Interview with Ainslie Hutchinson



by Emmy

Ainslie is co-owner of Penny + Elke; a sweet as licorice ‘bows for your babes’ online store. She is an Australian Mama of two and is the queen of making her IG feed (@kendalhutchinson) look better than the pages of Real Living. Her two daughters, Indie and Elke, often wear matching tan saltwater sandals (which makes my heart skip a beat) and she shares my love of delicate florals, wee darling bonnets and linen fabrics. I had the opportunity last week to interview her, and here’s what she had to tell us …

Ainslie, what inspired you to start @kendalhutchinson?

I started sharing on Instagram after I had my first daughter Indie. I was the first of my friends to have a baby and I found it a useful tool to share pictures and snippets of our days. Suddenly I was connecting with mothers all over the world who were at a similar point in their lives and following along with their journeys and along the way I guess people became interested in my journey too.

Where does the name @kendalhutchinson come from?

Kendal is my maiden name and Hutchinson is my married name. I didn’t really put a whole lot of thought into the name when I started to be honest. A name change actually might be in the near future!

What has been your biggest surprise about the IG community?

For the most part it’s a lovely and supportive community for which I am grateful to be a part of. Some of the messages I have received have come at just the right time when I may have been having a dark day or been feeling like a failure and someone taking a minute out of their day to send you words of support or encouragement can make all the difference.

Your house always seems so open and clean on IG; how do you manage to run a small business, mother two girls and keep such a clean home?

Thank you! I’m the type of person who can’t think straight if the house is a mess so I do try really hard to keep things tidy. Rest assured there are plenty of messes and lots of piles of washing (my least favourite thing to deal with) but I try to keep on top of things for myself more than anyone else. That’s just how I function best!

A few of my favourite captures on your IG feed were your egg flower crowns, those painted leaves & those darling little Christmas wreaths. Where do you source/find inspiration?

Indie is a really creative little person and it’s often her who will come up with an idea and then we’ll work on it together to make her vision become a reality. She often gets frustrated when her chubby little fingers can’t make her dreams into a reality so I help out a fair bit. I also love Pinterest for craft ideas. There is so much inspiration on there!

Scariest moment since becoming a mother?

I’m terrified of my girls running onto roads! The other day Indie chased a balloon onto the middle of the traffic and my husband just managed to pull her off the road before she was hit by a car. I have nightmares about it often actually. It’s just so scary!

You’ve recently been on a holiday to Byron Bay. What was your most cherished memory from the trip?

I absolutely loved every minute of our trip to Byron bay. We stayed in a little cottage on a farm which had a host of animals for us to interact with. I loved the ritual of getting up with the sun to go and collect the eggs from the chickens, Indie got to brush and help feed the horses and we had cows literally outside our door every day at sunset. One afternoon my husband, Brook, took Indie kayaking on the lake whilst I watched from the cottage deck and Elke snuggled in my arms and in that moment I really felt like the whole world was mine. We spent the week relaxing and unwinding in the hinterland, cooling off at the beach and eating ourselves silly at the most beautiful eateries I have ever come across. We left feeling so fulfilled and content, it was the perfect family holiday.

Your two girls, Indie and Elke, share a bedroom? For those of us who worry about our baby waking up our toddler (or the entire house) how did you manage to transition them into one room?

The girls have been sharing a room since Elke was around six months old and it’s been so wonderful for all of us. We started sleeping them together when Elke outgrew her cradle  – which was in our room – and were pleasantly surprised when the new sleeping arrangement worked out so well. I usually walk in in the mornings to find Indie has climbed into Elkes cot and brought some kind of toy in for them to play with. They genuinely love waking up next to each other each morning and I truly believe they both sleep so well through the night because they are comforted by each other’s presence. Indie is a really deep sleeper so even back when Elke would wake for a night feed, her cries would never wake her sister up. It also means that our third bedroom is able to be used as a play room which is a great thing in itself!

Top three books on your ‘book bucket list’?

For kids?
Old pig – Margaret Wild
Love you forever – Robert Munsch
Goodnight moon – Margaret Wise Brown

Best way to spend a rainy afternoon?

Almond milk hot cocoa with lots of marshmallows, snuggled up in front of the fire with a mountain of books and board games.

Penny + Elke is a sweet little ‘bows for your babes’ online store. Work / Life balance how do you manage it all?

I’m lucky enough to be blessed with the best business partner (who is also my childhood friend) and she takes on so much of the workload when I am having trouble balancing life out with work! I do almost all of the bow making/emailing/ instagramming for the business when the girls are down for the night and if we have a huge lot of orders my husband sometimes even helps.

A morning at the Hutchinson’s house looks like?

Most days start with the girls playing in their little kitchen, pretending to cook breakfast or playing supermarket while I make their breakfast. I always always always start the day with a green smoothie for the three of us and I let Indie throw all the ingredients into the blender so she can see exactly what she’s eating. After breakfast we head down to the park for a play at the playground. We have a great park with a bike track just behind our house so Indie will usually bring her scooter or skateboard and Elke likes to go on the swings. By the time we walk back home and I cut up some fruit for morning tea it’s time for Elke to have her nap! Wednesday is my favourite weekday because we go to the markets to get our weekly fresh produce and we usually treat ourselves to a yummy breakfast while we’re there.

Coffee or tea?

I like coffee but I’m not a huge coffee drinker and I can’t stand tea! In fact hot drinks aren’t really my thing. I start every day with a green smoothie so maybe that can be my answer.

What would you bring to a pot-luck picnic?

I’m known for my vegan sausage rolls and get requests for them every time I host an event so I would definitely have to bring some of those. Think mushrooms, pine nuts and caramelized onion.

What is one life skill you hope to pass down to your daughters?

Travel light,
Live light,
Spread the light,
Be the light

To finish … Favourite Quote?

‘Love her but leave her wild’ – Atticus.

Want to read more ‘Interviews’? Click on the little plus sign at the bottom of this page, and check them out under ‘Categories’.

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