By Kerrie Simon-Lawrence
When social media super-mama Courtney Adamo packed up her life, along with hubby, Michael, and their four minis Easton, Quin, Ivy and Marlow in 2016, for a year of travelling the world (how cool!), there were a few goals in mind – to show their kids a life unlike the one they knew in their hometown of London, sure, but to also find somewhere they could settle for the long term.
They road-tested the ‘usual suspects’, you know… New Zealand, France and Italy, as well as places as far-flung as Sri Lanka, Chile and Uruguay. What they were searching for, was “somewhere slower”. Then they found boho surf town, Byron Bay in northern NSW.
Since then, the Adamos welcomed another baby in 2017, a little boy called Wilkie. With their larger brood, the family knew they needed more space, and that combined with their desire to call Byron Bay home for good, led them to purchase and renovate a cottage in the smaller Byron Shire town of Bangalow (#lifegoals).
Courtney gives us an exclusive tour around her dreamy abode
“It’s such a wonderful feeling to feel so settled. I feel like we could live here forever, and it makes me so happy to think of how this will be (the children’s) childhood home and to think of all the memories we will make here; how one day, (they) will be grown up and return here with such fondness of our special home.
“I love that it’s small enough, I can almost vacuum the entire house with the vacuum plugged into the same outlet. We don’t need a lot of space or spare bedrooms. We all gather into the same room anyway.”
“When Quin was born, we lived in a small flat just off Hampstead Heath in London. It was technically a three-bedroom flat, and I guess Quin could have had his own room, but we always knew we wanted the boys to share a bedroom. Growing up, I shared a room with my sister, and my three brothers shared a room, so I guess I’ve never really thought that kids should get their own room.”
When Quin was finally big enough to transition out of his cot and into a toddler bed, Courtney and Michael gave him a matching bed to Easton’s.
“We’d put them to bed in their own little beds, but every night we’d go in to switch off the lights and the boys would be asleep together in one bed. This happened for about the next three years — every night they’d sleep in one little bed together. So finally, we just decided to give them one big bed to share. They’ve been sleeping together in the same bed ever since. Even now that they are 13 and 11, they still share a bed.”
Courtney explains that Ivy, nine, and Marlow, six, have also always shared a bed, but don’t sleep as soundly together as the boys do. Hence the decision to install custom bunks – so they can still share a room, but sleep in individual beds.
Initially three bedrooms when they bought the home, Courtney and Micheal turned a smaller closet off the main bedroom into a fourth room, for one-year-old Wilkie.
“It works pretty well, except for when we have guests come to stay. We’re hoping to build a little studio in the back yard for friends and family who come to visit.”
4 things to know about Courtney Adamo
1 // Together with her two besties, Courtney launched Babyccino – a curated online children’s boutique – in London, in 2011. It developed a cult following of style-savvy mamas.
2 // In 2014, Instagram temporarily shut down Courtney’s account when she posted a sweet photo of then-18-month-old Marlow in yellow gumboots, holding up her dress to inspect her bellybutton. Instagram deemed the pic “inappropriate”. At the time she had 40K followers. Today she has over 260K!!
3 // In 2016, Courtney started the blog, Somewhere Slower, to document her family’s year of travelling. She home-schooled her bebes while travelling to the likes of Portugal, Japan and New Zealand.
4 // Courtney wrote 9 Months, A Step by Step Guide to Waiting for Baby to prep the whole fam-bam for a new arrival.
Mama and minis Q&A with Easton, Quin, Ivy and Marlow
EASTON // What were your first thoughts when we became a family of three?
I think I remember being most struck by how much your dad suddenly changed. He was so proud and so excited to become a father. I was the one who really wanted to start a family and I think your dad was ever so slightly reluctant. I knew how much I was going to love being a mama, but I think it really struck me to see how natural of a role it was for your dad.
QUIN // What are some of your favourite things to do with all five of us kids?
My favourite thing is to be at the beach as a family. I love being out in the waves with my kids. I love seeing how comfortable and happy everyone is when we are outside and in nature. I love watching the way the big kids look after the littler kids when we’re all at the beach together. It is our happy place. I also love travelling as a family and watching the kids experience new places, new foods, new people.
QUIN // Did you always want to have a big family?
Yes, I always have. I always said I wanted to have four kids. I liked the even number of four. Of course, Wilkie was a very wonderful surprise addition, and I feel so lucky to have five!
QUIN // What made you want us to live in Australia?
This particular part of Australia appealed to us for so many reasons! Apart from the obvious things like sunny weather and stunning landscapes, I love the like-minded community, the friends we’ve so easily made here, the creative connectedness, the amazing food culture, the farmers markets, the friendly locals, the good shops, and the general easy lifestyle here. I love that people here tend to have a very healthy work/life balance. I love that you always feel like you’re on holiday here. I love how friendly and social Australians are, and how easy it is to socialise. And of course I love the surfing. I love that there’s always a good spot to surf, no matter the conditions.
IVY // After having Easton and Quin, was it a different experience having a girl?
Of course we were completely ecstatic to have a girl. Meg Pie (my sister) was there to witness your birth, and there was something very special about giving birth to a girl with my sister there to witness it. We were both in tears! And so was your dada. It was one of the happiest moments of my entire life. It wasn’t really such a different experience, compared to the boys, but I did suddenly feel like it was all meant to be, that we were so complete now that you were here.
MARLOW // Tell me about the day I was born
You were born in the water, in the early hours of a rainy, wintery day, just 10 minutes before the sun rose. It was dark in the room and your dada sat opposite me, his eyes fixed on mine. The connection between us right before you were born was so strong. I delivered you myself and pulled you up to my chest. It was peaceful and beautiful and was the most serene of all my births. We were so happy to have another baby girl, a sister for Ivy. We called Gamay (your grandma) and Meg Pie and told them you had arrived, and they came straight away with Easton, Quin and Ivy to the hospital. It was one of the happiest moments of my life to sit in that room with our four babies, my mum and my sister. I’d give birth a hundred times over again if they could all be like your birth.