Meet Courtney Adamo: Businesswoman, author, mother and sustainable skin care advocate
At Jurlique, we’ve got some strong values that guide who we are. We believe that connecting with nature has a whole host of benefits for our minds, bodies and souls. We believe in using the power that nature gives us to create effective skin care, which is why you’ll find our products are packed with botanical extracts that care for the skin and work hard to tackle your skin concerns. And we believe in caring for our earth, and giving back more than we take from it, which is why we’ve grown our botanicals on our biodynamic* farm in the Adelaide Hills since 1985. Not only is this the most sustainable way of farming, it helps to regenerate the earth, and gives us botanicals that are the most potent they can be.
To say that we’re excited when we find people in our community who share similar values is an understatement. We’re huge advocates of the benefits that nature can bring and sharing that knowledge with others – and learning from them too – gives us great joy. One such person is Courtney Adamo, a businesswoman, author, blogger and mother of five children. Adamo and her family swapped an increasingly busy and pressured life in London for a worldwide trip of epic proportions before settling into a new home in Bangalow, the small town just outside Byron Bay in northern New South Wales. It’s here that she’s fulfilled her own need – and her family’s needs - to live a life connected with nature and lead a sustainable lifestyle, all while growing her business and raising her five children with husband Michael.
We sat down with Courtney to find out more about her life’s adventures, why she values nature and living consciously, and of course, her relationship with her skin.
Tell us a bit about you
I’m a creative businesswoman, author, blogger and mother. My husband and I have five kids, ranging from teenager to toddler. We also have a puppy, a worm farm in the veggie garden, and a little colony of bees in a beehive in the back yard. There’s truly never a dull (or quiet) moment in our house. Thankfully both my husband and I come from big families, so we are accustomed to the chaos.
Michael and I both grew up in the US but moved to London in 2003. In 2015, after 12 years in London and four babies later, we decided to sell everything and travel around the world for a year. We travelled for 18 months, got pregnant one more time, and eventually settled in Byron Bay after falling in love with this little surf town. We live in an old house in the small town of Bangalow, just 15 minutes inland from Byron. We’re a surfing family, so you’ll most often find us at the beach. Look for a stripy umbrella, a stack of surfboards and loads of children!
You’ve lived in the US, UK and now Australia. What made you and your family want to settle in Bangalow? And how has your lifestyle changed?
We spent six weeks in Bangalow during our 18 months of travel and fell in love with this sweet town and the community here. After London, we were looking for a slower pace of life, but still wanted to be able to find good coffee, good bread, cute shops and the sort of things we’d grown to rely on living in a big city. We were also looking for sunnier weather (after 12 UK winters, I swore I couldn’t survive another!). Bangalow has wonderful food shops, a great little Saturday farmers market, and plenty of things to keep the kids busy. It’s also just a 10-minute drive to the beach.
You embarked on a family gap year a few years ago. What was the driving force behind that? How did you find travelling with four kids?
I had always loved the idea of a family gap year. When I was young, we had family friends who spent a year travelling around the world, and when they came back from their travels, I was so intrigued and inspired by the experiences and photos they shared with me. In 2015, the timing was right for us — both professionally and personally. Our eldest was 10 — still young enough to want to spend a year with his family, and our youngest was two — old enough for us to travel without a stroller or travel cot or nappies! We were also ready for a life change. Life was really busy and fast-paced in London. We worked really hard to afford the life we had, and felt the financial pressures mounting. We saw the gap year as an opportunity to find somewhere slower for our family to settle, to find a new way of living, and most importantly to spend a year together as a family.
We LOVED that adventure. Of course, the travel days weren’t easy, and there were challenges, but it really was the best year of our lives. We loved discovering new places, meeting new people, learning about new cultures, and that feeling of being untethered to one place. We found homeschooling quite challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. We still reflect on so many moments and experiences from that year and feel it really shaped our lives for the better.
Your family has grown since moving to Australia. What’s it like being a mother to five children?
I grew up in a big family, the eldest of five kids — so in many ways, my role as a mother has always felt quite natural. I always knew I wanted to have a big family of my own, and being a mother is my biggest source of pride. Saying this, I am constantly learning as I go and humbled by the role.
Of course, having five kids is busy and demanding and sometimes quite insane, but it’s also so much fun! There’s so much love in our house coming from all directions — I love watching the way the children interact with each other and how the bigger ones nurture the littler ones. Having five kids has really taught me how individual each child is, and in a way, how little control we have over who they become. Again, it’s so humbling and really such an honour watching five different humans grow up.
You’ve also created a series of successful e-courses. What was the inspiration behind creating these?
I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with other mothers online for nearly my entire motherhood journey. I started blogging 13 years ago when we started Babyccino, and I’ve been on Instagram for more than eight years, so it’s been a long journey of sharing and connecting with women. I wanted to create the e-courses to provide a more intimate online space for sharing and learning. I was receiving so many questions on Instagram, but never felt like I had the space to fully answer or explore those questions. The e-courses offer up helpful materials, resources, interviews and tutorials, but more than anything they provide a wonderful community for all the subscribers to come together, share, ask questions and learn from each other.
How do you find the time to switch off from the busyness of life?
Weekends are incredibly precious in our family and we do our best to keep the calendar free on Saturdays and Sundays. This sometimes means we have to say no to social invitations or other obligations, but when you have a big family, it’s really the only way to ensure this down time for our family. Thankfully we all enjoy surfing and being at the beach, so that’s where we usually end up. I’m so thankful we live so close to the ocean. Surfing is the ultimate switch-off from the busyness of life, and I always feel completely recharged after my time in the ocean.
2020 has been a very different (and difficult) time for us all. How have you and your family navigated the changes that COVID has brought? What have you found most challenging? And are there any positive changes you’ll make from this year?
We are incredibly lucky to live where we live. We had a few months of lockdown, juggling work and homeschooling, which of course was incredibly challenging, but in hindsight it was also a really wonderful time together as a family. We did lots of crafts and creative projects, played family games after dinner every night, cooked lots of meals, baked lots of bread, and really tried to enjoy the time without any social pressures.
Michael and I were both super lucky to be able to continue working from home, lucky that our jobs were not impacted. We were also able to sneak out to quiet beaches and continue to surf and swim, which was the best medicine for the lockdown blues. We really felt for people, especially families, experiencing lockdown in cities or in places where Covid posed a very real health risk.
Moving on to skin care. How has your relationship with your skin changed over the years?
I’m really lucky to have generally low-maintenance skin, and I suppose my relationship with my skin has always been a pretty positive one. I’ve never had a specific skin care or make-up routine (apart from a cleanser and moisturiser) and have always preferred a more natural look.
Obviously, the older I get, the more I wish I had protected my skin a bit more, especially in terms of sun exposure. I also can’t help but notice the changes to my skin as I age, but I’m still trying to keep the relationship positive. I’ve always felt like the prettiest person in a room is the one who looks the happiest — not the one with zero wrinkles and perfectly plump skin.
I think it’s really important to feel beautiful in our own skin. As a mother, it’s a lesson I hope to teach my children as well. We can take care of our skin and nourish it as best as possible, but in the end, it’s about accepting ourselves, and feeling healthy and beautiful from within. And of course, if applying nourishing serums before bed makes you feel beautiful and youthful, that only helps.
What do you look for in skin care products?
The biggest factor for me is the environment, both in the sustainability of how the products are made and in the ingredients in the bottle. Just as we care about the food we put in our bodies, both in terms of our health and our planet, we should be putting more thought into the products we put on our bodies for those reasons.
You’ve recently started using Jurlique. What drew you to us as a brand?
To be honest, I hadn’t heard of Jurlique until a few months ago. When I checked out the website and started to look further, I was so pleased to see that it’s an Australian natural skin care brand devoted to sustainability and our planet. I love that all the botanicals are grown on a biodynamic* farm in the Adelaide Hills, here in Australia. I think the word ‘natural’ gets thrown around a lot in the skin care world, but Jurlique is the real deal in terms of their practices, processes and commitment to sustainable farming.
Also, the products themselves can’t be ignored. My first experience with Jurlique was a few months ago when I was having my make-up done for a magazine photoshoot. The woman spritzed my face with the Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist, and I had to stop her mid spritz to tell me what the product was. My favourite scent is Rose, and I loved this product immediately. I have found this to be true of all the Jurlique products I’ve tried — they are unlike anything I’ve ever used before.
What products make up your daily skin care ritual?
Since discovering Jurlique products, I’ve really enjoyed having a bit more of a structured morning and evening ritual. I even recently brought my Jurlique products camping, as I’ve really grown to love the feeling of hopping into bed with the smell of Rose on my face and the feeling of being properly nourished and moisturised overnight!
I love the Replenishing Cleansing Lotion as a cleanser, followed by Activating Water Essence. I’ve never used anything like it before and am totally hooked! It feels exactly like its name — an activating essence! It makes your skin feel activated and alive. As with all the Jurlique products, I love the smell of it too. I then follow up with the Nutri-Define Supreme Conditioning Lotion and Nutri-Define Supreme Rejuvenating Serum, which I love, and then the Nutri-Define Supreme Restorative Light Cream, which is a lightweight moisturiser — you don’t really feel like you’re wearing anything at all, but your skin feels super hydrated.
Are there any products that you’ve particularly enjoyed using?
Follow Jurlique on Instagram to see more from Courtney and the products she loves.
*Certified biodynamic by the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia. Jurlique’s products and farm are not certified or affiliated with Demeter® USA or Demeter International.