Is it just us or does Zoe Foster Blake seem to have more hours in the day than the rest of us mere mortals?
Aside from writing novels, relationship guides, beauty books, a picture book for kids, a hit TV program and launching her very own global skincare range, Go-To, Zoe has now created a skincare line for kids, Gro-To.
Oh, and when she's not plate spinning her many business ventures, she is spending time - most recently in Italy and Greece - with her adorable family, husband and all-round funny guy, Hamish Blake and their children, five-year-old, Sonny and two-year-old daughter, Rudy.
So what's a typical day like for Zoe and how does she manage to fit so much in? We spoke to Zoe to find out.
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What's a typical day like for you? Let's start with what time do your kids wake up?
Around 6:30, but we don't go in til 7. They yell and giggle and mess about for a bit first. Then it's porridge and playing, until the daily battle of Getting Dressed and off to kinder. We have a nanny three days a week, on those days, we both shoot off to work at around 9; I go to my office and work solidly all day.
On other days, we're with the kids, doing the usual museum/park/play date stuff.
What's the nightly bedtime schedule for Sonny and Rudy?
They shower or bath together every night. As we have a very strong willed, grabby two-year old and a busy five-year old in together, it usually ends in screams and tears, because Someone wants the toy the Other One has, etc etc.
After a (semi-chaotic) bath or shower, they both choose from "the green one (Skin Wizard) or the yellow one (Super Softy)," and it starts getting very silly, because there is of course a compulsory nudie dance as they rub it in.
We then spend the next 10 minutes trying to get a grip on their slippery little bums for PJs/books/bed. It's a well-oiled machine, literally, not figuratively.
Are there any battles trying to get either one into the bath?
Quite the opposite, Rudy would get in full dressed if she could, which of course doesn't make me anxious at all.
What is Sonny's favourite Gro-To product?
Sonny is fanatical about the "monster spray", (Bad Dream Buster). He mists their room each night, very strategically, to ensure all hidey holes for boogeymen are taken care of, with particular attention to his and his sister's pillows. He even sprays our room sometimes, which is cool, cos it's like we have a live-in Ghostbuster.
What was the development process like for the products?
The formulas were the easier part. We have outstanding in-house formulators that I have worked with for years, and we really get each other. I knew what I used - and didn't, (we developed a baby powder before I realised I use baby powder about twice a year so it was cut) - on my young children, and what I wanted to create, loosely based on the products from Go-To I was already using on them. (Face Hero, Very Useful Face Cream, Exceptionoil.)
Sud Bud was the trickiest one to get perfect. Traditional bath products for kids give lots of foam. But to get that, you need soaps and sulphates. We don't use those, so we had to poke nature with a stick until she gave us the bubbles we wanted, without the harsh, skin-drying synthetics. We got there, eventually.
In testing phases of the products, did you need to overcome any problems?
My kids are the reason Gro-To exists. They inspired the idea, and then donated their rashy little tummies, which I then did my best to fix. Product testing began on Sonny when he was two, just as his heat rash was really starting to flare, and then when Rudy came along, I used it on her from birth, knowing it was safe, and would hopefully help soothe her infant eczema and red, scaly, skin.
Getting the fragrance right was tough - the scent of these products is something parents will grow to associate with their babies and children, it is kind of olfactory tattooing in a way. I wanted it to be playful, but subtle and soft.
The trickiest bits were nailing the bubbles in Sud Bud, the packaging for Skin Wizard (we nearly did a pump, then I realised as a parent with a wriggly baby, you need to be able to snap the lid shut and chuck it away then quickly get back to task) and also the slipperiness of Skin Wizard. You need it to sink in fast, or kids don't tend to like it.
Why should parents choose Gro-To products?
Parents should use whatever works for them. I developed Gro-To for those people who were choosing clean skin care for themselves - they now have the opportunity to choose that for their children, too.
Each product has been created not just to be safe for dry or cranky skin, but to actively nourish and calm skin that is dry or cranky. Each product has been dermatologically tested to be nonirritating and hypo-allergenic. They're pH-balanced for infant skin, and free from silicones, soaps, sulfates (SLS/SLES), parabens, PEGs, GMOs, petrolatum and mineral oils, synthetic colours and fragrances. We know people trust Go-To to look after their skin, we hope they trust us with their children's skin, too.
How do you and Hamish manage bedtime with the kids?
Most nights he does bath or shower while I clean up the kid's dinner and prep ours. I know a lot of dads do bath time, and I wanted to reflect that in our imagery and communications. They'll be lathering on Gro-To as much as mum and the kids, after all.
I then go up and we each dry, lotion and dress one child before commencing story time/songs/goodnight kisses all together. Sonny is into The Treehouse books, and Rudy, being two, needs simple picture books, so we divide and conquer. Bedtime is 7.
Is there anything you can't do? What's next?
I am VERY KEEN to write a novel (it's been four dang years!), but making the time is proving difficult. As Go-To grows, book writing has begun to feel like an indulgence rather than something I do for work. But that's okay, there is no rush, and it makes it special, like a secret lover I'm desperate to spend time with.
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