The Tale of Natalie Bassingthwaighte & Hendrix and Harper McGlinchey



Natalie Bassingthwaighte is something of a wonder woman. The Australian singer, actor, performer and mother is currently a judge and mentor on The X Factor Australia. She’s also just replaced Natalia Kills on the second season of The X Factor New Zealand...

But last month, Bassingthwaighte entered new territory with the launch of a children’’s clothing and accessories line, Chi Khi (pronounced cheeky). Non-stop at work and happily hands-on at home, she also happens to be just like every other working mother trying to juggle everything.

The talented singer grew up in the seaside city of Wollongong in the Illawarra region of New South Wales and now lives in Melbourne with her husband Cameron McGlinchey and their two children, Harper, 4, and Hendrix, 2. ““My husband and I work from home most of the time, which is great because we get to have the kids around us,”” says Bassingthwaighte who told Instyle magazine back in 2009 that starting a family was one of her biggest goals. Bassingthwaighte is quick to point out the most challenging part of working from home when you’’re raising young children: “”The hard thing about working from home is having the kids around! It takes twice as long to do anything,”” she says, laughing. “Harper is now in daycare twice a week and we have a nanny twice a week. Like any working parent, I guess you just make it work. Our careers allow us to be fairly flexible with our hours and we call for help if we both happen to be working the same time. It’’s always a constant juggle.”

For Bassingthwaighte, that means catching up on emails after the children have gone to sleep. “”It is hard to switch off. When it is your own business, you need to be switched on 24/7 and that is the same with being a mum. We try and have phones off between 5pm and 7pm so we can have dinner, bath and bedtime stories with no interruptions. I work throughout the day, but it is often easier to get my emailing done after 8pm when the kids are asleep,”” she says.

A typical day for Bassingthwaighte? “It doesn’’t exist,” she says, with a laugh. It’’s also refreshing to hear that while she might be one of the country’s most well-known celebrities, at home, she’’s just like everyone else. “”No two days are the same. Except that we wake around 6:30am to the kids. Usually before each week starts, my husband and I sit down and run through what we both have on the following week and then we nut out who has the kids on which day/night. We both love taking them to their activities – gymnastics, music class and swimming. It’’s so fun to do as a family so we make that a priority. Harper sleeps at 8pm then we work till 10pm or 11pm most nights just to get through everything.””

The debut Chi Khi range is bold, modern and cool, just like Bassingthwaighte. “”I’’ve always loved a challenge and turning dreams into a reality seems to be my life’s motto,”” she says. ““Once you have children your whole world revolves around them. In our industry you never really know what is happening from one year to the next. I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible while still doing something I loved. Plus I have always loved fashion and design, so it all seemed to make sense. From conception to reality, it has been about 18 months in the making.””

The stylish range goes from zero to four and is crafted from soft bamboo and cotton, and comes in a monochromatic palette. ““It’’s like nothing I had ever felt before,”” she says of the bamboo fabric. Her favourite pieces? “”I love the little eyelash grips on the feet of our rompers, the Millie Belle Skater Skirt and the Evie Dot Cardigan is a favourite because it is a great statement piece that will go with anything. I only wish it could fit me.””

Her approach to balancing a career and motherhood is pragmatic. ““Anything is possible if you set your mind to it. It helps to have a great support network, but it’’s all about balance. I think it’s great for my kids to see us working and that we love what we do, but I also know my kids will grow up so fast, so I spend as much time with them as possible,”” she says.

Photography: Nikole Ramsay Makeup: Amy Harrison Hair: Jacky Chan from Oscar Oscar Salons Chadstone Words: Georgie Abay

 


After I became a mother...

Everything changed. I realised that there was so much more to life. That the little things I used to worry about seemed so insignificant. Suddenly everything became more rewarding.


Growing up, I was always doing something...

Brownies, gymnastics, physical culture, ballroom dancing, singing, dancing, acting, hockey, netball and athletics. You name it I tried it. School holidays were spent with my grandparents and my eldest sister travelling around Australia by caravan. It was a magical time of freedom and exploration.


Chi Khi was inspired by my children in every way...

Harper hated anything that was too itchy or scratchy, as she would say! So comfort was key. And as a mum I wanted things to be uber stylish with practical elements. We have upside down zips in our rompers for easy nappy change, grips on the feet too. We also made our pant lengths longer because they grow so fast.


Since becoming a mother...

I think I have owned my own style a bit more. It’s more relaxed for sure, but I do love really well made, beautiful pieces that will last.


Embrace every second because it goes so fast...

I really did love pregnancy. I had morning sickness, so that wasn’t my favourite part but I loved feeling a little person inside of me. The whole thing was beautiful and surreal. The hardest part was toward the end just feeling so heavy and tired all of the time.


My son loves the drumsticks...

He picked them up one day and went to hit the drums and realised they were upside down, turned them around and continued on! And just the other day he was in our music studio and picked up a plectrum and started strumming the rows of guitars. That was so bizarre especially given his name is Hendrix!


To new mothers...

Hold on tight and enjoy the ride. In all seriousness you are learning how to parent and your new baby is learning everything. Be patient with yourself. It is hard. But it does get easier.


Beauty wise, I do tend to clean my face well...

I’m loving Ultraceuticals at the moment. As far as makeup goes, it is nothing or very minimal. My hair is short now and it has made getting ready in the morning even faster.


I wish I could say my fitness routine is amazing...

But I literally haven’t done anything for so long. In saying that, my go to exercise is KX Pilates. It’s cardio based Pilates and so good for overall fitness and strength. I am starting back next week. Ah, don’t we all say that! Finding enough hours in the day to do everything is the hardest part of motherhood.


My son is usually dressed in comfy but standout clothes...

I love him to be able to play, but still look cool at the same time. He loves the Chi Khi skyler slouch pants and so do I. They look effortlessly cool and the Lennox reversible vest is insanely cosy. Harper is too old for the range now as it took so long to develop. I can squeeze her into the Evie dot cardi which is her favourite piece.


My tips for keeping a home tidy with children...

That is a hard one. I guess the best thing is to try and stay on top of it daily. If things are clean before you go to bed that seems to help. I try and teach my kids that it is fine to make a mess, but once they are finished with something, before they move on to the next thing, they should clean up first. Oh yes and a great hubby!


I had always wanted an open wardrobe that was more like a dressing room...

It is really special and I always know where everything is! I am forever changing the furniture around at home. Probably once a month I go crazy. I find it really therapeutic. I like to stick to a really neutral base colour palette – a lot of white, black and grey. I add pops of colour with cushions and accessories. That way when I get bored I change the cushions and it feels like new.


My favourite part of motherhood is...

Just watching them grow and develop. Finding their strengths and conquering fears. It makes my heart sing.


Natalie'’s little list of loves...

Taking Harper and Hendrix to swimming classes. Watching my daughter conquer her fear is just beautiful to watch.
Loving the book #GIRLBOSS by Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso.
Sleep
Red wine from Henschke.
A facial at Missie CoCo. Sandra is the best!
The Collective magazine.
Daniel Johns’ new single Aerial Love.
Sunday brunch with the family.
Scent of Home’s Brass Fig Tree candle.
Redecorating the house.