to me by another mum, precisely four days in to me being a newbie!).
No advice is bad advice, it’s just not always going to be followed that’s all.
Something that you wish someone had told you about motherhood?
That it’s amazingly fun and satisfying! People focus too much on the tricky aspects at times.
Where are your favourite places to shop for kids clothing in Hong Kong? Any great online options?
I actually do a lot of my shopping for the boys on Etsy or via Instagram. I love to find a style I like and then fall down a rabbit hole looking for more! I love, love, love Australian brands like Yoli & Otis and Daughter, both of which I discovered via Instagram.
Read more: Children’s Party Wear for Special Occasions
What are your top three date night spots with the hubby?
As Willy’s a pilot, we do a fair amount of travel so most of our nights out together are when we’re overseas! My top three favourite date nights thus far have been our engagement night dinner in Athens, our Christmas Paris weekend, and our curry street food adventures in Sri Lanka. When we’re in Hong Kong, we tend to fit directly into the Netflix category.
As a mama, I wish I were better at…
Being more patient… impatience is one of my worst faults.
I wake up in the middle of night thinking about…
A million different boring adult things, but I get myself back to sleep by thinking about how lucky we are and how happy I am.
Bedtime is always smoother when…
We’ve been to Disneyland!
My favourite moment of the day is…
Hearing their soft snores!