For our Mama Muse series, we are thrilled to featured Kate Farr, co-owner of Editors' Ink and founder of Accidental Tai-Taiblog but most of all, mum of 2! Find out more about her family lifestyle guide in Hong Kong and her favorite family spots.
Tell us more about yourself, how long have you been in HK, what is it that you do..?
First (and always foremost!), I’m mum to two lovely, lively little lads – four-year-old Alex and four-month-old Zach. I’m pretty comprehensively outnumbered by men at home… perhaps it’s time to redress the balance with a female pet?! Secondly I co-own boutique writing and editing agency, Editors’ Ink along with my writing partner Rachel Read. We work on a freelance basis with Hong Kong publications and other businesses, writing original editorial articles and providing creative marketing and web copy. Our tagline is “Anything With Words” and that just about sums up what we do! Last but not least, I write about all things family-friendly in Hong Kong and beyond for my blog, Accidental Tai-Tai, a total labor of love that gives me an outlet for all the things I enjoy about living in this amazing city as a parent. It’s fair to say that I don’t have much downtime these days, but I’m lucky to love what I do. I’m constantly trying to figure out the perfect balance between work and family life (I’ll let you know if I find the secret formula!), and I hope to one day find the time to read a book again.
My husband and I originally moved to Hong Kong footloose and family-free from London back in 2009. We enjoyed a couple of years of amazing nightlife before we relocated to Shanghai just before my eldest son was born in 2011, moving back to our beloved Hong Kong about 3 years ago. We absolutely love this city and definitely consider it to be our long-term home.
Do you have any tips for likeminded women who want to be self-employed in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is one of the easiest places imaginable to set up your own business – a quick stroll up to Revenue Tower in Wan Chai, a couple of forms and a cheque later and you’re done. I think the city’s small size, easy access to the wider region and the ability to have affordable domestic help means that women in particular have opportunities to create their own highly successful enterprises here that wouldn’t necessarily have elsewhere. Hong Kong has such an entrepreneurial attitude and in my line of work I’m fortunate to meet so many people who have set up on their own – as a small business owner myself I find it incredibly inspiring!
Describe your style in three words.
Simple, comfortable, in colors that won’t clash with bright red hair!
How did your style change during pregnancy and after?
I lived in Shanghai during my first pregnancy and found it almost impossible to find anything decent to wear, relying heavily on online stores and visiting friends to deliver anything suitable. Stretch jersey was my constant companion. As for post-pregnancy, when I was expecting my eldest son a good friend said something that really stuck with me – even if your weight goes back down to what it was before the baby, your body is never exactly the same again. Not necessarily better or worse, just different. I wholeheartedly agree with that statement as I found that everything just shifted around a little, meaning that styles that previously worked well for me no longer fit in the same way. I was just getting a handle on my wardrobe after three years when I fell pregnant again with my second son! Luckily this time we were back in Hong Kong where there is just so much more choice. Being a Brit, I’m a jeans and t-shirt girl (when the weather allows!) and so lived in my Mayaryajeans throughout the winter, pairing these with stretchy tops as my bump got bigger.
Right now I’m prioritizing hardworking pieces that are nursing-friendly but discreet, as a typical week will include play dates at the park with my eldest son, client meetings where I want to look relatively pulled-together and casual weekend lunches with friends. I have limits on my time, space and shopping budget, so any new additions need to work with my existing wardrobe. I dream about scrapping all my clothes and starting again with the perfect capsule collection… maybe one day!
What is your style advice for expecting Mums?
Your body and lifestyle go through so many changes in pregnancy that you can end up feeling a bit overwhelmed. Sticking to your usual style as much as possible helps you to regain a little control and feel comfortable and unselfconscious, especially as your bump gets bigger.
Do you have any beauty tips for mums-to-be?
If, like me, you’re a hair dye addict then have a chat to your stylist about non-toxic color options as there’s nothing more demoralizing than looking in the mirror to see a head of grey roots staring back at you. There are plenty of choices these days for color and even straightening treatments that are safe in pregnancy, and I’m a firm in the power of good hair helping you to feel more like yourself, even when you’re feeling exhausted. Other than that, sleep, sleep and more sleep. It’s good for the skin and more effective than any facial… and it’ll be the last chance you get for a while!
What is your current must-have item?
I tend to wear a lot of blue as it goes well with my bright red hair and I’m also a workout-phobe so tend to favor dresses with sleeves!
What advice would you give to new Mums?
It gets easier and sleep makes everything seem better so try to rest when you can. Those first few weeks can seem totally overwhelming but it’s ok to ask for help. It’s easy to feel as though everyone is finding motherhood a breeze except for you, but in reality everyone goes through the same doubt, guilt and anxiety when they become a parent for the first time. Try (and this is SO hard!) not to compare your baby with your friends. They really do all hit milestones at different times so try to bear in mind that it’s very unlikely that they won’t be potty trained/sleeping through/feeding themselves by Primary school!
Any general parenting tips in Hong Kong - best places to go with babes? Best family hangouts?
Hong Kong is a great place to live with little ones, although navigating the city with a stroller can be a nightmare. A stroll around the Peak Circular Walk is a great way to see the city (and to get your bub to snooze!), while the waterfront promenade from Quarry Bay down towards Sai Wan Ho offers older siblings somewhere to play, with a huge playground, scooter-friendly walkway and even a fireboat reclaimed as a museum!
For family food, we’re big fans of brunch at Quayside down at Fenwick Pier as their large terrace offers Alex space to roam, while we all love Motorino pizzas. We recently went for afternoon tea at The Continental at Pacific Place and were really impressed with both kids and adult menus, plus there’s loads of space if you’re bringing a pram. If you’re after play areas then Rosie Jean’s Café on Caine Road is great for casual coffees while Café Decoat the Peak is another long-standing favorite.
Don't hesitate to follow Kate ! www.accidentaltaitai.com
Instagram: accidental_tt Twitter: @accidental_tt
See you very soon for a future Mama Muse feature, Love from Team Mayarya!
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