Lantau-living, travel-blogging, sustainable fashion-loving mama, Tania Reinert
Leaving the world of finance, Tania Reinert, sought a life that exemplified more calm, peace and zen. So her and her family moved away from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong island to the more serene, south Lantau. Armed with a wanderlust heart, Tania took to the world with her little one, Nika as they journeyed to over 11 countries together. Inspired by her adventures of traveling and parenting, she started a lifestyle and travel journal, Nika Kai Travel. She shares her dreams of inspiring her daughter and soon-to-be son, to live sustainable lives and make the world a better place. Read on as this inspiring mama dishes on the ups and downs of parenthood and being pregnant with baby number two!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up in Hong Kong.
I was born in Moscow and moved to Spain when I was fourteen. I studied and worked in London until I came to Hong Kong with my husband just after our wedding in 2009. I studied at LSE and ended up in finance, but after 6 years of working in banks I realised that finance wasn’t exactly right for me. I quit my job and Co-founded an online sustainable fashion boutique, A Boy Named Sue. After having my daughter in 2014, and extensively traveling the world with her, I was inspired to start an online lifestyle and travel journal for modern parents, Nika Kai Travels. I am currently 5 months pregnant with baby number 2. We live in South Lantau with three sausage dogs and a parrot.
What was your first impression after moving to HK?
I found it crazy, messy and very, very humid.
What was your inspiration behind A Boy Named Sue? Tell us more about Nika Kai Travels.
The lack of recycling and air pollution in Hong Kong made me much more environmentally aware, so I decided that I wanted to move from finance into a green and meaningful business. I came across a great book by Lucy Siegle, To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? that explained the dirty ins-and-outs of the fashion business. So my partner and I researched the market and came across a lot of great contemporary eco-designers, but we couldn’t find a good online platform that united these talents, so A Boy Named Sue was born out of that need.
As for Nika Kai, I started traveling with my daughter, Nika when she was just a 1 month old. She was born in Spain and we flew back to Hong Kong when she was 5 weeks old, a 12-hour flight plus a 3-hour flight with a 4-hour connection! I breastfed her for almost 20 months, so it was easy to travel everywhere with her. We travel at least every two months, usually just me and Nika. She will be three years old this July and so far she has been to Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, Spain, Israel, the US, Hawaii, the UK, Portugal, France and Belgium. These travels and all information that I was acquiring as a mother inspired me to start the lifestyle and travel journal for modern families, Nika Kai Travels.
How has being a mama to Nika (and with one on the way!) changed the way you set your priorities?
She is my number one priority. So I plan my days around spending as much time as I can with her. As a result, I am sometimes much less productive when it comes to work than I could be. Recently, I’ve had much less energy, because of the pregnancy so I have been trying to take care of myself a little more. I have been doing a really unique online course called MOTHER, that teaches you meditation, active listening, awareness it teaches you how to recharge and be positive and calm without having to go away on a holiday.
Name a moment/memory in your pregnancy or parenting experience where you’d like to freeze time for a moment.
The moment they gave her to me in hospital, the moment she smiled at me for the first time, first words, first steps. The time when I used to breastfeed her and it felt like there was only the two of us in the whole universe. The time right now, before the arrival of number two, when there is just me and her and no one else. We co-sleep and she loves cuddling in the mornings. I love waking up with her, and wish I could freeze those mornings moments. Oh and her baby smell, I wish I could bottle that up.
What has the experience of raising a child in Hong Kong been like?
Since our move to Lantau, it’s been incredible. We live next to the beach surrounded by nature in an actual house. Having a kid in the Mid-Levels where we used to live really sucked. The air quality, roadside pollution, lack of green space and crappy playgrounds were depressing.
On the positive side there are some great playgroups on the Hong Kong island like PEKIP, Baumhaus and Kindermusik with Crisel. As for Mandarin, there is a lovely space I still take her to from Lantau twice a week, called Mulberry House. The latter is a very unique educational space that is inspired by Emilio Reggio.
Last but not least, helpers run this city, without them it would all fall apart. I am forever grateful for the affordable and qualified help you can get in Hong Kong. It would be impossible for me to work, if I didn’t have my amazing, loving and really efficient helper.
Congratulations on your second pregnancy! What was your initial reaction when you first found out you were pregnant with your second baby?
I was shocked, although I do know my body very well and I almost immediately knew that something was off – even before I took the test. We sort of decided to try for number two, but it happened much faster than I expected. I am an only child (a happy one at that!) so the idea of two kids scares me a little.
What was your partner’s reaction like? Did you find out together or did you surprise your partner?
His sister was over for Christmas and so were his parents. Both me and his sister were late with our period and sensed something was happening and took a pregnancy test together and both tests were positive, so we first surprised his parents. We took the tests in a bathroom at IFC. I texted my husband the photo of the pregnancy test over the phone, as he was back at home. He was shocked just like I was!
Do you know the gender of the baby? Are you keeping it a secret or doing a reveal?
It’s a boy. Honestly the idea of having another little human in my life is already a big surprise, so I did want to find out the sex.
What are your top three cravings?
Tomatoes, avocado, multigrain toast with olive oil, and Korean temple food made by friend Mina Park from SOOK. Oh and pickled radish. I am a pretty healthy eater even when pregnant. During my last pregnancy I craved watermelons, which are very cooling according to Traditional Chinese Medicine and a big no-no in Chinese culture. Nika is quite a fiery baby so she must have needed the watermelon in the womb!
Name a funny moment in your pregnancy.
When I told my daughter I had a baby in my belly she said she had something in her belly too!
What has been the easiest trimester and which one proved most difficult?
First trimester is always the hardest because I just want to sleep. I don’t get morning sickness or anything else, I just want to sleep and with a toddler – sleep is much harder to achieve.
What have you struggled with most since being pregnant?
Feeling unfit. My daughter has so much energy and I can’t run and jump around with her like I could before. I also can’t carry her properly unless it’s on my shoulders. I feel like I am very slow all the time and I am out of breath easily.
What has your experience been with being pregnant in Hong Kong? Healthcare system?
I have a private doctor here that I love. Dr. Stevenson is super laid back and calm. So my experience with Hong Kong has been relatively positive. That said, a few years ago when I had issues with my hormones due to working in finance, I went to see a few doctors and I felt like Hong Kong is all about over-medicating and fast solutions. I quit finance, started practicing yoga and eating healthy and my hormones normalised without any doctors.
Like my first, I am planning to give birth in Spain again, as it’s cheaper even when you go private. The weather is nicer (I am due in August) and I will have my parents around.
What do you think every woman should know before getting pregnant?
Your life will never be the same… in a good way.
Any good suggestions on books for helping an older sibling welcome a younger one?
Not yet. I don’t believe in reading too much about parenting, unless its scientific or educational research. I feel like you can get so anxious from all the advice out there. I am doing an online course though called MOTHER which really helps me with parenting struggles.
Do you follow a specific fitness programme to stay in shape?
I do the occasional Pilates with a great teacher called Jill Marshall, a few minutes of yoga a day and I walk a lot. I also got an amazing nutritionist who has analysed my whole diet and has really made a difference to my energy levels, her name is Cristina Tahoces from Thrive Nutrition. I also work with a great midwife who has the most insightful and non judgmental blog for expecting and new parents. Sofie Jacobs of Urban Hatch.
Any fashion tips and tricks for maternity dressing?
COS has great affordable pieces. HATCH is amazing if you have a good budget. In terms of more sustainable fashion, Reformation has a few sexy and cool dresses that fit on a pregnant body (I just go a size or two up). I like layering and wearing cropped pieces over longer tops while slightly accentuating the bump. I feel like I look even bigger in clothes that are too oversized. In the summer, I live in dresses.
Name a mama you find inspiring and why?
My own mom. She is one of the kindest, selfless and loving people I have ever met. My great grandmother was also inspiring as she was a real matriarch right until she died at 80. Also, Vivienne, a mom of four whom I recently interviewed for Nika Kai. She just has her act together, is kind, loving and manages to run a giant household in a very effortless manner. I also have a mom’s Whatsapp group, and I feel like all moms in that group are so inspiring, despite illnesses, sleepless nights, work commitments, dramas of motherhood, they still manage to power along and remain loving and caring parents.
What are your hopes and dreams for your baby?
I want him and Nika to be happy, fearless, caring and loving people, who respect other human beings and work to make our world a better, greener place to live. I would also love for them to be surfers and scientists, or marine biologists… anything, but office workers!
Ed note: If you know a great mama-to-be who’d be perfect for our next The Bump feature, please email us at: [email protected] for more information.
Thanks to the talented Michelle Proctor of Michelle Proctor Photography for all of the beautiful images above! Follow her on Instagram @michellejproctor