Parent & Child interview

Karen is a fantastic photographer using natural light her work with families capture a very real, but beautiful look into the moment. The family lives in a remote part of Lantau Island in Hong Kong. We kick start the Parent & Child interviews with Mom Karen, India (4 almost 5) and Reef (2).

India is a child of the earth, she has a deep sense of empathy and compassion, she’s an old soul. She’s happiest when in the ocean or exploring our island. She’s both soft and strong. She gets physically upset by injustice particularly against animals. Reef is cheeky, independent and fearless. He loves cars, trucks, cranes and buses but at the same he is gentle, loves a cuddle. He picks flowers for me and falls asleep by holding onto my face murmuring ‘I love you, Mama’.

The Children

India 4 years old (almost 5)

Your first memory? Ruby (one of our dogs) kissing me when I was a baby.

The person that you admire the most? Kai Kai! Because he is my best friend. He is always kind and he shares everything with me.

What is your big dream? I want to be an explorer and one day I want to help clean all the trash out of the ocean.

What do you want to be when you grow up? An artist and a superhero that saves animals.

What is the best thing about life? I love being outside. I love all of the trees and leaves and flowers.

Your favourite books and films? Tales for Adventurous Girls and Encanto.

Something you did recently that you enjoyed? Me and Reef and Mama and Daddy went on an adventure to the beach and we spent all morning collecting shells and rocks and swimming.

What is especially precious about your mom? She gives me the best cuddles.

What if you were magic for a day, what would you do? I would meet up with the fairies and we would organise to travel to every ocean and continent around the world and clean them.

Favourite hobby? Art and rock climbing.

Silliest thing your sibling has ever said ? When he calls rubbish trucks ‘party trucks’

Favourite song? The Great Barrier Reef song from Octonauts.

What pet would you like? A capybara and a kangaroo.


For Child – Reef, 2 years old

The person that you admire the most? I love my Daddy.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Painting things.

What is the best thing about life? Trucks.

Your favourite books and films? My animal book.

Something you did recently that you enjoyed? It was my birthday and now I’m 2.

What is especially precious about your mom? I grew in her belly.

Favourite hobby? Swimming and climbing.

Silliest thing your sibling has ever said? Indie is so silly.

Favourite song? Fire Truck song.

What pet would you like? I really love my dogs.

The Parent

What type of parent are you? Gentle parent meets nature Mum. I believe kids thrive in nature so I encourage my kids to be outdoors as much as possible. We don’t own a TV, so the kids know that entertainment comes from the world outside.

The good habit that helps you as a mom? I’ve always been someone who subscribes to the idea of eating whole foods for health and wellbeing, homecooked meals around the table prepared by everyone in the family and also understanding where food comes from. I formed these habits long before we had kids and now watching the kids grow vegetables and get excited about helping out in the kitchen brings me so much joy. They’re both always munching on whatever we’re growing in the garden and I think that connection of where your food comes from is so important.

The place you love near your home, that you visit with the whole family? That would have to be our beach – we live just across the road and we walk down a little tree lined drive to the beach. There is a stream that comes from the mountains behind us and runs past our house and finished at the beach. The kids love to play there and I will forever be mesmerised by the fresh water meeting the ocean.


karen - parent & child interview


“We don’t own a TV, so the kids know that entertainment comes from the world outside”.

A film or series that you saw recently and that stayed with you? Seaspiracy. Living on an island makes you painfully aware of the trauma of over fishing and the damage being down to other sea creatures. I think about it every day looking out to the ocean and I wish for humans to do better.

The book on your bedside table? I always have a few on the go! Currently: Nourish. The Definitive Plant-Based Nutrition Guide for Families. The Secret Wisdom of Nature and Rhythms of Learning. I love books, I’m obsessed with them. I have such a thirst for knowledge and I love consuming it in this way. India also loves books and reading and it makes me so happy.

What’s your approach to buying clothes for your children? As much as possible we gratefully accept hand-me-downs from friends and we also pass on our much loved clothing. We also buy preloved clothes as much as possible. From time to time we occasionally buy special pieces and we always support sustainable brands.

Any brands or stores you cherish? We love Retykle (based in Hong Kong, but they ship gloabally) for preloved clothes. Joe Sun for the best swimmers, and for special pieces Monkind, The New Society and Louise Misha.

Last items you added to your child’s wardrobe? Some summer pieces from Retykle.

The websites that inspires you? A favourite has always been Your Zen Mama by Teresa Palmer and Sarah Wright-Olsen for their beautiful wisdom on parenting.

What is your favourite Sunday made of? Coffee and a family swim in the ocean.

Your main piece of advice to your children? It’s not really advice, but as much as possible I try to give them the space and the foundation to really explore who they are, so they so steadfastly believe in themselves. So they have that sense of self and a deep understanding of love to take with them into the world. It’s one thing to tell someone not to follow what others do, but it’s a whole different level when you know yourself and trust who that person is.


Karen Holt – Photographer