It’s hard not to smile when talking to Clarins' new ambassador Catriona Rowntree (or be inspired by her glowing skin for that matter, but more on that later). Her infectiously positive nature has the ability to turn anyone’s frown upside down, so it’s no surprise to learn that one of the ways she combats motherhood’s tough times is by simply focusing on the good, and the immense amount of love. As a mother to two sons, Andrew, eight, and Charles, seven, the jet setting TV presenter has learnt the fine art of mixing motherhood with work and travel thanks to over 20 years at the helm of Australia’s most iconic travel show, Getaway...
“Where I go, they go (within reason), but I’ve no idea if they’ve inherited my wanderlust as we’re just out there doing it, travelling up a storm. I am so grateful for any opportunity to explore, to broaden my mind by conversing with people from all over the world, but above all to never complain about where I live. 22 years on, Getaway has confirmed to me that even though Australia is not perfect, we absolutely have the most magnificent backyard that millions of people around the world would trade places within a heartbeat.” While her family life on a Victorian farm is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Sydney, the slow pace and focus on nature has only had a positive effect on the way she raises her sons, and like most mums juggling kids and career, routine and boundaries are key to a happy and smoothly-run home. “We have a small support team around us, but basically my husband and I are a total team. Meals are eaten sitting down at the table, no TV on and definitely no devices at the table, heaven forbid… we do a ‘phone Friday’ where the boys can play on my phone pre and post-school but that’s it, I’m not totally rigid but I loathe screen time, especially living on a farm, heaven help the child that turns up with an iPad, I’d throw it in the bin if I could; routine is king, dinner is generally around the same time each evening, then bath, book and bed.” We recently caught up with the effervescent Rowntree to talk her approach to skin ageing, beauty essentials (hint, Clarins Double Serum and Beauty Flash Balm are key!), her preferred and most avoided holiday destinations with kids, and how she handles (and why she loathes!) screen time… Photography: Julie Adams
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Catriona wears Zimmermann dress
How would you sum up your motherhood journey in three words?
Is motherhood harder or easier than you thought it would be?
I never thought it would be easy in the first place and from the moment my first was born, I’ve asked anyone listening ‘where is the instruction book?’. But our little family unit is so full of love, their affection always seems to outweigh my anxiety and even though I constantly feel flummoxed, I wouldn’t swap this time in my life for anything.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your seven-year-old self?
The dreams you have now may very well come true, your persistence will lead to victory and you are not what your sister says you are. Just keep cuddling your Nan, stick with the positive people in your life and always choose kindness.
We're often rushing. Do you ever sit back and feel proud of yourself?
Oh please, who’s got time for that. I definitely have moments when I stop and treasure the view, or the experience, maybe the beauty of a flower I’ve grown, or the child I’ve guided. But I don’t indulge myself with pats on the back, I’m too busy looking forward, planning future adventures and doing endless washing to take stock of what’s been and done.
How did your approach to body image change after you had kids? How do you approach self-love?
I’ve always known the force of my personality is far greater than the look of my face. I think the fact I’m married to someone who makes me feel loved plays a huge part, but self-esteem aside, I’ve created not one but TWO near ten pounds, healthy babies. What a dead set legend! I refuse to be disrespectful to a body that has the ability to create a human being.
Have you always looked after your skin?
Yes, I grew up in a household of girly girls and at 11 my mum gave us each our own little skin care package. But I’ve always had sensitive skin, so I can’t really muck around with too many products or be lazy with skin care. If my skin is clear, I feel great. The nicest compliment I could get is ‘gee your skin looks good’, which is why I keep up my vitamins, drink a bucket load of water, appreciate a bit of sleep and regular skincare. Consistency is key.