For Victoria Hampshire, fusing the worlds of interiors and fashion are not only her vocation, but also a way of life. Having grown up in a creative family with an interior designer mother, it’s no surprise to learn that her days are split between running Victoria Hampshire Interiors by day, and her shoe label, Capri Positano, by night, all with husband Raffaele by her side...
If running two businesses and being a mother of two boys sounds a little chaotic, the serene home in Berry she shares with her mother and family provides just the right amount of balance thanks to its close proximity to both sea and nature, citing “the extra time we spend with our children outdoors in nature and by the beach” as a big drawcard for moving to the south coast of Sydney. “There are very few rushing people around. It’s filled with a community of people who feel happy, relaxed and grateful to live where they do. It makes an impression living in a place where people are appreciative of what they have.” We caught up with the impossibly chic Hampshire to find out how she juggles it all, why Italy will always be an endless source of inspiration (and second-home) to her, and how she approaches to travel and business while always putting family first. Photography: Julie Adams | Video: Grace Alyssa Kyo | Hair and makeup: Sarina Zoe | Words: Marisa Remond | Go to www.capripositanosandals.com, www.victoriahampshire.com | In association with Sportscraft
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What was your biggest craving during pregnancy?
Prosciutto and mozzarella with Gabriel and porridge with Taylor (probably because I was in Italy and wasn’t having it much, a comfort food I guess). Strangely now Gabriel is obsessed with prosciutto and mozzarella and Taylor, as a young baby ate very little food, except for porridge – he always said yes to that!
Describe the moment your children arrived…
Best moment of my life!
How did you determine the names of your children?
I chose Gabriel’s name one night at dinner, in our restaurant. It just came all of a sudden and my husband agreed straight away. It has a significant meaning: the Angel Gabriel. It also happens to coincidentally be the name of a song we love (Gabriel by Lamb). Gabriel’s second name is Peter, after my father who passed away just five months before he was born. As for Taylor, we named him after my father’s middle name after my husband suggested it. It is funny at times as Gabriel has a Latin name, which is easily identified by our Italian family (if it were Italian he would be called Gabriele), but Taylor’s name is very English. Everyone struggles with Taylor in Italy, whilst it is very normal in Australia.
Did you appreciate your mum more after having children?
Totally. I think everyone must have more of an appreciation and understanding of the love a mother holds and their sacrifice.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your seven-year-old self?
This sounds cliché but REALLY make the most of the opportunities you are given. Push yourself (it is really hard for a seven-year-old to understand that because you don’t have perspective on life). Guiding Gabriel as he grows up has really made me wish I did a few things differently when I was young and believed in my abilities more.
As mothers, we're often rushing. Do you ever sit back and take time out for yourself?
My time out for myself is a soft a sand run on the beach (we live right near Seven Mile Beach, which at times is isolated – I love this feeling). If I don’t have much time, I just throw in a quick half hour of Pilates. My sister has an amazing e-guide that anyone can follow after they download it, then you can just do a quick little work out wherever you are (alexisarabellaactive.com). That is plenty to get my head back in order and ready to do what I have to and spend time with who I love in a present way (without feeling the agitation of not exercising).
How did your approach to body image change after you had kids?
I found it far less important and just appreciated the beauty of what a woman’s body can do. I mean it is really amazing if you just stop and think that we can grow a person inside us! After having children you think of your body imageless in terms of superficial things, i.e a tan or weight. You have a more sensible perspective on life. As the years have passed and Gabriel, in particular, grew up and started an intense sports routine, I really wanted to get back to being very strong and fit again, how I was at school, where I constantly played sport and trained every day. He inspired me in how hard he trained and how committed he was at such a young age. This made me push myself harder too. So I guess over time my body image has changed as I am now feeling the desire to be very fit and proud of how I can push myself to hit new limits of fitness. We are competitive in our family in sport, so having a feeling of health and strength is important. Feeling strong and fit is a great sensation for me. I think we should respect our bodies more than anything but people need to have a good perspective, a good balance (thinking too much about what you eat is not healthy). Enjoy life, forget routines, treat your body well so you feel at peace about it and feed your children the best food you possibly can so they grow well.
Your career spans interior design and a shoe label Capri Positano. How do you juggle the two worlds of interiors and fashion?
I don’t know if I do it successfully. Sometimes I feel like we are crazy! General formula – daytime on interiors, evenings on sandals. Be flexible. Be prepared to work late into the night or wake up very early when you are alone. We work across a lot of time zones so tend to be ‘on air’ at all times.
Are there any challenges that come with being in business with your husband?
Not for me. I love it so much. We have always worked together. If there is any work tension that just passes in five minutes. Working with your husband means you have total trust. No one will ever have your back and support you and the business the same way a person who loves you can.
Capri Positano sandals are handmade in Italy. How do you juggle the travelling side of the business with being a mum?
This part is becoming harder now that the boys are older (as all mums would say no doubt) and especially with Gabriel who is very dedicated to soccer, therefore trains every day. It is so hard to plan and we are not great at planning far ahead. We prefer last minute! We are off to Italy and Paris in June and have to leave Gabriel in Sydney. That is pretty sad but he is off to London in two weeks to train with an English premier league team, Westham United, after being selected from a National Australian camp. So we have to make some sacrifices this year. We also travel a lot for our interior jobs (last year alone I was constantly driving four hours each way to Nelson Bay for Murrays Brewery and then flying to Melbourne for another restaurant). Travelling happens thanks to our supportive family. This year we plan on being located more in our hometown of Berry, where we are about to open an interior design studio/showroom and retail space soon called Hampshire Interiors. So we will be amongst the action of the town and visible.
Where do you find inspiration for your interior projects - are you constantly researching or is it more an innate sense of style?
I would say a sense of style. Naturally being open to new cultures, architecture and food during travel is the best influence. For me having lived in The Sorrento Coast, Napoli, Italy was an endless inspiration and our trips there each year really spur that design world mind in both fashion and interiors. Italian artisans are huge forms of inspiration.
How torn do you feel between building your career and raising your children?
Very, but it is not that hard at the end of the day as my children are my life and to be loved by them is the greatest gift so there is nothing better than to invest all I have in them. My time, love and knowledge. Supporting them is the most rewarding feeling.
What do you do when it all gets too much - what are your coping strategies for when you feel overwhelmed?
Just relax and laugh at the situation or myself. Everything passes so I don’t really stress as it doesn’t help at all. Actually, the best thing to do when it gets too much is sit down with the boys and hug! It’s the best feeling.
What are some of your favourite ways to update a home’s style?
Reupholster furniture items, get new bedding, fresh paint and lamps.
What do you love about raising your family in Berry?
The extra time we spend with our children outdoors in nature and by the beach. We get the best of both worlds – the country and the sea. There are very few rushing people around and it’s filled with a community of people who feel happy, relaxed and grateful to live where they do. It makes an impression living in a place where people are appreciative of what they have.
What’s your favourite thing to do with the kids on a weekend?
Long sleep-ins all together, watching their soccer, beach, cook great meals and hang outside in our garden, usually playing a soccer match or something competitive for fun until the sun sets. We have the best afternoons outside, which roll into the evening and nice late dinners.
How do you approach travelling with kids - any tips on making a long haul flight stress-free with little ones?
Just be prepared not to sleep and keep them company. Breastfeeding really helps for little ones. So simple and an easy way for them to settle.
You live on the same property as your mum, was this a conscious decision to be closer to family while your boys are young?
This just happened naturally. It wasn’t a conscious decision. We came to Berry for the Christmas holidays four years ago and stayed! It was definitely an extra reason for staying though. Living with my mum has made our lives so much more comfortable and with extra freedom in being able to travel for work, and just work in general without having to send Taylor to daycare early. We have never called a babysitter or nanny. Only family have looked after our boys. Mostly it is very special for the boys to be so close to her, Taylor in particular, he is convinced she is part of our close family and is coming with us where ever we go. For me, in particular, it really helps as my mum looks after me, which gives me more time to be with my boys (or work).
Your mum was always an avid interior aficionado, what’s your most vivid memory of growing up in such beautiful homes and spaces?
Linen bedding, the colour black, houses full of lamps and dark, huge furniture that was always being moved, which I enjoyed. Our home was always full of action, fun and many people which means love to me.
“ Everything passes so I don’t really stress as it doesn’t help at all. Actually, the best thing to do when it gets too much is sit down with the boys and hug! It's the best feeling ”
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Favourite pasta dish?
Anything my husband cooks, he is fantastic at all pasta dishes, particularly spaghetti alle vongole. He is from the Sorrento Coast, Napoli so he knows good food and was born in Gragnano, which is the where pasta originated so he has a penchant for cooking only the best pasta.
If you were to order dessert, what would you have?
Torta di ricotta e pera (from Gabriele in Vico Equense) – it is famous locally.
What would we always find inside your fridge?
Sparkling water. Habits from living in Italy. This is a little joke in our family now, how much sparkling water we drink. Even the supermarket staff comment about our purchasing habits.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
White coconut chocolate and cookies and cream Connoisseur ice-cream are favourites. I also have to say I could easily eat a loaf of great bread with olive oil and enjoy it just as much as ice-cream.