Clare Grove is the stylish author and illustrator of My Mummy Loves Shoes and My Mummy Loves Bags.
These fabulous books are perfect for every chic mum and her mini-me, as Clare takes her readers on a lovely journey through mummy’s fashionable collection of footwear and handbags.
Ladies, think Manolo’s, Jimmy Choo’s, Miu Miu, Chanel and Prada- to name a few!
As you turn each page of her exquisite books, you are guaranteed to find magical and charming illustrations that will capture the eyes and imagination of every girl- both young and old.
Today Clare chats to us about her wonderful work and her life in Auckland- where she has been living with her husband and three children for the last 8 years.
She also reveals her favourite spots around this beautiful city- that has so much to offer in terms of delightful food, fashion, art and culture.
ML&S: How long have you been living in Auckland?
Clare: My husband and I moved to Auckland from London eight years ago, when our first daughter was eighteen months old.
ML&S: Can you please describe your life in Auckland?
Clare: We are based in Herne Bay, Auckland and have three children, Sienna- 9, Annabel- 6, Ben- 3, and two pet rabbits, Stripe and Gomez. I work from home as an illustrator. The children are my first priority but writing and illustrating provides me with the balance I need and keeps me sane!
ML&S: Can you tell us about your work as an author and illustrator?
Clare: I worked in fashion and as an artist/illustrator in London. When my daughter came along, work took a back seat. There’s been a real sense of achievement getting back to what I love doing.
ML&S: Tell us about your fab books My Mummy Loves Shoes and My Mummy Loves Bags.
Clare: I had always dreamed of writing and illustrating my own children’s book. I wanted to create a stylish book that mothers could enjoy reading with their children. I have memories from my childhood of beautifully illustrated books and these images have always stayed in my mind. I decided to self-publish, which has been a great learning experience.
ML&S: What is your favourite family park in Auckland?
Clare: There are so many amazing child-friendly parks, however the children’s favourite would have to be the playground at Mission Bay. We’ve been going there since we moved to NZ. It’s right on the beach and has a fountain, the kids love jumping in during the hot summer months. There’s also an all year round ice-cream van, which works wonders in providing the children with a bribe when it’s time to go home.
ML&S: What are your top children’s stores in Auckland?
Clare: If clothes are needed for a special occasion, I’ll look in Smith & Caughys. Country Road and Witchery also do lovely children’s clothes.
ML&S: Where do you like to shop for yourself?
Clare: I love to mix high street fashion with designer pieces. My favourite high street shops are Country Road, Trenery and Esprit. For designer boutique shopping, I’ll head to Karen Walker, Muse and Runway in Newmarket.
ML&S: What do you love doing most with your family on weekends?
Clare: People close to me will chuckle at this but I’ve started going on bike rides with the family on the weekends. There’s a fantastic new wooden promenade that’s just opened down by the marina. The best part about going on these bike rides is I always know I can get a glass of wine at the end of it- in the lively seafood restaurant Swashbucklers.
ML&S: What is your favourite restaurant to eat with your little ones?
Clare: We’ll often go to Prego on Ponsonby Road for early evening meals with the kids- they are very child friendly and don’t even blink an eye when the sound of a broken glass or tantrum fills the air.
ML&S: For a date night with hubby?
Clare: For a treat, my husband and I will always choose The French Café in Symons St. You can’t beat the wonderful ambience and delicious food.
ML&S: Where is a chic place to have brunch?
Clare: Ponsonby Bistro is one of my favourite places to meet friends. It’s relaxed atmosphere and gorgeous owners Blair and Melissa always make you feel so welcome.
ML&S: If you get any time out, we would find you?
Clare: Clearing my head on a walk to one of the Herne Bay beaches or having a massage at Bliss reflexology in Takapuna.
ML&S: Where do you like to go for weekend getaways?
Clare: The girls love going horse-riding in Matakana, which is only an hour’s drive from Auckland. It also has an amazing market every Saturday. Waiheke Island is a must for a day trip. The ferry takes 40 minutes to arrive in a paradise filled with spectacular beaches, restaurants and vineyards.
ML&S: What is your favourite season in Auckland and why?
Clare: The changing colours of the leaves and bright blues skies make Autumn my favourite season by far.
ML&S: Stylish place to enjoy a lovely wine?
Clare: There are so many places to choose from but The Mudbrick restaurant on Waiheke Island has million dollar views. Looking out over the lavender bushes and vineyards and seeing Auckland in the distance is breathtaking.
ML&S: Most loved sights or areas in your city?
Clare: The view from the top of Cornwall Park across Auckland, the domain and museum, picture perfect Devonport, Parnell for its boutique shops and Rose Garden and Herne Bay for its schools, beaches, cafes and restaurants.
Make sure you check out Clare’s magnificent books on her site my-mummy-loves & follow on FB @Mummy Loves & IG @mymummyloves