Can you introduce yourself with a few sentences?
My name is Alicia Irvine-MacDougall and I am freelance beauty/lifestyle writer and mother to my two boys, Shiloh age 3 and Boe 6 months. I am also the founder of Editor’s Beauty a beauty, fitness and lifestyle site for mums and mums-to-be.
How do you disconnect in a digital world?
For me it’s about putting down the phone or the laptop and spending some quality time playing with my two boys. This normally involves some form of exercise such as a run around Wimbledon common or swimming. I also love to switch my phone off for a few days when on holiday or just have an hour or two at the gym when I don’t have to check emails.
What is a fun way of spending time together with the family?
Because I have boys with unlimited amounts of energy, whatever we do needs to help tire them out. We love to spend time outside exploring new places, whether this be on the beach, in the woods or exploring a city. Once they get a bit bigger we will be able to do more adventurous activities with them such as surfing (my husband is obsessed) and skiing. Personally, I can’t wait to take them skiing!
Is there a useful product, service or website that makes your life with kids easier?
My Babybjorn carrier is a must, especially if catching the tube or just popping out to the shops. Sometimes I just can’t be bothered to push around a huge buggy. Also my back-pack. So much easier than a handbag when you have the kids and just the right size for my stuff, some nappies, wipes and a change of baby clothes.
What kids related brand do you appreciate?
This Modern Life for children’s interiors, Mini Rodini for playful clothing and great warm outerwear, Smallable for children’s interiors and clothing, Scandi mini for clothing and Zara kids for stylish boys clothes at a great price.
As a parent what is your favourite indulgence?
At the moment because we have been renovating our house it has to be children’s interiors, I am obsessed. Clothing wise I will spend more on items of clothing that will last like outerwear and I spend more on individual items of clothing for my toddler as his clothes get longer wear than the baby. I also try and buy organic clothing for the baby (particularly vests, tops and bedding) because of his severe eczema.
A favourite party moment?
My Shiloh’s first birthday at my mothers house in Turkey, surrounded by all my closest friends and family who had flown out for my wedding in Greece that same week. Sun, swimming, good food and great company in a beautiful location, what more can you ask for.
What do you wish people would do more of?
Realise how important protecting/saving our environment is. The fact that people like Donald Trump claim that global warming doesn’t exist terrifies me.
What place do you want to visit and why?
South and Central America. I spent time in Costa Rica and Panama learning Spanish when I was 19 and totally fell in love. I haven’t been back since but I am dying to go back and do a tour of all the amazing countries in Central America. Also my grandfather grew up in South America and so I would love to visit all the places he used to live in.
Funny family moment?
There are so many but a recent one, which is probably more adorable than anything, was last Halloween when Shiloh insisted on dressing up as a fairy for the occasion complete with pink fairy wings and a pink wand. I loved the fact they he didn’t care one bit that it was meant to be a ‘girls’ costume; he just wanted to be a fairy with magical powers. I think insuring the next generation don’t grow up believe in gender stereotypes is so important.
Do you have a tradition in your family that you are particularly fond of?
My mother is half American and like a true American always went all out at Christmas, making it such an exciting magical experience growing up. I really want to recreate that with my own boys. I am not talking presents (although of course they are there too) but more the whole experience, such as decorating the house, seeing a Christmas Show (we saw a great one at the Lyric Theatre recently) and looking at the Christmas lights (this year we went to Kew Garden Christmas lights which I can highly recommend for adults and kids alike). It also makes a wonderful excuse to spend more family time.
What annoys you?
How expensive healthy food is in comparison to junk and the false reality of social media. It can make people feel very insecure. I hope this changes by the time my boys are older.
A good piece of advice that you have kept in mind?
Every baby is different, so don’t worry if they hit their milestones later than your friends baby, it has nothing to do with how intelligent they are. Einstein didn’t talk until he was four!
What has been a popular kids book in your family?
The Gruffalo or anything by Julia Donaldson. I particularly love her book Monkey Puzzle about a monkey who has lost his mum and a spider helps him find her.
What does your ASK bag contain?
Wallet, pared down makeup bag, nappies, wipes, changing mat, spare clothes for the little ones`, water bottle and some kind or snack like oat cakes for the toddler and a Pulsin vegan protein snack for myself.
How did parenthood change your life?
My priorities changed 100%. My baby became my reason for everything I do and my number one priority, so I left my job as Editor in Chief of a fashion magazine and decided to work freelance to spend more time with my baby, eventually setting up Editor’s Beauty.
What is the best thing about being a parent?
Watching them grow and develop in to amazing little humans. The things they come out with are both profound and hilarious!
How do you manage to balance your life between family, work and everything else?
Working as a freelance writer means I can work around my kids, as opposed to my kids having to work around my work. I am also very lucky that my mother lives down the road and my husband, who is a lifestyle video producer and photographer is also freelance, which means they can help me out when I need to spend a little extra time on an article. Otherwise it is all about multitasking and doing things all together, so even going to the gym is a family event. The kids have fun playing in the crèche for an hour while my husband and I workout.
What inspires you?
Single mothers. How they manage to bring up their kids and hold down a job on their own is mind blowing. They deserve an award.
What is your ideal day off?A lie in (that’s the parent dream right?!), followed by a session at the gym and a healthy brunch complete with all the essentials; avocado, eggs, rye bread, green juice and a coffee. Then a nice brisk walk with the kids, just enough to tire them out so I can get in a little bit of shopping and finishing of with a dinner date and early to bed.