Ciara Katzin and have only ever spent a few days together, but our love for fashion, all things pretty and that we’re both mama’s have made us fast friends. Mom to Josh, 6 and Arabella 4, Ciara has a full life in Shanghai. Born in Ireland but raised in South Africa and after living in London for 14 years working in PR and more recently as a stylist, she and her husband, Brent, moved to Shanghai 3 and a half years ago. When Ciara isn’t being a super-mom and browsing the pages of fashion magazines, she’s working as a decor stylist in the swish interiors store, Chapin House. Here she advises expats on creating beautiful spaces to live their ‘temporary lives’ in the Pudong area of the city. With Chinese New Year around the corner on Feb 19th, I chatted to Ciara about the biggest holiday in Chinese Culture and her Shanghai Top Five …
What do you most like about CNY?
It is a tradition very similar to Christmas. It is all about giving, especially to old and young ones. We have only spent one CNY in Shanghai and the vibrancy is palpable – fireworks and firecrackers for days!
Which of the Chinese traditions do you most love?
I love that Chinese people treasure their children, there is nothing more important than their child. Grandparents migrate to cities just to take care of their grandchildren while their daughter or son goes to work. They believe that you work just to give to your children and to ensure that their future is better than their own. They sacrifice so much to give their children the best education that they can afford. I really admire this part of their culture.
Any hopes and dreams for you and your family for the upcoming year of the Goat?
Sadly none of us are ‘Goats’ which means we don’t get to wear red underwear all year! With two young children living the expat life in China, I hope and pray for good health, happy kids and lots of exotic travel!
Ciara’s Top Five
1. Best ‘Date Night’ resto?
Flair at the top of the Ritz Carlton in Pudong. It’s on the 58th floor and has amazing views of Shanghai. In winter you can cozy up with a glass of red and in summer you can take your bubbles and sushi on the terrace. Its the first place my hubbie took me when we arrived in Shanghai and we still love it.
2. Best store of yummy luxe goodies to browse and droll over?
There are so many super luxe malls in Shanghai, I personally love Lane Crawford on Huai Hai Lu for the drool factor, there is also the newly opened IPM mall which has every fashion house worth knowing!
3. The shop you dash to for a quick pick-me-up buy?
It has to be Zara for that fast fashion pick me up. Zara on Huai Hai Lu is my fave.
4. Best place to take the kids for a milkshake/snack/cake/ice cream?
It has to be Baker and Spice. They are dotted all around Shanghai and an easy breezy kid friendly place, where the kids can have a treat and the mums a well deserved coffee.
5. Best tourist attraction in Shanghai that you can’t get enough of?
The French concession. We love showing off the beautiful tree lined streets, the great restaurants, cafés and bars. It also has Fuxing Park where you can find a little snap shot of Shanghai life – old men playing Majong, grandparents walking their grandkids, ladies doing the tango. If you are having a Shang-low it is a real pick me up and reminder that there is a rich culture behind all the high rises.