Viv Jones is the former editor extraordinaire of Playtimes Magazine in Hong Kong who recently moved back to the UK and started Kidlet, her own super-stylish homewares brand for kids available exclusively from Hocusadabra!
Where you do buy your clothes? How do you stay stylish as a mum?
I think I’ve got to an age where I know what works for me and what I like. So I have a lot of skinny jeans and stripy t-shirts in my wardrobe! Now I am based in the UK it’s a lot easier to find what I like. I shop for stuff on eBay a fair bit and get bits and pieces from the high street here – Top Shop, French Connection and my current favourite, Cos.
How do you save time?
One of the big shocks to my system since moving to the UK has been doing all my own housework. So I save time by only doing it only when absolutely necessary! Work-wise, I turn on the computer when my girls (Isabel, 10, and Sasha, 6) go to school, answer emails, do research, update my blog, etc. I try to write (my other day job) during the day but most often find myself sitting up at night when everyone else is in bed to meet deadlines.
What are your organizational tricks and tips?
I’m not sure I am a terribly organised person. I do rely on my Moleskine diary to keep me on track. Everything that needs to be done gets written down in there so I don’t forget.
What do your kids snack on?
I try and give them good food to snack on – fruit, seaweed, granola bars, carrot sticks and yoghurts. But still they implore me for “something NOT healthy, please!” So we have ‘Crisp Fridays’ when they get to take something junky to snack on at school. I also like to bake, so often whip up a batch of scones for them to eat when they come home at the end of the day.
What is your beauty must-have product?
Dr Hauschka’s Moisturising Day Cream without a doubt, Aesop’s Purifying Facial Cream Cleanser and Bobbi Brown’s Tinted Moisturiser are must-haves too…. The list seems to get longer with every passing year. My latest favourite is my Bobbi Brown Old Hollywood lipstick. A great red that makes me feel ‘dressed up’ no matter what.
How do you stay sane?
Walking the dog through the fields around our house. Listening to music loudly in the kitchen – and dancing with my kids. My youngest daughter is always telling me the music’s too loud – but, as my husband says, if it’s too loud, you’re too old. And I like to sew and knit when I get the chance. Tackling our garden will be my next big project.
Favourite activity with the kids in Hong Kong?
I lived in Hong Kong for nearly 30 years and left last summer for a life in the Welsh countryside. The beach was always our favourite outing – we’d take our dog, Riley for a long walk and end up at the beach for a swim in the sea, pollution permitting.
Favourite kid-friendly restaurant in Hong Kong?
Pizza Express. The food’s good, the service is always friendly and they provide something for the kids to do while mum gets to enjoy a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
Ha! You get so much– particularly in the early days. I think it’s probably that your kids won’t remember the things you bought them but they will remember the experiences that you shared together. If in doubt, go out and do something fun!
How did you start Kidlet and what is the inspiration behind it?
It’s an idea that had been bubbling away in my head for a while. Once we decided to move to the UK I knew it was my chance to do something from home that would satisfy my creative side and bring in an income. When I had my children, I found it frustrating not to be able to find things I liked to decorate their rooms. Everything had some awful franchise character on it or came in a sickly shade of pink or blue! I started sewing bits and pieces and over time it made sense to try and make a business out of it. Last year, I entered a business competition in a British magazine and of the thousands of entries, was one of the winners, which gave me the confidence to push it further. Now Kidlet’s range, which is made from pure linen and vintage and designer fabrics, is distributed in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK with other markets coming up. I’m working on some new ideas and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how things are going.
Kidlet is available in Hong Kong exclusively via Hocusadabra. Prices start at HK295.