Slow, Ethical, and Earth-Loving Living with Urban Earth Mama, Karen Holt
Slow, ethical, and earth-loving living with Urban Earth Mama
Retykle Ambassador Karen Holt, the conscious creative mama behind the @urbanearthmama
Urban earth mama vibes for urban dwellers.
This week on the blog we are excited to welcome photographer and conscious creator Karen Holt, better know as Urban Earth Mama to chat about living a conscious and eco-friendly life in Hong Kong and how that translates into the parenting of her two tykes as well as her passion for slow, ethical, and earth-loving businesses (like Retykle!).
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and what brought you to Hong Kong?
Karen: We moved to Hong Kong 7 years ago after my husband’s job brought us here – we were just married and we saw Hong Kong as an adventure, but we never imagined that we would end up living in a remote part of Hong Kong with 2 children and 3 dogs!
Q: When did you first discover yoga and decide to become a teacher? How has that led you into becoming a conscious parenting advocate?
Karen: Yoga has been in my life for many years and it was not long after we moved to Hong Kong that I did my first teacher training and began teaching. As a yoga teacher, my classes have always been grounded in mindfulness and moving the body consciously. Once I became pregnant with India it was very natural for us to gravitate towards conscious parenting and choosing to raise our children as conscious beings and as caretakers of our planet.
Q: What has it been like transitioning from living in the centre of Wan Chai to island life on Lantau?
Karen: India was just born when we moved to Lantau and we were so ready for it. It didn’t really feel like there was much to transition, to be honest. I grew up on the beach in New Zealand and we wanted that simple life for our children. We craved the outdoors and to be able to have the beach and nature on our doorstep. I wanted our children to have a garden and to be able to run around outside from dawn till dusk. It was such a natural transition for us and it’s the most ‘home’ we’ve ever felt where we are now.
Q: How has the transition from one to two children been for you?
Karen: Truthfully, the first months have been hard. I had a challenging birth with my son, Reef that saw me separated from him and in hospital for 8 days so I was also separated from India. The separation was tough on all of us and by the time we were home I found it difficult to know how to be there for both of my children. Although your heart expands for your second child I also felt quite divided as India craved my attention and Reef needed my nurturing. 6 months in we’ve found our flow and grown more in love with each other and our family dynamic.
As with all things, time, presence, and patience are the key ingredients, and of course to be gentle on yourself. I think the second time around you have that hindsight, but it can still be forgotten at the moment.
Q: What habits/practices have you and your family been carrying out in order to remain balanced during this pandemic?
Karen: We have just been doing more of what we love. We always feel best when we’re all together and when we’re being active and outdoors. We’ve spent a lot of time on our beach and doing little hikes as I’ve recovered from Reef’s birth. We constantly work on living a life that is more slow and simple. I’m such a homebody it hasn’t been difficult to stay home, but I have discovered a love for baking our own sourdough bread, which I find very therapeutic! We love being in the kitchen and sharing meals together out on our deck so we’re just soaking in this time together and every day we talk about how grateful we are for what we have.
Q: What are some eco-friendly habits that you practice with your children?
Karen: In everything we do we think about how we are impacting the Earth and if there’s a better way we can be doing it. We involve India (and one day Reef too!) with everything. We choose eco-friendly brands and we bulk shop when we can. India loves refill day! We eat a plant-based diet to reduce our impact on the earth and openly talk about why we eat this way, so she understands and she helps to prepare our food with me too. We are also growing food in our garden so India can understand where food comes from. Basically, if there is an earth-friendly option we try to take it, and most important to us is keeping the dialogue open so the kids understand why and can advocate for what they believe in too.
Q: What are your favourite books to read to India & Reef about our planet and the environment?
Karen: So many favourites! A few of ours are:
- Dear Earth, by Isabel Otter and Clara Anganuzzi
- Greta and the Giants by Zoe Tucker and Zoe Persico
- Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals
- V is for Vegan by Ruby Roth
Q: What does Retykle mean to you?
Karen: Retykle is a vote for the kind of world we want – reducing waste and keeping clothes from going to the landfill. It means consciously choosing a better way around shopping for clothes for little ones and another step we can take towards reducing our impact on the planet.