Spending quality time with the girls on the weekend is one of my favourite things to do. We’ll do everything from go for walks around our neighbourhood to go to the beach or step out for a bite to eat and when we do comfort is definitely key as far as my outfit goes. I find throwing on a dress is the easiest way for me to get out the door quickly but opting for a fun bird print like that on the above Karen Walker dress helps give it a little personality. My new Nicholas Kirkwood slides are an easy footwear option as they look quite polished but are easy to slip on and off should we find ourselves doing an impromptu visit to the park or the beach. I am really loving the trend towards pointed flats, I think it’s a really modern look and is a great alternative to traditional flats. Any bag that I take with me when I’m out with the girls must have a strap to keep my hands free but I also like to keep things on trend which is where my favourite new Gucci handbag enters the picture. I love the applique on the bag which helps complement the playful nature of the dress.
If I need to get me and the girls out door fast then preparation is key. Gone are the days when I could just grab my bag and walk out the door! When I need to be somewhere first thing in the morning then I have to get everything ready the night before, if I don’t it’s always a disaster and it never quite works out. I’m generally not the most organised person around so this is definitely something I trained myself to do.
One of the key things I do is make sure I have the baby bag packed up for Grace, Sophia’s essentials ready and have everything I need already in the pram so I just need to walk out the door. This saves me from having to run around trying to locate various things in the morning as I will inevitably not be able to find it. Plus this is often how I’ll find myself out and about and missing something crucial because I’ve forgotten to bring it with me. I also lay out the girls’ outfits the night before so I just have to dress them and I also plan what snacks I’m going to bring. I make sure the lunchbox is ready to go but I’ll often cut up anything perishable like fruits in the morning so it’s still fresh – I have to make sure I factor in time for this though!
If we’re going down to our family farm then this process becomes even more involved. Often I’ll drive down ahead of Luke so I don’t get stuck in traffic and this requires having to pack up the whole car and the girls and it ends up being quite a mission. To get around this I make sure I load everything into the car the night before so Luke is around to help in case I need him. I make sure to pack the pram, pack the girls’ bags and have their outfits ready to go so all I need to do is give them breakfast in the morning. We often bring food as well so I’ll do all my grocery shopping ahead of time so we have the right food for the kids and also Luke and I as well. I think when time is of the essence the more that can be done in advance the better otherwise it all ends up being a rather stressful experience which is definitely the last thing I need when I’ve got the girls in tow!
What are some of your tips for getting out the door fast when you have kids in tow?
As every mum will attest a baby bag is a lifeline when out and about. Now that I’m going through the baby phase a second time with Grace I’ve managed to keep her baby bag to the key necessities and resist the temptation of taking everything in the house with me so I’m not lugging around something that weighs a ton. Here’s what I’ve got it down to…
Nappies are of course a no-brainer inclusion in a baby bag but the number depends on where we’re going and if we’re likely to be out the entire day. I bring a couple with me in case I need to change Grace a few times while we’re out.
A disposable change mat
You can never be too sure of the state a baby change room is going to be in so I always make sure to bring a disposable change mat with me. They’re a great option as I can just flush them down the toilet as soon as I’m done which makes them a little more hygienic.
Carrying around a soiled nappy is not entirely pleasant so I bring nappy bags to keep the odours at bay.
I bring 1-2 spare outfits for both the girls in case disaster strikes and I need to change their clothing entirely. Also if the weather seems a little unpredictable I bring a jumper so I can have it on hand for Grace.
If it seems a little cool outside I always make sure to bring a blanket with me just in case.
Lightweight wraps are so versatile as I can use them for everything from a makeshift summer blanket or to shield Grace’s pram from the sun.
I always make sure to pop sunscreen on the girls whenever we’re out and about so I have a bottle in my bag at all times.
I’m always going on pram walks with the girls or taking them to the park so having bottle of water in the baby bag is always handy.
I’ve known Georgie Abay, the editor of the parenting website The Grace Tales since her days at Vogue and have been a long time fan of her site which is all about motherhood, stylish mothers and all things children and is a great website for mums. Recently Georgie launched an online magazine called Grace which I absolutely loved reading so I felt very honoured when she asked my sister-in-law Hoda and I to appear on the cover of the second issue with our children.
It was a Christmas themed shoot that took place in a studio in Sydney’s Waterloo. I always love seeing the outfits the stylist has pulled for a shoot and this time around we got to wear some fabulous outfits, in really bright colours and a handful of metallics to reflect the fact it was an issue celebrating the festive season. It was a nice way to mark the start of this great time of year.
Sophia was particularly excited about the shoot as she was able to “go to work with mummy”. Photo shoots are long days so by the end of it I think her excitement had waned slightly and going to work with mummy was no longer quite so fun but she loved spending time with her cousins, Rose and William. As with most little girls I think her favourite part of the day was playing dress ups. As soon as she walked in she was trying on shoes and trying on different dresses and she just wanted to be in everything Rose was wearing so a lot of the shots they’re wearing the same thing. It was an honour to be asked to be in the shoot with Hoda and the kids and we had such an unbelievably fun day shooting it. I hope you like the end result!
Sonia and I catch up at Bloom – The Healthy Food Company, Mosman
Sonia Kruger hosts The Voice Australia, whose live final airs tonight, and also hosts the morning TV program Today Extra. Kruger made her acting debut in 1992 as Tina Sparkle in the Baz Luhrmann film Strictly Ballroom and has since also hosted Dancing with the Stars and Big Brother Australia. Kruger is married to Craig McPherson, executive producer of Today Tonight, and the pair welcomed their first daughter, Maggie, in January 2015. After more than 20 years in the media industry, Kruger, 50, talks to me about motherhood, her “real screen kiss” with Dan Aykroyd and her most memorable blunder on live television.
The Voice final airs tonight. Who do you think will win?
It’s too hard to pick! All four artists are extremely talented and have all had incredible moments throughout the show. It’s up to Australia now to vote.
How do you prepare for the finale?
It’s a long day – meetings, rehearsals, hair and make-up, wardrobe and then the show … Sugar helps!
How will you celebrate tonight?
With a glass of champagne at the wrap party and a pair ugg boots at home!
If you were trying out for The Voice, which coach would you choose?
If I could sing [laughs] – which I can’t! I – would probably go with Ronan [Keating] or Delta [Goodrem]. Ronan has really surprised me this series. He is very forthright, especially when Jessie J has said something inadvertently that some people might think is a bit offensive. Ronan serves it back. He is a very easy person to talk to and he is really funny. Otherwise, I would pick Delta because she is our princess; she is one of the nicest people I have ever met. I love Delta so much.
Is the bickering between Ronan and Jessie J real or just for TV?
[No] it happens more than you see on television … Jessie is a bull at a gate and that bluntness irritates the other coaches.
What is a day in your life?
My day starts at 6am when I get ready to go to work at the Channel 9 studio. I will see if Maggie is awake and sometimes I wake her up so I can squeeze in a cuddle. Then I’m in hair and make-up and we start the live show at 9am. I finish at 1130am and I can go home and spend the afternoon with Maggie.
What do you love about working on Today Extra?
David [Campbell, the co-host] makes me laugh so much! It doesn’t feel like work, it is more of a chance to hang out with friends. The show is full of all the stuff I love: fashion, food, finance. There is so much variety each day and it offers something for everyone.
What has been the most memorable moment?
We had [actor] Dan Aykroyd on the show and we were talking about a screen test he had to do. All of a sudden he has grabbed me and went in for the big pash. It was hilarious having a spontaneous real screen kiss; it made for a great promo!
What is it like working on live television?
In the mornings, it is very relaxed. The plan is quite loose because you are doing a 2½-hour show. David and I love to say that we put the “semi” into professional! People seem to like that it is a little bit random. Someone said to me the thing they love about live television is the mistakes – it’s the mistakes we all remember. The Voice is a little different because it’s a real slick production and it’s prime-time. You know that a lot more people are watching so there is a bit more pressure to get it right, but then the fun factor goes up as well.
You talk about “mistakes”. What’s been your biggest mistake on air?
Oh I’ve made so many! On my first series of Big Brother I had to commentate on what was happening in the house. The executive producer was in my ear saying “Michael is making peace, he is the peacemaker” so I was like “OK Michael is making peace, there has been a fight in the house”. I’ve got the whole story going up and he was like, “No pizza, he’s making pizza!” and I burst out laughing … I’m sure the audience was like, “What is she talking and laughing about?”.
When you were younger, did you envisage your life as it is today?
I was always drawn to show business. When I was nine I started ballroom dancing. I was just in love with it and the sparkly costumes. I’m kind of very lucky that things have turned out the way they have, I have so many amazing opportunities, I’ve hosted some great shows and I feel very privileged to have done so much. Honestly, sometimes I feel like I’m an imposter! When they asked me to come and do The Voice, I was like “why?” [laughs]. But it’s great, I’m glad they asked.
What does Tina Sparkle mean to you?
When we made the movie, none of us thought it would be a commercial success. We thought it might be a bit of a cult film but not a commercial success because it’s a movie about ballroom dancing, who is going to watch this? However, Baz Luhrmann did such a great job and gave the movie such a unique feel. When people make reference to Tina Sparkle, they always apologise, and I’m like “Don’t apologise, I love it”. Elton John once told me that it is the nickname he gave to his hairdresser!
Who is the most inspiring person you have ever worked with?
I had to pinch myself when I worked with Daryl Somers. I grew up watching Hey Hey It’s Saturday and all of sudden I’m walking onto set and I’m co-hosting a show [Dancing with the Stars] with him. I was like, “how did I get here?”. He is a real statement in the entertainment industry. He doesn’t work with auto cue. We had nothing when we worked on Dancing with the Stars, which to me is flying by the seat of your pants.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
After more than 20 years in television, there are good and bad press days. A publicist once said to me, “Doll, as long as they get a nice picture and spell your name right then it is all fine”. No publicity is bad publicity [laughs].
How is your daughter Maggie?
She is great, she is running around and becoming a real chatterbox; I wonder where she gets that from! [Laughs.] But she is very much a daddy’s girl.
Are you enjoying motherhood?
Yes I’m loving it; life couldn’t be better right now, it’s perfect.
How has motherhood changed you?
I left the house the other day in tracksuit pants and ugg boots and I would never normally do that. Now when I go shopping, I go to the children’s section and that’s where I spend my money.
The Voice Australia’s live final screens Sunday, July 10, 7pm-9pm on Channel Nine; Today Extra airs weekdays from 9am.
Australian model Elyse Taylor was discovered at 18 and went on to walk for Victoria’s Secret, Dolce & Gabbana and Tommy Hilfiger and has been on the cover of Australian Vogue. The 29-year old, born in Sydney and based in the United States, is now the face of Nude by Nature make-up and involved with Milea swimwear. Taylor chats to me about life, juggling motherhood and modelling, and her quirky cleaning habits.
What’s a day in the life of you when you’re at home in the US?
If I have a day off, I have breakfast with Lila and then I walk her to school, with my neighbour. Our kids are the same age and go to same school. While she is at school, we go to the gym, work out and pick her up and have lunch, and then have enough time with her and just hang out. But then if I’m working, I’m up at five [o’clock] and gone. So it’s constantly changing but it’s good.
How do you juggle it all?
I’ve learnt to be a little bit more aggressive. I’ve had to say no to certain jobs, just because they’ve been back to back. I don’t really want to spend more than four or five days away from my daughter because she is just growing and doing so many things and you don’t want to miss anything. I start getting a little strange after five days. I get really anxious and hostile. So I just try and make sure that I have enough time off and enough time on.
What do you enjoy most about motherhood?
Just the milestones and watching her and seeing her personality come through because she is two now.
Do you have plans to grow your family?
I would definitely love to have more children. It’s just trying to find the right time. If it happens, it happens. It would be wonderful. But we’re just taking it one step at a time.
What’s next for you?
I have this amazing relationship with Nude By Nature, and Milea is about to launch … And then, I think I was planning on coming back for Australian Fashion Week in May.
I think it was just like a natural alignment. Nude By Nature had a worldwide search for a face that was an Australian kind of beauty. When I got the call saying “it’s you”, I was so humbled and honoured.
What’s your top beauty secret you’ve learnt while modelling?
If you’re doing smoky eye, you put your foundation on afterwards … and with highlighting, just highlight the bridge of your nose and cheekbones.
Out of everything in your life, what are you most proud of?
In life, I feel like I’m most proud of Lila, but my career probably has been over 10 years now. As a model, you never think it’s going to last that long.
When you did the Victoria’s Secret show, what was the most surprising part about that?
The grandeur of the show. You don’t realise how big it is, and how big the machine is behind it. I was also surprised at how it is like a little family – doing the catalogue, doing the commercials and then doing the show. I still keep in contact with the girls.
What’s the worst part about your job?
That it’s not forever. That’s always in the back of your mind, especially as I get older!
What’s your plan after modelling?
There is no set plan. I would like to keep building my brands and keep moving forward and seeing where that takes us. There’s definitely a lot of opportunities, especially in the States. So it’s just trying to find the right outlet for that.
If you didn’t become a model, what would you have done?
I like to be creative. So I think I would like to stay within the industry, but maybe in art direction or maybe on the other side of the lens. I would still like to create content for brands and stuff like that, so that’s very natural for me. I enjoy that.
Do you think Lila will follow in your footsteps?
I don’t know. If she wants to, and if she is passionate about it, I’ll support her in her work. I’d love her to have a real job, one that lasts forever. But if she is passionate about this, then, of course I’ll support her and direct her in the right direction.
Who do you look up to and admire?
I look up to other women that have children with really intense careers. Especially how they find the balance to make it all work and have success after having children as well. You don’t realise how intense and what a whirlwind it is having children and then how much you are actually taking on.
Do you have any quirky habits that no one knows about?
I really am OCD about cleanliness … I clean all the time. I can’t stop. With my nanny’s cleaning, I’ll clean over the top of her cleaning and she is like, ‘is something wrong?’ I’m like, ‘Just go find, Lila. I have to finish this’.
Do you have any fears?
I don’t really like heights … I climbed the Harbour Bridge and I was dying inside.
Where is your favourite travel destination?
My favourite personal travel destination is St Barths, especially with my daughter. It’s a quiet place, to just be with the family, be on the beach. We know the island really well so there is no surprises, which is always great, especially when you have a kid.
How do you stay in shape?
I work out and I try a lot of different diets, and a blood-type diet works best for me.
What is a blood-type diet?
Each blood type is different. I’m an O blood type, so I can have lots of meats and certain kinds of fruits. I can eat as much of that as possible and not gain weight, which is great … because before I was juicing and eating all these types of salads but I was holding all this body weight. Then, once I started that, all the weight came off, all the extra baby weight.
If you have this strict diet regime, what is your biggest indulgence?
Pizza. If I’m in Australia, I like seafood pizzas. And then, if I’m in the States, macaroni – because I try and think of like the worst possible thing I could eat after a week’s rigid diet.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I guess I see myself just keep working and keep planning for the future and keep building on what we’ve already been building; constantly working with different brands and just trying to diversify myself as much as possible. There’s definitely things in the States with [talent agencies] WME and IMG combining, so there is a lot more film and television options that weren’t available before, which is exciting.
WE ATE vine ripened tomato salad; salad of beetroot, balsamic glazed heirloom carrot, goats curd and hazelnuts; buffalo mozzarella, figs, witlof, basil and vino cotto; pan fried barramundi fillet with mashed peas, crème fraiche and confit spring onion, sunflower seed and caper beurre noisette.
I remember being heavily pregnant last Mother’s Day and I can’t believe how much time has flown and I’m about to celebrate my first one with my family. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year and Sophia is approaching one. It’s a very special moment and I’m looking forward to spending a relaxed day with Luke and Sophia.
I think being a mum is the best job in the world. Sophia comes first in every aspect of my life. I always knew that it would be an unconditional love like no other but I don’t think you can ever fully understand it until you become a mother – the love I have for Sophia is like no other and she brings so much joy to my life and my husband’s life.
I just love the little things – I could spend hours upon hours just watching her and spending time with her. Plus it’s the small private moments like watching her first crawl or watching her try to take her first step, or when she falls asleep in my arms… it’s those moments that just mean so much to me.
All I hope is that I’m guiding Sophia in the right direction and being the best mum I can be. It doesn’t matter what she wants to do in her life or who she wants to be, ultimately I just want her to be happy and to smile and be the best she can be.
In honour of Mother’s Day, Sportscraft asked Sophia and I to take part in a special Mother’s Day feature and asked me to reflect on life as a mum. Check out the pics and some of my thoughts below. You can read the full Q&A on the Sportscraft blog.
My style as a mum…
My style is relaxed yet polished. My style has definitely changed since becoming a mother. I now opt for more comfortable clothing for everyday wear and I spend a lot more time in flats as I’m always racing around. Also there is never much time for getting ready so I don’t get to experiment with beauty & hair trends as much these days so simple makeup and uncomplicated hair is my go-to.
The mum/work juggling act…
It’s always a bit of a juggle but I feel lucky that my job isn’t 9-5 so I can fit work around Sophia’s schedule. Also I feel blessed that my husband is a huge support, I don’t know what I would do without him.
The best bit of advice my mum gave to me that I will pass on to Sophia…
To show strength as a woman, have an opinion and stand up for what you believe in.