Quentin Jones is one of those effortless souls, who seems to shimmer through life on the planet with natural grace. An amazing illustrator, she has worked with everyone from Chanel and Louis Vuitton to Victoria Beckham while also seeming to become once of the London Fashion scenes hot director and photographer, without looking like she'd ever broken a sweat.
She's also really nice... and hot. Yeah I know right?
So when Quentin had her first child I wondered if the gig was up? Surely she couldn't maintain her bohemian luxe life while covered in squished cookies and poop... right? Wrong - she's still wonderful! Bah!
So I decided to catch up with her to share a little of the effortless life on the road and see if she was actually kicking like mad under the surface now she's a mother?
Quentin tell me a little about you? Where did you grow up? What were your childhood vacations like?
I grew up in Toronto, and then `London. When we lived in Toronto our vacations were in Nantucket, which was a blur of sandy days, boats and ice cream. At Christmas we would go to my step-grandad's house in the Bahamas, which was totally magical. Days spent picking bananas from trees in his garden, and jumping off his dock straight into the deep ocean. Then when we moved to London we would drive down into Europe twice a year, through the south of France and end up in Tuscany. Long sticky car rides with M+M's and gameboys. London seemed so strange, and twee compared to North America. But Europe was immediately enjoyable, with the endless pasta and gelato.
Tell us about your work?
I do a lot of things, including directing and making films, Taking photos and collaging into them... basically making images for brands and magazines. All housed neatly into the description of 'artist', which is totally misleading.
The whole thing is so totally surreal isn't it. Well the pregnancy and the birth is. The baby/child rearing is very 'real' seeming.
The birth of a child is start of one of the biggest journey's most of us can imagine? If motherhood was like visiting a new country how did the day dream of it compare to the reality for you?
The whole thing is so totally surreal isn't it. Well the pregnancy and the birth is. The baby/child rearing is very 'real' seeming. I thought I was going to be really bohemian, and always have my slightly feral child at my hip. Turns out you can't work/live every easily that way. So we have a nanny and I spend time with Grey int the morning, nights and weekends. But feel very happy that I get to set sail to a nearby island to work for the day. But eh child is definitely feral, and when we are on holiday we fit more into the idea of how I would be as a mother. It becomes very intuitive when you don't have to try to do anything else at the same time. You settle into a fun rhythm where there are few rules and you just try to have fun together.
Do you think that your personal travels have informed who you are as a mother?
I think having a worldly view on such a personal/domestic thing helps you not to over inflate the importance of doing things a certain way. I get that there isn't one right way to bring up a kid; there a multitude of ways to be a loving providing parent.
Do you think becoming a mother has changed the way in which you look at the world?
For sure. I am much less reckless now. I am even starting to wear my cycle helmet.
We went to the Maldives when Grey was 3 months. The trip was amazing, and no doubt it helped that my mum was on the trip. We bought a little travel tent for him so when we were in the sun we could zip him into that in the shade and he would snooze. I seem to remember we packed an enormous trunk for him and weekend bags for ourselves. You have to bring so much junk when they are tiny. Now he barely needs anything, but is a total pain running up and down the aisles of planes.
Give us the real real about that? Was it a nightmare or a liberation?
No it was genuinely great. We strapped him to my husband and cycled to dinners at night and he would sleep on chairs next to us in the restaurant. We got to leave him for hours a day with my mum when we played tennis. The only down side was the jetlag, but at 3 months I was so tired I didn't even notice. I just sipped cold beers through the exhaustion.
Where would you reccommend taking a child that is unexpected?
I am trying to think what has been our easiest trip... he is verrrry well travelled at this point. Sri Lanka was pretty amazing for him. He loved the sea, the people and the pineapple juice. We always ordered extra yoghurt with anything we ordered and he LOVED the cheese nan breads.
Where is your favorite place to eat there with an small human?
The easiest place is usually in whatever hotel you are staying in so you can jump straight into the pool after. Their attention spans are so limited that regardless the restaurant they always get irritated before the bill comes. (which is where Peppa Pig comes in). We were staying at the Fort Printers in Galle, where the food was amazing. And in the evenings they arranged babysitters so we could go out..
What is your favorite activity together in there?
Definitely all things water related. Playing in the shallow waves or the sea or jumping in and out of the pool. He is super physical, maybe because he is SUCH a boy.
What is store that in Sri Lanka that mum's shouldn't miss?
It's not much of a shopping town, and we had flown there from Jaipur in India... which is shopping heaven. So we focused more on icecream and the beach.
And a store for your mini me?
Again the only store he was keen on was the icecream store.
How friendly is Sri Lanka place to kids?
Extremely. In fact every hotel we went to in India and Sri Lanka was amazing with Grey, cooing over him even when he was having tantrums.
What is the hardest part of being in Sri Lanka with a child?
Probably the heat and time spent in cars. If I were to do it again I would choose less destinations (it was our honeymoon so we got a little greedy with stop-offs!) and stay in one place longer so Grey could have got to know a nanny at a hotel better and stayed by the pool with them. We were constantly getting him in and out of the car to move on to our next stop. He really exhausted his Baby Bum collection of videos.
3 things you can't travel without?
Sunscreens, Grey's ipad, and my iphone loaded with new audio books (no one tells you you can't read again once you have had a child. I spent the first year mourning the loss of books, then discovered I could listen to them while looking after Grey.)
And where are you planning your next adventure?
We are taking him to Deia this summer in a villa we are renting with friends. So we can play at still being young and fabulous :-)