#powerparent Kate Slesinger
I’m delighted to introduce you to another of our wonderful Mummys. Kate inspires all of us here at Bea & Co. She has a hugely busy work life, yet family is always at the heart of everything she does, and I’m honoured that she has shared with us a snippet of her life x
Describe your Family
We are a family of five with three daughters, one of 12 and twins of 8. We have a Norwegian sheepdog called Pepper who looks a little like a husky. We live in Barnes in a ‘country in the city’ setting close to the River: the girls have lots of space to run around, play and have friends round, lots of them. It’s as close as it gets to the sort of carefree childhood I had growing up in Richmond.
Where do you work?
I’m Publishing Director of Tatler and Vanity Fair magazines at Condé Nast Britain, where I have worked for the past 23 years. I run a team of 30 and am responsible for a £10 million business, which carries considerable responsibility, but which also has some great upsides.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An actress! – like my mother. All my family were in the theatre: Mum was an actress, often on TV and stage in the ‘70s and ‘80s, while my Dad was an agent. My grandfather was a Hollywood actor who started in silent movies… I wanted to follow in their footsteps.
Describe your typical working day
Living in Barnes means that we all need to be up with the lark in order to beat the traffic for the school run and our commute into work. I wake up before everyone else, at 6:15am and usually head out at 6:45am to be at the gym in Marylebone for my 7:30am boxing class. On the three days a week I manage to go boxing, my husband Tim takes the twins to school. Our eldest daughter walks or cycles to her school in Hammersmith.
Part of my job involves a lot of entertaining, so I’m very often out to breakfast straight from the gym: favourite haunts are The Good Life Eatery and Farm Girl if I can persuade my breakfast date to eat healthy; Sotheby’s Cafe or Claridge’s if not! On the days I get to do my own thing for breakfast, I tend to take it with me from home and eat it at work. I adore cooking and have a brilliant recipe for paleo quinoa granola which I make up every Sunday for the coming week. I generally have that with a homemade quark and lemon-zest mousse, some stewed fruit, a dollop of honey and a lug of flaxseed oil.
I tend to arrive at work early, between 8:30 and 9am. The first thing I do after switching on my desktop computer is to fetch a golden milk from one of our local cafes close to Vogue House. When I first worked there, cappuccinos were a rarity: now the neighbourhood is awash in choices for morning warmers…
Lunch is either feast – a business arrangement with clients in one of our wonderful Mayfair haunts such as Cecconi’s, The Wolseley or Nopi – or relative famine. I have a total aversion to food waste, so take in leftovers or soups made from leftovers, in a selection of tupperware from home…
Mid-afternoon I start to think about whether I’m on duty to pick up our eldest child, who often stays late at school for one club or another, and what’s on that evening. Work events happen at 6pm, often several nights a week in the fashion seasons: a chic cocktail party held by a client to launch the chicest of fragrances, watches, hotels or whatever – and, as the boss, I’m expected to be there. I’ll go along, have a (non-alcoholic) drink, make sure I speak to the key people, and then dash off home, to be there for 7:30pm bedtime.
Tim and I try to eat light in the evenings and he doesn’t drink, so a glass of wine is a treat I permit myself only when the occasion demands it. If we’re home just the two of us, it’s a bowl of soup, an episode of whatever box-set we’re watching, and bed by 10:30pm.
Work top tip, mantra or motto
I have so many…
‘Never feel you have to explain yourself to work colleagues’ was one that stood me in good stead on the way up the ladder; ‘Treat people as you would like to be treated yourself’ is one I apply universally at home as well as at work. And last but not least, ‘Life is too short…’ – complete that sentence any way you like, as in ‘Life is too short to be a friend-pleaser/do things I don’t really want to do’, which is one I’ve wheeled out in several situations lately!
Favourite family trip, hangout or activity in London?
A bike ride with Pepper, all five of us, looping round Hammersmith and Barnes Bridges, which is around four miles. We do this a couple of times at the weekend and on Sunday, we take in the Farmers’ Market just behind Dukes Meadows in Chiswick, which is a hidden gem. There’s a stand there called ‘Breadren’ which does the most amazing turmeric lattes…
Best piece of parenting advice you ever received, or would pass on to others?
Set clear boundaries; don’t treat your children as your equal; all actions have consequences
Favourite way to unwind, escape or reset from work and home life?
We are fortunate enough to have a bolthole in the French Alps, which is our ‘special place’ away from it all. We love skiing as a family (the children are exceptionally good at it and now ski competitively) and also enjoy going there in the summer to hike in the mountains. We drive there (12 hours door-to-door) because Pepper comes too, and the drive itself is part of the unwinding process, an opportunity for us all to catch up, chat, laugh and get things off our chests .
What do you most hope your children will have learnt/ will learn from you?
To be themselves and be kind.
What are you reading at the moment?
Tina Brown’s ‘The Vanity Fair Diaries’: a fascinating insight into the ‘80s and ‘90s heyday of glossy magazines in New York. Especially of interest to me as it’s about the title I’m now running.
What did you last see at the theatre?
Matilda the Musical, with the children.
La La Land
The River Cafe: 30 years old and still top of the tops.
Who is your inspiration?
My mother, the late Hilary Tindall
What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
My Vitamix blender: I probably use it every day, whether to make soups, blend frozen bananas into healthy ice cream, make smoothies, nut butter and so much else besides…
What’s in your handbag?
Two purses – one for me and one for my company credit card, business receipts and so on. A stash of business cards in a Swarovski Union Jack card-holder. Two or three lip-glosses. Two pairs of sunglasses. My iPhone.
Favourite place to travel to?
For me-time, Vivamayr Altaussee in Austria: the perfect antidote to work overload. You learn to chew and savour your food, which is one of the shortcomings of always being time-challenged.
For family-time: Paros in the Greek Islands. We have discovered the perfect house to rent, with its own private strip of beach. It’s paradise.
Morning Bird or Night Owl?
Morning Bird, 100%