You might want to add the stylish Bali-based Australian Innika Choo to your Instagram feed (@innika). Choo, a former stylist, is cool, creative and guaranteed to be your summer style inspiration. She’s also a mother to two gorgeous daughters Eadie, 3, and Matty, 16 months. Youll love her honest, funny and insightful interview…
How has life changed for you since becoming a mother?
Caesarian scar, fat feet and the ability to recite Frozen from start to finish. Every single character. Also motherhood has taught me to trust my intuition.
Whats the hardest and best part of being a mum?
When I first had Eadie, pretty much all the mums I knew were full-time working super hero mum jugglers, still functioning in the real world while dabbling in a bit of parenthood. Outstanding effort – I was in awe. But not able to keep up. Quite interesting that although we all know how hard-core parenthood is, when peeps ask you what you do (cringe) the general public is quite dulled by just a mum, it doesn’t feel like it’s enough, even though you couldn’t possibly even think about doing anything else, nor have the time to execute it. We’re already putting pressure on ourselves to do more, be more, earn more. Tough gig, I guess. The hardest part is societal expectations and figuring out where I stand and how I’m seen, as a mum – just a mum. The best part about being a mum is that I’m growing into a woman who has opinions on such things. No wait that’s not the best part, there’s lots of good bits. Pretty cool when they outwit you. I get duped by Eadie all the time, she’s a tricky little one.
What’s your daily beauty routine consist of?
I wash my face with Properly Clean and the Exfoliating Swipeys by Go-To Skincare – the whole range actually works wonders for this mama, for real. I slap on a good layer of war paint in the mornings and that’s the last I see of my face until I wash what’s left off in the evenings. Current routine is Chanel CC Cream in Beige – great coverage and suitable for our climate here; Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzer for warmth; and posietint by Benefit on the cheeks and lips, I scribble in between the wisps of hair (where most people have eyebrows) with Laura Mercier Ash Blonde eyebrow pencil. This tired old baggy skin needs all the help it can get. I love a highlighter and cake on the YSL Touche Eclat, and back that up with a dose of Benefit Watts Up stick on the cheek bones. I’m not that particular about application, anyone on the island will vouch for that, it’s more about how late I’m already running and how long I have between meltdowns to actually plaster the stuff on my face. Most days, I just do it in the car on the way to wherever were going, which is usually just to get coffee and come home again. I try and get spray tans twice a month because no mum has time for actual sun-baking and I need to keep up with my kid’s tans. I swear they look more like me when I’ve at least got a bit of pigment going on, plus tanned fat is way more easy on the eye. I find I need to moisturise a lot when faux tanning and swear by Exceptional Body Oil which makes my tan last longer and the smell is husband and kid approved, if I’m lucky I even score a ’you smell nice’. When hitting the town (maybe once a year) I’ll go all out and lather my limbs in The Base by Lara Bingle’s Body Glow. Once a month, I’ll sit through the torturous two hour eyelash appointments (yes two mammoth hours, like watching grass grow, but your eyes are taped shut. Each time I curse myself for not learning brail before my appointment). For sure I’d love to indulge in weekly facials, massage, scrubs and what not, all mums do deserve a pamper, but I can’t quite shake the mum-guilt being away from them to actually enjoy it. Maybe when they’re older.
What about exercise?
I sat still, in my fatty chair for the first pregnancy – terrified to move, feeding my brain with Dr. Googles highly-factual birthing information, Facebook as the MC. The second pregnancy I was a little less fragile, also had a toddler therefore zero luxury of reading or sitting and dragged myself to a weekly outdoor bootcamp. I actually enjoyed exercise! Who knew? Since having the kids, maintaining exercise is a challenge, we do go for regular beach walks with Pika Choo (our insatiable dog), and try to have a Pilates instructor come to our house a few mornings each week while the kids and dog scramble around and all over us. It’s not ideal with all their interruptions, but when we do finally get through half a set, it certainly is better than doing nothing.
Did you enjoy pregnancy?
I’d like to tell you how great pregnancy is, but instead I’m going to be honest: I am an emotional lunatic when pregnant.
Do you believe babies are happier with structure?
Yes babies LOVE structure and routine. We follow Tizzie Hall and I recommend her books and routines to any new parent. We didn’t start Eadie on routines till later on and she comes in and out of good sleeping, however we were by the book from day one with Matty and she is living proof of, golden miracle sleeping child. She also eats well.
What is your advice to new first time mothers?
Be ready for the onslaught. Winter is coming.
Can you tell us about your career path?
It’s off the beaten track, for now.
What lead you to Bali?
My husband is an architect, currently working on a master plan for an eco-development on the island. The pace and lifestyle makes for quite intriguing beginnings for our girls. Cows, frogs, geckos, chickens and bogans – what more could you want?
Where are your favourite places to go in Bali with your daughters?
Milk & Madu for breakfast (every other morning), always at the beach, we love Gusto or Lello Lello Gelato, and the Gecko beach bar for sunset. Were spending loads of time at La Laguna lately (kids wont stop talking about the cranky geese, you see). You might spot us wandering around empty rice fields talking to cows and home, we love hanging out at home.
What are your favourite childrenswear brands?
On the island we love Coco and Ginger and Zuittion. My kids rarely wear shoes, but if we do venture out of the archipelago then I’d like to get them a pair each of those gorgeous Sophia Webster Mini sandals. I also love Mini Rodini, the prints are madness, and just what kids like to wear and talk about.
What is your uniform?
High hemlines and boxy silhouettes. I also love hats hats hats, always a hat, nice sandals, tanned pins and a short nude mani and pedi.
What mum bag do you use day-to-day?
I have a few on rotation, they are island-appropriate, raffia pompom style bags from a local store here, or (don’t yawn) classic Marc Jacobs totes.
Has your style changed since becoming a mum?
Why yes, pre-kids I was probably just inappropriate, but now I’m mutton dressed as lamb. I insist on prancing about in illegally short anything. I should really have a word with myself, but at some point I decided my kids clothing was inspiring.
Whats your favourite part of the day?
Morning cuddles are pretty good. It’s all pretty good right now though, they’re fun at this age, just starting to notice and enjoy each other. After all, I guess you could say these are the good ol days?”
Innikas little list of loves:
Dress-ups with the girls.
Coconut and corn fuelled sunsets.
Motorbike rides along rice paddies (cliche but its that good).
Rabbit hole conversations.
Dark salted Lindt chocolate.
Ice blended coffee.