When Sarah Curtis was pregnant with her second child, she was diagnosed with melanoma. Her experience inspired the Sydney-based creative to launch her luxury resort label. “I saw that people were spending a fortune on their skin when all we really need to do is protect ourselves from the sun and it’s definitely cheaper to invest in a beautiful hat… to me it’s a no-brainer,” she reflects.
That was back in 2013. What started with a chic range of hats has since expanded into resortwear, with a focus on handcrafted pieces made by artisans in the Ukraine. So what does a day in her life look life? We found out.
Editor: Marisa Remond | Go to www.sarahjcurtis.com
I generally wake at 6:20am with the help of our new rescue puppy...
Once upon a time when we had a pool, I found it easy to wake up as I’d walk straight out of bed and dive into that water with excitement, but now I have to settle for a cold shot in the shower. If I’ve got enough time before the children are up, I head to the ocean (usually Parsley Bay because it’s so close) for a quick dip as I love diving into cold water. After living in Sydney I’m now obsessed with the ocean and salt water… it’s all for my mental health.
I only check emails in the morning if I have time. I’d rather get into that water! I get so over social media and literally get on only when I have to reply to messages and enquires. I just find it too much and it sends my brain into a spin.
I’m generally dressed in a jiffy! I have to be as I’m not one of those mums that have the school lunches ready to go. I have three children who are super self-sufficient. They organise themselves and the older two are waiting for the school bus by 7:30am just at the bottom of our street. I think they have learnt not to rely on me and now take matters into their own hands. After that I’ll have a strong iced coffee in summer or hot coffee in the cooler months, I sit and relax for maybe 20 minutes contemplating what I have to do, then I start answering those emails. By 9am, Paloma, the youngest one, then walks or rides her bike to the local primary school with about six of her neighbourhood friends! I love living where we do.
After my coffee at about 10am...
It’s avocado on sourdough toast with fresh tomato and basil (from our vegetable patch) dripping in truffle oil. We are a family who consumes truffle oil like water.
My beauty routine has always been very basic or non-existent. The only consistent element has been wearing sunscreen and a hat for the last 14 years rain, hail or shine (primarily because of my melanoma whilst pregnant with my middle child). Late last year I had the pleasure of sitting next to the very clever and lovely Richard Parker from Rationale at a girlfriend’s lunch – I’ve now been using his products and honestly could not speak more highly of him and the products he has created. He is such a beautiful person.
I always wear high-quality Italian linen simply because it reflects UV light, is a 100% natural fibre, breaths and has a classic style and feel. I only really wear long skirts and blouses. My business has always been about sun protection and wearing high-quality linen is another way to protect my skin against the harsh Australian sun. After having melanoma and staring at the ceiling at 2am wondering about the results and outcome, you do everything you can in the name of prevention. This is actually what prodded me to start my business.
I don’t plan my outfits at all...
I’m more of a spontaneous moody dresser and I’m really into my soft colours. I generally wear only things from my collection and have various styles in various colour palettes but never black… I generally choose a colour that I feel and go from there. I also only own about three pairs of shoes. I buy one new pair a season and wear them until they wear out then invest in another pair the next season. I hate having things I don’t use or don’t wear, I’d rather pass them onto someone that will enjoy them and eliminate my clutter. Clutter and having jammed cupboards makes me feel 10 kilos heavier! I hate it!
I also never save things for a rainy day or for ‘best’. I grew up with my mother making me always take off my ‘good clothes’ around the house and consequently I probably only ever wore those clothes two or three times. I’m now the absolute opposite and with my children, too. Life is too short to save things for best, every day should be and is the best for me!
I can never leave the house in a mess… it’s too depressing to walk back into. My children have learnt to put away things as they go. I’m still yet to get there with Campbell my partner of 16 years!
Sarah Curtis with her children
My mornings depend a lot on what I have to do or catch up on...
If I’m in a really creative mood I sit with my Pantone colour chart and start thinking, drawing and sourcing something new to make, otherwise, it’s answering all emails and following up on orders that need to be filled and shipped.
I wish I could do more exercise. I loved my gymnastics growing up and was a big runner and took them both really seriously. Consequently, I have shocking arthritis in my knees so I only do hot yoga now but I absolutely love it! It keeps me sane and I try to go at least twice a week if I can.
I’d love a housekeeper or magic powers like Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched. There are always mountains of washing to put away (I don’t mind washing but absolutely hate putting it away). I have a seven-year-old that has about eight wardrobe changes each day – not joking. Grocery shopping is a chore for me and I’m always running out of time and never organised enough to do it online.
I now pay the children to sort washing for me or ask ‘ever so kindly’ for Campbell to do it while he’s watching the television. It takes an army in our house but I feel it’s important everyone helps and I don’t want my children growing up expecting daily tasks should be done for them. It’s all about teamwork and helping each other.
I’m the biggest snacker...
I’m the biggest snacker! I live on dips, veggies crackers and nuts – the same goes for lunch. I only have one big coffee in the morning and soldier through.
I’ve learnt the key to managing your inbox is to answer them straight away, otherwise, I forget. The same goes for all the important things – do them straight away and don’t procrastinate. I actually can’t go to bed at night and sleep well knowing I’ve still got important things to do. Like NIKE, I ‘just do it!’ I find I’m so much better at decision making in the morning and I generally make the decision based on my gut feeling.
Lately, I’ve been busy trying to put a winter collection together for 2019 but we are also trying to get plans together to rebuild our house. It’s proving to be quite a juggle!
I usually leave the house at 2:30pm for the first of the pick-ups...
I jam pack my bag full of fresh fruit and swing by the bakery for a pie or sausage roll for the starving children at the end of their school day.
At the end of the day and night I ‘try’ (try being the hopeful word) to keep to an actual routine. The kids generally have a play, swim and jump on the trampoline with the neighbour’s children, then it’s homework and dinner. Post-dinner my children beg to play with the neighbour’s children again which usually is the case. By 8pm the house generally looks like it’s been burgled by kids but they know they have to put everything away, get clean uniforms out and get organised for school the next day. We aim to read after this then it’s lights out. While the above sounds all good and well, we are usually still negotiating with them to stay in their beds at 9pm. It’s honestly quite a chore and more like a circus than a true smooth running routine. I used to get back on the computer after the children were settled, but now I just love relaxing and flicking through a good magazine.
Unfortunately I really don’t have much imagination for dinner...
Mostly because I’m not really a foodie. I seem to cook the same things over and over again like spaghetti bolognese, crumbed chops, a curry, roast lamb, and then I think, gosh what did I cook five years ago? Campbell will ring at about 4:30pm and ask, ‘what’s for dinner’? I generally reply with ‘I’ve made a curry’ then he announces ‘let’s go out for pizza!’ We go out for pizza a lot… I refuse to bring up fussy eaters. Once I served up a prawn stir fry and my youngest announced ‘I didn’t order this! My jaw dropped and I was like, ‘EAT IT!’
I try to never work when the children are home and concentrate on spending time with them and joining in with their various activities. I hate the television so I usually read at night, and use Rationale night serums on my face. I love the peace, quiet and stillness at night so I usually don’t get to bed before 11:30 pm.