An ex-lawyer and medical researcher, Clarice is now a mother of two (aged 4 ½ and 6 ½-year-olds), stylist, photographer, blogger and media content creator. She is also a lifestyle and fashion writer and magazine editor for Peut-être magazine, which is a beautiful publication based in France. She met her husband 20 years ago when they were both at University, and next month they will be celebrating their 10th year wedding anniversary. Having lived in Brazil, US and UK, she has called Australia home for just over two decades now. Her three passions are family, food and fashion. Read our interview with her below.
HAVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ALWAYS CELEBRATED CHRISTMAS?
Yes, I come from a Christian family and we have always celebrated Christmas; I believe my first Christmas was in Brazil, which is where I grew up from the age of one (I was born in London and moved to Brazil just under the age of one), so it seems I’ve mostly had hot Christmases!
WHAT’S YOUR FONDEST CHRISTMAS MEMORY?
One of my fondest childhood Christmas memories was spending it with my cousins in Los Angeles. It was my first ‘cold’ Christmas, which was quite a change from the hot Christmases I had growing up in Brazil, and we stayed up late waiting to open the presents. It wasn’t a white Christmas, but a few weeks later we spent some time in the snow, so I’d like to think of it as an almost White Christmas…I have yet to take my kids to see snow, and my daughter has already started to ask when that will be, it would be nice to have one white Christmas…
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS ABOUT CHRISTMAS DOWN UNDER?
I love that in Australia we are able to spend a leisurely Christmas lunch outdoors, followed by a dip in the pool. Often outdoor Christmas lunches become outdoor Christmas dinners, extending late at night or into the wee hours of the morning. Also, the beach is only a 15-minute drive away, so we can also choose to spend the afternoon there, or even Boxing Day.
A ‘MUST’ ACTIVITY DURING CHRISTMAS?
Although not necessarily unique to Australian Christmases, I believe it is quintessentially Australian to throw some seafood ‘on the barbie’. The hot weather (it often reaches 40+ Celsius on Christmas Day here) means most people prefer not to spend hours with a roast in the oven or to have a very heavy meal, so seafood and salads are popular at Christmas time in Australia.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS DISH THAT’S UNIQUE TO AUSTRALIA?
I love pavlovas for dessert, instead of heavier Christmas puddings and such. For those who don’t know, pavlova is an airy dessert made from crisp meringue shell topped with whipped cream and fruit, and is quintessentially Australian, even if it did not necessarily originate in Australia. There is long-standing debate over whether pavlova was created by Australians or New Zealanders, and recently it has been said it was neither! Regardless, even though it isn’t only eaten during Christmas time, it is a very popular Christmas dessert in Australia, and one of my favourite things to eat at Christmas time.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO DO WITH YOUR LITTLE ONES DURING THIS TIME OF THE YEAR?
We have several things we enjoy doing together, which includes putting up the Christmas tree (taking it down is another story), making a gingerbread house together, and listening to Christmas songs in the car and at home. I also like taking my little ones to the ‘Magic Cave’ in David Jones (a department store here in Australia), not so much to ‘visit Santa’, but to ride a beautiful vintage carousel and heritage toy horse rides they have in a beautifully set up ‘Santa-land’, it really puts you in a festive spirit.
HOW IS THIS YEAR’S CHRISTMAS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT?
Usually, we spend Christmas at home, but this year, my family and I are travelling to Sydney to spend Christmas with my sister, who recently had her second little boy. Because of that, we haven’t done many of our favourite things we do for Christmas this year, like setting up the Christmas tree and such, although we have been listening to Christmas carols. We will be staying by the beach this Christmas, which I have not done with my little ones before!
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO VISIT IN ADELAIDE & SYDNEY DURING CHRISTMAS?
Rundle Mall (our main shopping strip in the CBID) is looking particularly festive this year, and of course, the Magic Cave is a hot spot to take little ones. I have yet to take the kids to sing ‘Carols by Candlelight’, but can’t wait to do so when they are a little older, maybe next year. We also love visiting the beach during Christmas, so having one at our doorstep will be very lovely this year indeed.
ANY RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS?
In Adelaide, my favourite restaurants are Peel St and Kenji; sadly, the latter is closing down to move to Melbourne early next year, which is such a shame, as it has been a favourite of mine since they opened over 10 years ago! In Sydney, I love to go to Paramount Coffee Project for breakfast, lunch at Mamak (for Malaysian food), and I love exploring Japanese restaurants for dinner, there are so many amazing restaurants in Sydney!
DO YOU HAVE A CHRISTMAS TRADITION?
Growing up my family’s Christmas tradition was to stay up on Christmas Eve, listening and singing along to Christmas carols (Nat King Cole’s Christmas album is played every year), waiting until midnight to open the presents under the tree. Now that I have little ones we postpone opening Christmas presents until Christmas morning, but I look forward to when they are able to stay up until midnight and continue our family tradition.
Image by: Vincent Calderon
With thanks to Clarice Chian of Brigadeirochoc X