Sometimes motherhood can feel like the surrender of all things glamorous…
Our outfits may have to factor in nursing and grubby hands, our handbags are a concession to the baby stuff we cart around, and accessorising seems a distant memory. Travel adds a new dimension to the circus – organising bags, snacks and activities for restless little ones leaves little time to think about what you might need. We’ve all seen the pictures of glamorous mothers such as Angelina Jolie and the Duchess of Cambridge looking chic and well, put together after a long haul flight, and while we can’t provide you a retinue of staff to replicate this, we can offer nine simple tricks to make you feel like your stylish old self.
Invest in a bag that you love, that has space and lots of pockets is vital! Yes, you’ll probably still have a carry-on case or a rucksack to cart around, but let your handbag be something for you.
Louella Odie make absolutely gorgeous pieces to suit different needs. The skyline tote bag is sizeable enough that you can pop your parenting paraphernalia inside and no one would know (until one of your charges gives the game away by screaming “mummy can I have…”). They also have a more compact option with the same exquisite detailing of the Hong Kong skyline.
For those looking for a smart “Weekender” style bag, they have just launched a larger canvas bag which is big enough to fit everything you might need for a few days away. It has a wipe-clean coating and comes in two gorgeous varieties – the elegant black and white Lattice print, or the vibrant red and blue Jungle Lily print. Both have a leather patch that can be monogrammed for personalisation.
International families usually require lots of identification and checks at airports seem ever increasing. Save yourself from scrambling around each time you need to present your paperwork by getting a lush passport holder that can contain all your family’s documents.
It’s a small thing, but having something smart that also streamlines one element in the chaos of travelling with children, is a great mental boost. We love the one from Up and Away as it looks like the kind of clutch you might have taken out with you in the days when all you needed for a night out was phone, keys and cash.
Founder Amy, who is a busy working mother, was looking for ways to make family travel smoother. She explains: “Now that I’m cruising with a baby on each hip, I’m always on the lookout for cool, useful stuff that makes travel less work and more fun. There are a few key products that I could never find anywhere, despite searching high and low. So, I decided to make them myself.”
An amazing travel hack that also looks good at home are these jewellery cases from Chel by Cheline, which are such a great idea. A fantastic and ordered way to organise your earrings and necklaces to prevent them getting lost, tangled or eaten by the curious little people. Available in an array of neutral colours, as well as some special edition prints, they’ll sit subtly on your dresser or hotel room table. There are two sizes too to suit your jewellery addiction.
There’s an added bonus for shopaholics, says graphic designer and founder Cheline Yau: “One of my favourite things to collect during my travels is jewellery – especially locally-produced, handmade pieces. The Chel Jewellery Traveler as it’s a great way to show-off both my treasures and travels.”
Most parents find they have so little time to think about themselves when preparing for a trip that the result is a tendency to chuck everything in the wardrobe in the suitcase. Instead it’s worth trying just to take a capsule wardrobe of key pieces, in natural, light, materials, that can be dressed up or down to suit what you are doing.
Online retail store Grana has just launched a line of silk dresses that are suitable for almost every occasion. They can be dressed up with heels and pretty accessories if you manage to make use of the hotel babysitting service to sneak a romantic night with your partner, thrown on over swimwear as an easy beachside outfit, or paired with jeans for something more casual.
We’re in love with their silk ankle pants, which are an easy option for ‘flightwear’ or if you are heading to more culturally reserved places. Grana’s mantra of quality fabrics at affordable prices means you can still look smart but a spilled fruit juice or errant crayon on your silk or cotton tees feels like less of of drama.
The brainchild of renowned extreme sports filmmaker and professional skier Thierry Donard, the brand made its name in skiwear before moving into swimwear. Perfect Moment focuses on design and technology as they do on styling and colours so there is something for every kind of mama. Their rash vests and board shorts are excellent for those that like to get active with their bigger kids, as well as water sports lovers. Opt for the cropped rash guard or their cool bikinis to add some glamour.
A great scarf is ideal as it can have so many uses, from an impromptu cover if you are breast-feeding and a foil to hide a bad hair day to the finishing touch on a date night outfit and an easy beach cover up.
Again, pick something for you, perhaps even something you’d have worn in your solo days. Sure Hermes, Louis Vuitton all have an elegant array but it doesn’t have to be high end, H&M and Zara also have plenty to choose from.
But if you’re looking for a signature piece then Louella Odie’s Skyline or Bauhinia options are perfect. Plus you’ll be supporting a local, small business rather than lining corporation pockets. Phye Scarves also have a lovely range in silk, cashmere and cotton.
There are few things more irritating then spending time at the beach, only to bring half of it back with you. With the littles, sand seems to find its way everywhere!
Step forward Sandusa who has invented a new kind of beach towel… cotton on one side and nylon on the other! This genius idea having nylon on the bottom is so smooth that the sand cannot cling to it and is also waterproof so moisture can’t seep through.
The towels have proven so popular in his native Australia, he now ships worldwide and has designed other items including a matching beach bag.
He tells Sassy Mama: “As well as being a practical beach towel that dries really well, you can use the Sandusa for a picnic, to wrap up wet clothes or swimwear, or wrap it around yourself so your car seats don’t end up wet on the drive home.”
Versatile, flattering and forgiving, every woman needs a kaftan or two in her suitcase (and general HK wardrobe). Former investment banker Wendy has turned her love of travel and fashion into a business with KAFTAN, a great little store that sources lovely cotton pieces from Bali, India and Thailand.
From crisp whites to delicate pastels there is something for everyone. Plus they are light, easy to wear, easy to clean and comfortable when you are on the go. She explains: “They can be worn as a cover up over a bikini after a long day in the sun or worn shorts or jeans and a belt for a boho daytime look.”
If you have young children then nice jewellery, particularly in the daytime, probably seems a distant memory. But it is possible to find some decent styles of teething necklaces. The trick is to opt for soft pastels or neutral colours, particularly blacks, greys, and whites in chunky cubes, spheres or blocks.
Charming at Special Delivery for Kidz, has a great range of subtle necklaces and bracelets that could be statement jewellery pieces, but will also stand up to little biters.