This week’s That Mama is financier, founder of one of Sassy Mama’s fave kids boutiques, Hip Little Bubba, (oh, and mum of two!), Nicole Ramsden. This mum-trepreneur somehow finds enough hours in her packed schedule for work, family, exercise and socialising, so we asked her to share with us how she keeps on track as a busy working mum.
How do you save time? What are your organisational tricks and tips?
I work to a strict schedule during the week so that I can spend quality time with my children, work on Hip Little Bubba, but also squeeze in time for exercise and catch up with friends. My iPhone helps keeps me organised and we plan the week on a chalkboard in the kitchen so everyone knows what’s happening and when.
I wish I had more time for…
I always feel saner after…
A cup of strong organic coffee first thing in the morning!
Favourite activity with the kids in Hong Kong?
We live within a short walk of one of the Southside’s best beaches. Chung Hom Kok beach is always quiet early on a weekend morning, so we can burn off some steam running, building sandcastles and swimming before heading home for a late breakfast.
Favourite kid-friendly restaurant in Hong Kong?
We are fortunate to live close to the American Club in Tai Tam and my son loves dinner at the Bay Café on a Friday night. The club is overrun with kids on a Friday evening and the staff are well prepared to handle them.
Favourite family-friendly holiday spot in Asia?
We had a great holiday in Boracay last Chinese New Year. The journey from Hong Kong seemed like eternity – planes, boats and automobiles – but once we made it the beach was simply stunning. The hotel and local restaurants were all on the beach so we never had to walk very far and shoes were optional.
Activity that I do not love to do but do it anyway because my kids love it…
My son Finn loves his bedtime books and I enjoying reading to him, but if he had his way we would read his entire library every night! So we try and pick three favourites (which often turns into four, five or six!)
Do you have any tips for keeping the romance alive in your relationship?
With busy lives it doesn’t leave much time for just the two of us but we always try and go out for dinner as a couple at least once a week. It’s important to make the time to reconnect after a hectic week.
Favourite date-night restaurants?
We love Stan French Café in Stanley. The food is great and the prices very reasonable but they also bake the best baguettes in Hong Kong!
Can you talk us through your career pre and post babies? How did you get back into the swing of things after having children?
I moved to Hong Kong five years ago with my job in finance, having been in London for eight years. Post babies, I still work in finance and now run Hip Little Bubba as well, so it’s very busy. It doesn’t leave much time for television or sleep! I have to be super-organised and having help at home is an advantage living in Hong Kong.
What inspired you to set up Hip Little Bubba?
I started Hip Little Bubba in 2010, shortly after the birth of my first child, Finn. Struggling to find unique, quality items for my baby that could be delivered to my home the next day, I set about launching an online baby store that allowed parents to spend more time with their children and less time trawling through the shops.
How has having kids changed the way you define work?
My priorities have certainly changed, and I now look for more of a balance in my life. Setting up your own business can consume your days and you can’t always stop at the weekend. I’ve realised that you can’t do everything so it’s a matter of prioritising what’s important to you.
Do you have any tips for aspiring “mumtrepreneurs” and other working mamas in Hong Kong?
If you have an idea or you see a gap in the market, go for it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of everyone and anyone and don’t underestimate the amount of work it’s going to take.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
I believe that having your kids on a daily routine gives them a sense of security, as they know what to expect. It also gives them something to look forward to.
Give us your essential new mama advice that might never occur to other women.
As Finn grows up he’s found his voice and he certainly likes to use it! I’ve come to realise the importance of taking time to listen to him and that this helps in creating open communication.
As a mama I wish I were better at…
Being patient. Not overreacting during those moments when my buttons are being pushed and patience stretched.
My most humbling mama moment was…
Finn has been learning Mandarin at kindergarten and I was amazed when his class sang Christmas carols in Mandarin at the school concert. The week beforehand he had been singing the carols to himself at home and I had no idea it was Mandarin, a language I know nothing about!
What’s your favourite family ritual?
I’m very fortunate to have a husband who is a great cook and Sunday night dinners are spent together as a family with my husband cooking up anything from a BBQ to a roast.
I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about….
The only reason I wake in the middle of the night is if my 3 month old is hungry!
Bedtime is always smoother when…
The children are in a routine.
Even when my child has a family of his/her own, I’ll still…
Consider them my babies.
One thing I won’t sacrifice as a mama is…
Some time during the week for me, be it a Pilates class or a coffee with a friend without the kids.
My favourite moments of the day are…
When I pick Finn up from school – he is so excited to see me he runs towards me calling ‘Mummy!’ – and when I wake my 3-month-old daughter Isla from her lunchtime nap and all she wants are cuddles.