A picture is worth 1000 words and Ruth’s certainly says it all! Creative, unique and a devoted mama to Luca aged 15, Bebe aged 9 and Rafi aged 2, Ruth is also Founder and Managing Director of Ruth Bradley Consulting, representing international talent in art, fashion, food and design and balancing a very busy diary with family fun and adventures, be they on Dubai’s Kite Beach or backpacking around exotic destinations.
Name: Ruth Bradley
Occupation: Founder and Managing Director of Ruth Bradley Consulting, a boutique luxury PR and creative firm
Children: Luca 15, Bebe 9, Rafi 2.
How long have you lived in Dubai? Coming up for 12 years.
1) Tell us about your business/businesses and why you started them.
First of all, I am absolutely in love with the Middle East, every single last teeny tiny corner of it! From Dubai to Amman, Beirut to the Western Hajjar mountains of Oman, I can’t ever imagine being done with my time here as an expat or wanting to continue exploring. I don’t consider myself an expat anymore to be honest. It’s just my home. Two of my children were born here and my eldest, Luca, who is now 15 doesn’t have any memories of anything else.
After nearly 12 years working here in Dubai, I started up a boutique luxury PR and communications firm called Ruth Bradley Consulting, because I wanted to give something back to the region. I also wanted to work with a broad spectrum of Middle Eastern and international talent in art, fashion food and design. The collaboration of their creativity with my brand and regional know-how is an exciting recipe for success! Also having truly great mentors in the industry that encouraged me to believe in myself and be independent gave me the confidence to go it alone. I wouldn’t be here today doing what I love if it wasn’t for some pretty amazing people. No one day is the same and from our new sexy loft offices in Al Quoz, the art epicentre of Dubai, we could be organising a book launch for eL Seed during Art Dubai one day or the new collection of Temperley London the next with a trunk show. Variety is what makes my job both exciting and rewarding. And I love it.
2) What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?
My family are without doubt my greatest joy and achievement. Being a mother is ridiculously fulfilling. I’m slightly obsessed with my kids as is obvious from my Instagram account, and wish I could have more. If money were no object, I would pop them out! I probably bore people rigid talking about them.
Professionally, I am overjoyed to have finally launched my own agency. That I’ve done to do it in a foreign country just makes it an even prouder moment for me, and is testament to the love I have for this region and more importantly for this country. It’s also a pretty cool thing to have shared with my family. I see such pride in their faces when they tell people what I do.
As a perfect example of my extremities, I wanted to be a marine biologist or a vet. I actually worked in a marine zoo for many years on weekends and holidays. My uniform was leggings and wellingtons, I started work at 6am and an average day consisted of feeding penguins, playing with snakes and saving baby seals from the North Sea. A combination of discovering Vogue magazine when I was 15 years old and less than stellar science grades forced me to rethink drastically!
4) If you had three wishes, what would they be?
Right now, I’d like to click my fingers and have my company website magically appear before my eyes! But failing that, I would love to take my family to Fregate Island Private in the Seychelles in the immediate future – something that without winning the lotto may be difficult to achieve! It’s the place that dreams are made of. I first visited when I worked at Emirates Woman magazine for a fashion shoot and it’s absolutely magical. My last wish is to return back to age 24 and my interview at ITV with the head of programming, and actually finish the showreel they requested of me as they apparently saw ‘star potential’. But hey, no regrets!
5) What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?
Since I feel like one almost every day, it’s pretty amazing to be officially recognised as one and I am super honoured! Being a mum isn’t a walk in the park as every mum knows, and being a working mum is also a major challenge. It’s really special to be supported by other women and recognised for being as Sassy Mama! As women, we should all be supportive of each other and have each others backs on a daily basis.
6) What’s a typical day in your life like?
I am a creature of habit, so every day starts the same. I’m a little ashamed, but not sorry to admit that the first thing my eyes focus on when they open is my iPhone and not my husband. But needs must! I am work obsessed, which I think is normal when you run your own company. The day starts at between 6 and 7am with Rafi, depending on when he wakes, as Simon takes care of the other two. That time with him is sacred for me.
Once I’ve dropped him off at nursery, my first stop is to Tom&Serg for coffee at around 8am. It’s dangerous having them just underneath my office, but I need my caffeine. It’s the Italian in me, and theirs is the best in town. Emails are the first port of call when I sit down, which I read while having a recap with the team over the top of my Mac. With back-to-back client meetings and strategic development taking up the majority of my day with the team, emails are the morning and evening priority. Collectively, we recap each day on client activity, and both pitches and pending press as well as events logistics if we have them.
During fashion week, mainly Paris and London, I will also travel like crazy. No one day is the same, which is exciting for the whole team. We are constantly being inspired and rejuvenated by new activity and projects. The evening is always about the children. Even if I have a work event, I make a point of going home first. I always want to be the one to do bed times. Lying in bed at night with Rafi reading to him and cuddling, all my stress just goes away.
As soon as they are in bed, it’s back on the laptop whilst either juggling dinner or simultaneously making jam as presents, whilst being stalked by our giant house bunny Charlie. If it’s not the kids in my house wanting attention it’s the animals! The kitchen is where I am absolutely happiest in the house. Bed is whenever I can’t look at the screen any longer! Usually at around 1am or on events weeks, maybe 3 or 4. And off we go again…
7) What’s your guilty pleasure?
Sugar in my coffee. Lying horizontal on a sofa for at least 10 minutes a day with my iPad, and exotic travel with my family. We like to pack a backpack and just go.
8) What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?
The best advice in my personal life was given to me by my father. He always told me not to worry. There’s so much anxiety in business and I think every woman balancing a career, a family, and even those without a family worry about too many little things. Life is what it is, so just roll with it. It’s true that tomorrow is another day. In business, it would be two pieces of advice both from equally amazing mentors: be yourself. And be humble. I try to stay true to both of those mottos.
9) What do you most enjoy doing as a family in Dubai?
Going to the beach every weekend. It doesn’t feel like I have even had a weekend without a visit to Kite Beach. We travel every summer as a family, all over the world, from Thailand to Cambodia, Vietnam to Malaysia and I am always amazed at how beautiful our beaches and sea are here in Dubai. The water is just incredible, every weekend I feel like I’m on vacation!
10) What is the ‘best-kept’ secret in Dubai, something fellow mamas should know about?
Since I’ve already mentioned in the last answer Kite Beach (which is amazing for kids of all ages), I must also mention Safa Park. I’m gutted that they are about to rip through the middle of it to make way for the canal. It’s been part of my life for so many years. Not only is it so beautifully maintained, but you can lose hours inside relaxing under trees, it has The Archive which is a fabulous create/eat/inspire library cum café and is a hop skip and a jump from my house. I’ve heard that they are opening another Archive right next to where I live opposite City Walk in a tiny park called Al Kazan…I am praying it is true!
11) Which three words best describe your personality?
Passionate, loving, loyal.
12) What advice would you have for a new mama?
The one piece of advice I share with all my friends, is don’t change. A baby will wonderfully slot into the amazing life you already have, so don’t go trying to adapt or change who you are to fit around a baby’s. He’s coming into your life, not the other way around.
13) What advice would you give to a mama who wants to go back to work or start her own business, but is worried about juggling family and career?
If we were in London, it would be a whole different ball game. Way back then, our lives revolved around running like crazy for the train and being late for the child-minder on a regular basis. But in Dubai, we have the luxury of full time help. Your nanny is going to be the best thing that ever happened to you, so treat her like the gold dust that she is. I absolutely could not function without our wonderful nanny Carmen and she understands that she is a much-valued part of the team.
Also, make sure your husband is on the same page as you. I am so lucky to have a pretty cool partner in crime, who is also a crazily hands-on father. I would love to take the credit for getting the kids ready for school in the morning but nope, it’s him. I’m on my laptop almost every night till the early hours of the morning after the kids go to bed, so I’d be a mess if I then got up at 6am. We don’t get our nanny to come in and do the kids in the morning. My husband loves this time with them and she already works hard enough. So we split it, him on mornings and me on bedtimes…find what works for you as a couple, as gone are the days when the woman should be expected to bear the brunt of the child raising. Amen to that!
14) If you were on an island and could bring only 3 things (family not included) what would they be?
I’m details oriented so have to ask some questions… am I naked on the island or do I already have a suitcase of clothes? I definitely need my MAC Ruby Woo lipstick, I can’t go anywhere without that. If I’m naked, then I’d also like a bikini. And a boat please. I might need to pop out for supplies.
15) Top three books?
Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge I could read over and over and over, any collection of metaphysical poetry that has Andrew Marvell in there, and absolutely anything by Enid Blyton.
16) Describe your style.
Red lips, vintage dress, wearing flats and carrying heels – basically just easy, individual and unique.
17) If there was a movie produced about your life, who would you choose to play you and why?
In my current blondness, I’ve been told by someone recently that I look like Rebecca De Mornay (in her Risky Business years). But since I am naturally dark, I’ll go with Emily Blunt, as we’re both blunt and British!
18) Tell us something funny that your kids have said or done.
This is one of those moments where we wish we had written things down. Every day is hilarious. Being congratulated by Bebe’s teacher on being pregnant with triplets was pretty funny. We had IVF to have Rafi, so clearly she had overheard a conversation about mutliples and gone off on her own tangent. Rafi is 2 now, so pretty much everything that comes out of his mouth gets an oooh an aaaaagh or a laugh out loud!