The Tale Of Courtney, Quin, Easton, Ivy & Marlow Adamo



Women around the world love following the footsteps of Courtney Adamo. Scroll through her Instagram feed (@courtneyadamo) and you’ll see why...

One of the three founders of online shopping portal Babyccino Kids, the mother of four is incredibly stylish, but in an effortless, earthy way. She doesn’t spend a fortune on clothes for herself or her children. For Adamo, less is more. She buys little, but she buys well (add Mabo Kids and Babaa to your shopping list). Of late, it could also be that Adamo is in the middle of a gap year, something many families dream of doing. Her husband Michael and their beautiful brood of four – Easton, 10, Quin, 8, Ivy, 6 and Marlow, 3 – recently left London, their home of over 12 years, and are travelling around the world and home schooling the children along the way, and her thousands of followers are joining them for the ride.

The eldest of five children, Adamo grew up on a tulip farm near Seattle. She spent summers by the beach and winters up in the mountains. “We were always outside, scheming up our next adventure, and those creative and seemingly endless days are what I remember most fondly,” she says. A family gap year is something she’s always wanted to do. “I have always loved the idea of travelling with our children and introducing them to different people, places and cultures. I’ve also always been attracted to a simple, bohemian lifestyle – barefoot children and carefree adventures. After twelve years in London, with our eldest turning ten, we felt like it was the right time to take a year off and to explore different parts of the world, hoping it would inspire a different way of life moving forward.” Currently in Australia, we loved catching up with the Adamo family in the beachside town of Byron Bay…

Photography: Raegan Glazner


I grew up on a tulip farm about an hour north of Seattle and an hour south of Vancouver, Canada…

We were also sandwiched between the ocean and the Cascade Mountains. We spent summers at the beach and winters in the mountains. It was a very adventurous, outdoorsy childhood and it suited my tomboy style. I’m the eldest of five children and loved spending time with my siblings more than anything. We were always outside, scheming up our next adventure, and those creative and seemingly endless days are what I remember most fondly.


I realised recently that I mention my mother a lot in the parenting-related posts I write on Babyccino…

She taught me so much about parenting – from preventing sibling rivalry to encouraging good table manners. She was very loving and nurturing, yet had a very relaxed parenting style, and this has definitely influenced my own parenting style.


Motherhood has made me very aware of time, how precious it is and how lucky I am to live it with the people I love…

The first 10-years of motherhood have flown by, even though I’ve done my best to slow them down and try to take it all in. It has taught me gratitude on a whole new level. It has taught me patience, and it has taught me to see things from other’s perspectives. Of course motherhood is challenging at times. It can be stressful and frustrating and thankless at times, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. There is not one day where I wish I was doing something else. I overcome any challenges by reminding myself of all of the wonderful things about it. I count to ten, breathe and reset.


Luckily, my kids are old enough now that sleep deprivation is rarely an issue, which is good, because I don’t really deal well with it well…

I’ve always been someone who needs at least eight hours of sleep to have the patience and energy required in motherhood. When I had newborn babies, I always made sure to go to bed early, knowing that I’d be up several times throughout the night. That, and coffee of course these days.


The secret to a strong marriage after children is communication…

I’ve always been someone who needs to talk. I can’t keep things bottled up inside me. If something bothers me or if my feelings are hurt, I have to talk about it. Equally, if I can sense that Michael has something on his mind, I make sure he talks about it. In the past 13 years that we’ve been together, I’ve only gone to bed angry with Michael one time. And I didn’t sleep that entire night! It’s so important to talk things through before they escalate or become too uncomfortable to bring up. My mother has always said I wear my emotions on my sleeve. This may be annoying at times, but at least I never leave anyone wondering how I feel about something. If I’m upset with someone, I’ll let them know. And then I am able to move on. I don’t hold grudges or hard feelings.


Babyccino started as a blog between friends back in 2007…

My partners and I were all new mums and we started the blog as a way to share our new finds and parenting ideas. After three years of blogging, we launched our shopping portal, a curated selection of the world’s best and most stylish shops and brands. We represent over 350 shops now and are a resource for mums seeking beautiful, independent brands for their children. A few years ago we created the ShopUp, live shopping events in London, NYC and Los Angeles. We bring together the best of Babyccino for a really fun, two day, pop-up shopping fair. If I have my way, we’ll be bringing it to Australia next year.


Instagram has made the world a smaller, more interesting and accessible place…

I love connecting with other mums, sharing our thoughts, our parenting styles and local insights. It has connected my family to a world of other like-minded families and individuals, and we’ve made many wonderful, life-long friendships because of it. The worst bits, of course, are the trolls who occasionally pop up and leave deliberately hurtful comments, or the people who leave unsolicited advice. Thankfully I’ve developed a pretty thick skin (and have a husband who puts everything into perspective whenever I start to feel down about something).


I think people are intrigued by our big family and our somewhat adventurous lifestyle…

Michael and I made a pledge to each other when we started having kids that we would not abandon our love of travel or our desire to experience new things. We’ve stuck to it and if anything, adding children has only made these experiences better. I think people see this and realise they can do it too.


“ Motherhood has made me very aware of time, how precious it is and how lucky I am to live it with the people I love ”

I am incredibly proud of the success of Babyccino Kids…

It started as a little ‘passion’ business between friends, based on the things we loved to do. We grew it organically, taking each turn as it came, and having fun along the way. I’m so proud of the fact that we remain close friends as well as business partners to this day and that we now have a team of eight people helping Babyccino to evolve and grow in exciting new ways.


When it comes to childrenswear, I tend to go for the simple, classic or understated pieces…

I definitely gravitate to a more traditional or timeless style of dress and prefer quality over quantity. I’d rather invest in really well made clothes that I can pass down (and even keep for my grandchildren!), than fill my kids’ wardrobes with clothes on trend. I especially love supporting independent labels, most of which are run by other mothers who pour loads of love into their work– brands like Mabo Kids and Babaa.

 


Juggling work and motherhood is not easy and I do find it stressful at times…

I think every working mother does. I can remember having just one baby, being a stay-at-home mother and still finding it incredibly stressful. I wondered how on earth anyone has more than one child – how did my mum have five?! Obviously, we continued to have children and I have continued to grow a business at the same time, adding more and more balls to our juggling act. Like anything else, practise makes perfect. You just take it one kid at a time. It’s also about having perspective and being able to prioritise one’s time. I’ve gotten quite good at multi-tasking, like all mothers do, but I am still at my best and most productive when I do one thing at a time. When it’s work time, I work incredibly quickly and efficiently and try to stay focused. When it’s mother time, I give them my undivided attention – no mobile phones, no distractions. When I attempt to mix both roles simultaneously, I usually become a cranky, impatient person.


My beauty bag and routine is very minimal…

I’ve never thought or cared too much about beauty products, and this year of travel has only reinforced this attitude. I do love the skincare from Aesop and use their Facial Cleanser and Moisturizer. I also love the Aveda Brilliant Universal Styling Creme. I rub a dollop into my hair when it’s wet and then let it dry naturally. It keeps it from becoming a giant, frizzy mess.


A family gap year is something I’ve wanted to do since I was young…

I have always loved the idea of travelling with our children and introducing them to different people, places and cultures. I’ve also always been attracted to a simple, bohemian lifestyle – barefoot children and carefree adventures. After twelve years in London, with our eldest turning ten, we felt like it was the right time to take a year off and to explore different parts of the world, hoping it would inspire a different way of life moving forward.


Our happiest memories of this trip have most certainly been from moments spent with new friends in each of the countries we’ve visited…

While we will forever remember this year together and the special family time we’ve had, we will certainly remember spending a day on Martin’s ranch in Uruguay, riding horses and eating a big meal at his big wooden farmhouse table. We’ll remember surfing and exploring with Ismael in Chile. We’ll remember our days with Rebecca and Ollie and their two girls in New Zealand, and we’ll remember all the fun we’ve had with many new friends here in Australia.


Michael and I have always had a fairly relaxed view on education…

Rather than focus on test results and academic standards, we’ve put the focus on our children and their overall happiness, confidence and enthusiasm for learning. Home schooling did not come without its challenges, of course, but after seven months of home schooling, we’re finally getting the hang of it now. We’ve really enjoyed watching our children learn and progress in their schooling – it is the most rewarding job! In terms of topics, we’ve devoted most of our time to teaching maths, writing and reading. The other topics have been learned naturally throughout our travels. (I recently wrote a detailed blog post about our home schooling journey on our blog here.)


We have loved everywhere we’ve been in Australia, but we’ve especially fallen for Byron…

The community here is so creative and inspiring. The people are genuinely happy souls, which creates a very positive energy. We’ve met loads of interesting people and have made many new friends in the few short weeks we’ve been here. And of course – the sun and surf!


Quick questions:

Coffee or tea? Coffee
Typical breakfast: Porridge in the winter. Yoghurt and muesli in the summer.
On your bedside table you’ll find: A stack of books I hope to read, plus an even bigger pile of children’s books for bedtime reading with the kids.
Exercise of choice: Yoga (and chasing children).
Book you’re currently reading:Shantaram’ by David Gregory
Heels or flats? Flats, definitely.
Pram: We used our trusty Bugaboo Frog (from 2005!) for all four babies. It was a sad day dropping it off at the charity shop before we left on our adventure. But truthfully, I preferred carrying my babies in a carrier instead of pushing them in a buggy.
Baby bag: I’ve never been organised enough to have a baby bag – I always just throw random things into a tote bag. But I do like the Kaos Ransel nappy bag backpacks.
Sunglasses: Ray-Bans
Tidy or messy: Tidy! I can’t help it. I inherited my compulsive tendencies from my father!
Dream travel destination: We’ve covered off so many dream destinations this year with all of our travels. So far, my favourite travel destinations for a beautiful, beach holiday are Positano, Italy and Trancoso, Brazil.


COMMENTS

  • By Design

    I’ve read about this family before and hats off to them for following their dreams. They are truly living life to the max (and prettily too!) I’d love to read Michael’s story, simply because he had the more traditional career of office based work, which I think applies to more people but maybe blogging and interviews aren’t his thing. Interesting family and beautiful pictures all the same.

  • Lisa Gardner

    Courtney is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside . What a lovely family !!

  • Kate

    I love travelling and immersing myself in different cultures. I’m also the eldest of 5 children and can’t wait to have my own soccer team of children to take on my travels. One day soon, hopefully 😉 thank you for a very inspiring read. I love following your family’s journey xx

  • Tanya Martsenyuk

    Loved getting more insight into Courtney and Michael’s lives on the road! I too wear my heart on my sleeve and can’t keep my feelings inside if something is bothering me, but I think that is why like you, Courtney, I can let things go and not hold grudges after it’s all said and done–it forces me to deal with the issue,resolve it, and then move on. I loved reading that one little nugget about you! 🙂 Safe travels!

  • lily

    I enjoy following courtney and her beautiful children and very much appreciate her insights on parenting but I would disagree with the element of simplicity and claim that they don’t spend much on clothing or subscribe to the “less is more” ethos. Despite the travel they’ve managed to maintain a growing wardrobe (whether purchased or gifted) that has her girls in the latest releases from her brands of choice as well as herself with some very expensive items. I would consider this an extravagance that she is well entitled to but again, I wouldn’t call it minimal. She is appreciated for her style and her large following means she can promote the small businesses she chooses to support as well as be provided accommodation in some places in return for a “shout out” but this is quite costly (and unattainable) for most.