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Author Q&A: 5 Minutes with Catriona Rowntree

She’s brightened up our TV screens for more than two decades and now, bubbly travel reporter and mum-of-two Catriona Rowntree has turned her hand to writing.

Catriona Rowntree
Interview: Catriona Rowntree

From Getaway
to Grandma’s kitchen

She’s brightened up our TV screens for more than two decades and, now, bubbly travel reporter and mum-of-two Catriona Rowntree has turned her hand to writing.

In her new book, A Grandmother’s Wisdom: Lessons learnt at my Nan’s knee, Catriona reveals tidbits about life in her trademark down-to-earth style — and in an exclusive chat with SheKnows Australia, she talks about motherhood, life in the media spotlight and her glamorous double life living between the city and the country.

SheKnows AU: Describe yourself in one sentence.

Catriona Rowntree: Inquisitive, loquacious, Cancerian, passionate traveller, devoted friend, hopeless cook, adoring mum, multi-tasker, eager daughter and ever-learning wife. Hmmm, how’s that?

SKAU: How many different hats do you wear on a daily basis?

CR: Welcome to “Catriona’s Hat Shop, something different, served with a smile”. I’m a mum, wife, journalist, traveller, writer, baby-wear designer, gardener, philanthropist… I’d dearly love to say farmer but my husband thinks that’s hysterical.

A Grandmother's Wisdom: Lessons learnt at my Nan's kneeSKAU: How do you balance the demands of parenting with your relationships, career and hobbies?

CR: I force myself to be organised, which is not really in my nature. And I try to be loving and caring to those around me so that they in turn are able to help me when required. Karma is always front of mind if I want to achieve all on my wish list.

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SKAU: What are you most proud of that you’ve achieved, both in your personal life and in your career?

CR: Personally, I think that maintaining a loving relationship with my husband is a challenge that deserves some credit. In a world with such high divorce rates, having a happy relationship is fundamental to my children’s peace of mind as well as mine. Ten points to all who work hard at their marriage. Professionally, years ago I felt a huge amount of pride when I learnt how to be the “Panel Operator” of my own radio show at Triple J (it was bloody hard doing the lot), but now I will admit that I’m proud of my longevity on Australian TV. Being able to stay in people’s lounge rooms, on TV shows that I’m proud of, every week (even through pregnancy and maternity leave) for 20 years is not a bad effort. May I quickly add, I’m also really proud of still being best friends with my closest childhood friends and working with colleagues whom I adore.

SKAU: If you had an hour to yourself (or an entire day!), what would you love to do?

CR: I have a box of tulip bulbs that really need planting, I haven’t had a facial in donkey’s years, but I’d be so happy to sit on the couch and read a book about lovely homes and gardens… or a good mag. Just normal chick’s stuff.

SKAU: What do you love most about being a mum?

CR: Constant cuddles and kisses. At the moment my boys are young enough that it doesn’t bother them if I’d like to kiss their chubby cheeks for half an hour straight. I’m told this won’t last, so I do it regularly. It’s just all pretty darn gorgeous at the moment, I’m grateful for every experience.

SKAU: What has surprised you the most/been the biggest challenge about becoming a parent?

CR: The fear and guilt seem overwhelming. This morning I was unpacking the dishwasher and felt guilty I wasn’t rolling on the floor with Charlie. So, I’ve just accepted the guilt knows no bounds. And how ridiculous is it to already be obsessing about my toddlers being teens, having a motorbike, going travelling on their own? I’m going grey just thinking about it.

SKAU: What is the best advice you’ve heard or could offer other mothers juggling hectic schedules?

CR: “You can never cuddle your baby too much” is what my Nan would tell me, and I feel I’m the living embodiment of the line “You can have it all, just not all at the same time.” I’ve made peace with that concept.

Catriona Rowntree’s new book, A Grandmother’s Wisdom, published by Allen & Unwin, is out now. Learn more about the book here or follow her on Twitter @Catriona_Rtree

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