A Day In The Life Of The Simple Folk’s Bohanna Gerritsen

If you're anything like us, you love getting an insight into the daily lives of other mothers. We love hearing their tips and tricks and hearing how they make it work. This week, we caught up with Bohanna Gerritsen of The Simple Folk who lives a dreamy life in Western Australia, with her three gorgeous children...

While a slower life is something she’s purposelessly created for her family, like all mothers, Bohanna’s day starts and ends like most of ours – beginning with early morning wake-ups and ending with lots of bedtime stories (followed by catching up on her favourite Netflix series). We spent the day with the ever-stylish Bohanna to find out what her days involve from homeschooling her eldest daughter Indiana to what the jump from two to three children was like to her approach to fashion. Ready? Here we go.

Photography by Stef King | Location: Kawa Studios | In association with Polo Ralph Lauren 

I wake up anywhere between 5-6.30am and am almost always awoken by one of three children...

This generally comes after about eight hours of sleep (give or take a few minutes of feeding Olive). The first thing I do when I wake up is jump straight onto answering the three hundred questions the kids are already asking, the most popular being, “Can you make breakfast now?”

That very breakfast used to be quite simple – when the bigger two loved the same muesli. However of course, now Indiana prefers porridge, so we need two options.

One thing we all love is fresh fruit and honey, so our bowls are always topped with those two things. There are no complaints from Olive either. On Saturdays, when my husband is home, he makes us his famous pancakes!

I love a flat white, no sugar, with freshly roasted beans care of my husband. In winter, I usually opt for tea, an English breakfast with honey and milk.

My morning beauty routine is pretty low-key...

I’ll usually have a shower with the kids to wake ourselves up a little more. Then, if we aren’t heading out anywhere special, I’ll apply a face serum and moisturiser. If I am going to wear makeup during the day, it’s just a little foundation, mascara and a lip tint. I’ll apply a face serum and moisturiser. I’ve been using Dermalogica for the past year and really love their products. If I am going to wear makeup during the day, it’s just a little NARS foundation, mascara and lip tint.

When it comes to dressing, we like to keep things simple...

That said, as much as it’s nice to hang about in loungewear all day, I always feel better if I dress for the day.

This year we started homeschooling Indiana. Even though there is no uniform, I always feel much more motivated when I am dressed.

Then when it comes to the kids, if we are at home, they wear very little, especially in the warmer months. They are more comfortable wearing less and I don’t mind if it means less laundry! When we go out together, I like to coordinate their outfits a little although it comes together pretty naturally now as their clothes are usually a similar style and colour tone. Indiana loves to pick her own outfits these days, so I don’t always get much say!

There isn't too much time for 'self care'...

So my exercise involves chasing after three kids all day! While I don’t follow any strict exercise regimes, we are a very outdoorsy family and keep a pretty healthy lifestyle. I also make sure I wake up with gratitude and always voice the things I am thankful for, as well as positive affirmations.

Pleasingly, our days are quite slow...

We like to spend lots of time at home and we are almost always outside (weather permitting). They are filled with learning, exploring, playing, reading, drawing and tandem napping. We don’t turn the TV on during the day and we have one night a week for a family movie, so the kids always look forward to that. Homeschooling our children is something we had always considered but our caravan trip last year really cemented that decision for us. It made us realise how natural and easy it is for children to learn when they are surrounded by nature and new experiences. Our days are still very play-oriented but I now have a strong intent to turn ordinary everyday happenings into an active learning experience. We do some structured learning following the Australian Curriculum as well as ideas from other sources and Indiana and I have at least an hour a day of one-on-one time together. This can sometimes be difficult to navigate with two other children and we often work around nap times. I definitely recommend having a strong support network and I’m very grateful to have family close by to offer assistance. For us, the biggest benefit is watching Indiana flourish with this style of learning. The flexibility has also been really great as it means we can mix travel and work together.

We opted for small living when we renovated our shed home and adopted a minimalist lifestyle and it’s really helped me keep on top of everything...

It’s much easier to clean when you have less. Our floors are white which means they get grubby easily. I usually vacuum 2-3 times a week but since it’s only a small space it doesn’t take long to do. I find it hard to concentrate when there are dishes piled up so I always wash as I cook or straight after we’ve eaten.

Then in terms of social media and emails, I am strict with myself...

Social media can be ever so time-consuming, so I like to keep my phone time to the early mornings or evenings when the kids are sleeping. I also like to keep my inbox clean and only have a maximum of 20 unread messages at a time.

When it comes to dinner time, it is chaos until everyone has eaten!

I like to start preparing dinner around 5pm so we are finished by 6pm at the latest. The kids love to get involved with cooking by either peeling or grating vegetables. We always eat together at the table or outside in the sun.

In terms of family favourites, we eat a lot of kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans and lentils – so anything we can put those in is a winner. Some favourites are lentil bolognese or nachos and tacos. I also love a good creamy fettuccini Alfredo!

We do also enjoy eating out. We mostly visit family-friendly breweries and wineries. Some favourites are Mandoon Estate, Houghton Winery, Cheeky Monkey, Black Brewing Co and Watershed Winery.

When it is finally time to wind down for the night, the kids have their rituals...

They always settle down the easiest with a bath before bed and at least three books and some story-telling. If we skip any of those steps, it always takes at least an hour longer for them to drop off!

Then when it comes to my own process, I love to have a bath if I get the chance when the kids are asleep. I always find that helps me to relax and it’s a good time for me to pamper myself a little (even if it’s just washing my hair, exfoliating and shaving my legs!).

Once the kids are asleep and the house is cleaned up, I’ll usually do some work on my phone...

This could be editing images, replying to emails or catching up on Instagram. I do also love a good Netflix binge, and I’m currently catching up on Orange Is The New Black.

Then by 9:15pm, it’s usually time to hit the hay!