To describe Justine in one word? Resourceful. The girl has hustle. She’s also ridiculously clever, funny-as-heck and annoyingly beautiful. And she can speed read like Kath Day-Knight. Legit. Despite her insanely busy life as Ed-in-Chief of Elle Magazine and mum’ing to three boys, Juz is always looking for ways to make the fun even funner – especially when it involves a theme and dress up. She’s the person I text when I need a good book/Netflix/movie/podcast recommendation because she’s extremely zeitgeisty and always knows about the cool stuff before it’s cool. So please, read on and enjoy her fantastic-ness.
How many kids have you made?
Milo, 13, Iggy, 11, Scout, 5
What’s keeping you awake at night?
I’m in between nannies right now (taking applications if anyone is keen!) and I have to travel a lot for my job (on a plane to Paris as I type this) so no matter what I’m doing, somewhere in the back of my head, a part of me is pretty much always working out the jigsaw puzzle of childcare. I always somehow forget about certain mornings or afternoons and end up in a mad, last minute, cross-hemisphere panic. Travelling for work is a wonderful privilege but also, F*#K!!!
What do you do for yourself?
I’d like to meditate and exercise more but I genuinely struggle to find the minutes. When it comes to treatments I tend to only allocate time to the surface essentials (pedicures, waxes) but if I get the time I do love an Omnilux for giving all the results of a facial in 20 minutes. My real me time is in the car. For a mother it’s a real luxury, to be alone with your thoughts. I think that is why I’ve never been bothered by my long commute. And I do like a glass of red with my girlfriends or a cocktail with my partner after work. But if I need genuine self-care, you’ll find me lying on the sofa watching US Bachelor or Survivor or planning a holiday online. I’m never happier.
How is life admin allocated between you and your partner?
I would say that we are exactly 50/50, which is quite amazing because my partner is not even my children’s father. He’s a phenomenal human.
Give us a quick snapshot of how your average morning rolls out…
My day can start in one of two ways:
Morning routine one :
5.30am – Roll out of bed and into the shower. No grooming, just chuck on clothes and go.
5:45am – Get in the car. Listen to podcasts while driving for almost an hour.
6:40am – Arrive at work, maybe throw some kettle bells around if my day doesn’t look too insane and I’m feeling motivated (rarely), then do all my grooming desk-side.
Morning routine two:
6:30am – Wake up to a nude 5 year old sneaking into our bed (he’s decided he likes sleeping au natural).
7am – 8:30am: Say goodbye to my (dressed) son in Year 7 who is completely self sufficient and leaves early to catch the bus. Make the others’ lunches (I used to do lunch orders every day but I gave it up for lent after I calculated what I was spending on 15 lunches every week), panic about everything I should have done the night before and haven’t, argue with Scout about wearing socks, kiss goodbye to my son in year 6, drop Scout to school listening to Thunderstruck on repeat the whole way, battle peak hour traffic, yell at Waze for taking me the wrong way, do all my grooming deskside.
Obviously I prefer the days when I start work early and outsource the mornings.
What’s for breakfast in your house?
Weekdays – bircher for Milo, eggs for Iggy (they both feed themselves), toast and fruit salad for Scout, nothing for me. I’m a lunch girl.
Weekends – pancakes for all. It’s a ritual we all love.
What do you pack in your kids’ lunchbox?
This is mortifying but I’ve started freezing sandwiches so they can grab them and run when I’m not there. The trick is to freeze when the bread is super fresh, make sure there’s a layer of butter between the bread and any fillings, and use both foil and a sandwich bag.
What’s your go-to dinner the kids will always eat?
If I want a dinner they’ll always eat with a decent amount of veg, it’s tacos all the way. But because that’s boring, here’s a link to the best Nutella stuffed peanut butter cookies you’ll ever make.
What are your favourite bedtime books for kids?
For little kids: The Fly, Peepo, Bear Hunt, Charlotte’s Web
For older kids: Narnia, Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories series, The Graveyard Book (amazing!)
Did you have any family traditions as a kid and have you continued those or started new ones with your kids?
Both, and too many to mention. We’re very sentimental people.
What do you like doing as a family?
We go to the beach, we watch movies, and we spend a lot of time with our extended group of friends who all have kids the same age just hanging out (most Friday nights we have ‘street dinners’ with a pot luck meal and it always ends in dancing). We are also obsessed with card games like Speed and Stress. Mostly we like lying around by the pool drinking Virgin (for the kids) and pina (for us) coladas. We’re a pretty festive household.
[Juz’s commitment to a theme party is next level!]
What can you teach me in a couple of minutes?
Apparently I’m a prawn peeling speed demon. Head off first in one swift break. Use your thumb to pull off all the legs. Squeeze the tail to remove. Devein. Eat.
What words would your inner circle use to describe you?
Super Planner! And sometimes, deranged planner.
What’s one thing that makes your life easier/calmer/more balanced/more fun/more healthy – One tip we can all steal from your life?
I used to spend a stupid amount of time deliberating over what to cook for dinner, or waste a stupid amount of money shopping for groceries we never used. Now I get Marley Spoon delivered every week and it’s a game changer. I’ve tried literally every dinner service out there and it’s by far the best because you can pick your recipes, everything is bagged per recipe and easy to follow, and the meals are really good. (#notsponsored)
The most memorable book you’ve ever read?
Impossible to choose. I did love The Time Traveller’s Wife.
The last great podcast you listened to?
I’m currently obsessed with Still Processing, by two culture writers from the NYT. Pop culture dissected academically – I swear my vocabulary has improved since I started listening to them riff.
TV series you’re loving right now?
Unreal Season 3 and the new season of US Survivor. I can’t wait for the second season of The Handmaids Tale too.
What was your last fashion purchase?
A dress from Albus Lumen. It hasn’t arrived yet but I’m praying it fits. I’ve found I know my body less and less as I age.
Best health or beauty hack?
Magnesium for everything, and PS supplements for cortisol management – they really do make a difference. Also, I have an amazing portable infra red sauna at home.
The three beauty products you buy over and over again?
Mac Face and Body Foundation.
Ouai hair oil.
Coqui Coqui perfume (I never reveal which one).
Having been in magazines my whole adult life, these are literally the only beauty products I’ve ever found so irreplaceable that I’ve actually purchased them rather than just grabbing something similar from the beauty cupboard.
What’s the best holiday you’ve ever had with the kids?
Travel with kids is everything. I have a deal with my sons that before they become teenagers they get a solo holiday just with me. Being the same gender and close in age, they tend to get lumped together, so it’s a way of spending some quality time with them as individuals before it all goes teen-shaped. Milo and I went to London, and Iggy and I are literally on our way to Paris right now. But my favourite holidays with the kids are the easy ones. I know it’s not cool to love Fiji, but any place where you can leave home and be in floating in a warm water paradise in four hours is alright by me. We love Vomo Island. But right now I’m in the middle of planning a 6 week American road trip for the end of the year. We are all SO excited. If I survive it, I’ll report back.