Katie’s high profile career as Publisher at Gulf News Publishing is a far cry from her childhood fantasies that she would one day spend her life as a mama making apple crumble on a range cooker and playing hide-and-seek in the woods (sounds pretty idyllic to us!). Mama to 16 month old blonde beauty Tilly and with another baby on the way next Spring, Katie balances a very demanding desk job with family life, rushing from work each evening to ensure that she’s there for the magical (but exhausting!) supper, bath and bedtime routine.
Name: Katie Heskett
Occupation: Publisher, Gulf News Publishing
Children: Tilly aged 16 months and another one on the way in April
How long have you lived in Dubai? 10 years
1) Tell us about your work.
I work as a Publisher at Gulf News Publishing looking after the Women’s Lifestyle portfolio and Travel, Food and Hospitality magazines – these include Aquarius Magazine and InsideOut Magazine. As a publisher, I am responsible for the editorial, advertising, marketing, positioning and development of the magazines and websites.
2) What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?
In my personal life, the biggest achievement was meeting my husband Luke and being lucky enough to get him to marry me… I still don’t know how I managed it! He’s the most amazing father and an incredible partner: he embraces all of my paranoias, ambitions and attitudes, and allows me to take risks and chase my dreams. And more importantly, he makes me laugh every day and makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world – even when I’m not.
On a career achievement basis, coming to Dubai 10 years ago and establishing a career that led to me running one of the largest magazine brands in the region (Ahlan!). Getting on the plane, landing in the middle of nowhere and making a happy life for myself is something I’ll always be proud of.
3) As a child what did you dream of being when you grew up?
I always thought I would be a stay-at-home mum who cooked apple crumbles on an Aga, played hide and seek in the woods with my children before finishing off the day reading them something by Enid Blyton. Instead, I’m a working mum living in the desert (not so many woods here and definitely no need for an Aga!) who enjoys juggling work and motherhood with the help of her husband and incredible nanny.
4) If you had three wishes, what would they be?
For my loved ones to be safe and well, for Tilly to grow up bold and brave, and for our home to always be warm and welcoming. (And finally – as an extra one – for the baby weight to mysteriously disappear the moment the little bean arrives in April!)
5) What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?
A Sassy Mama is a woman who manages to juggle all the balls, whilst being honest and true to herself. It’s not always easy and there are always sacrifices and frustrations, but it’s how you face those and overcome them that makes you Sassy.
We’re normally up by 6am when Tilly likes to start the day – I’d love to say I then go to the gym or do some pilates, but that’s a lie. I normally have a cup of tea, go back to bed or start getting myself ready for the day. We have an amazing Nanny who looks after Tilly so I can have a shower and start going through my day’s To-Do list. After dropping Tilly at nursery around 7.30, I’m in the office by 8 and starting the day. With the magazines I look after, there’s always something immediate to deal with or deadlines to face, and then the rest of the day is filled with meetings, development, research and branding. We have a lot of new projects to plan so I’m normally juggling from one thing to the next which I love.
After picking up Tilly about 5.30, we head home and she has some supper then I give her a bath, read and put her to bed. My husband’s normally home about 6.30/7 and then I cook dinner – it’s my relaxation after my day – and then bed around 9’ish.
7) What’s your guilty pleasure?
Really awful television and trashy magazines – there’s something so wonderfully and mind-numbingly entertaining about both. My husband does draw the line at times however, especially when I introduced Tilly to The Only Way is Essex.
8) What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?
I have two phrases in life: ‘I don’t make parachutes’ and ‘When in doubt, wear a wrap dress’. The first puts everything into perspective when it comes to work. No one is going to jump out of the plane in something I’ve done wrong, and the second is my go-to when I need a pick-me-up/confidence booster. Some women have lipstick – I have wrap dresses.
9) What do you most enjoy doing as a family in Dubai?
We love waking up and heading the beach on the weekend – we’re so lucky to have such a beautiful coastline. Normally we’ll pack a picnic or head to the LimeTree for takeout and spend the day by the sea.
10) What is the ‘best-kept’ secret in Dubai, something fellow mamas should know about?
Flopeds are a must for pregnant women everywhere! The orthopaedic flipflops are the best thing in the world and on sale at Feetlab in Dubai Mall. Everyone that I’ve recommended them to says they have revolutionised her life (and more importantly… her back pain!).
11) Which three words best describe your personality?
Happy, determined, strong.
12) What advice would you have for a new mama?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – you aren’t going to get any prizes for doing it all on your own. Make sure you stay true to yourself, you are still you (albeit with a small thing attached to your hip at all times) and you need to make sure you hold onto that. And always remember that every new mother is terrified about parenthood. If they claim otherwise, they’re probably lying or in denial!
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?
Make sure you find a role that allows for flexibility and understanding – you don’t want to be treated differently as a working mum, but you do want a boss who’ll understand if you need to make a last-minute dash. Also ensure that you have the support that you need – either a great nursery that will work with your hours or a nanny at home. Tilly was at nursery for a year before we got a nanny at home and we couldn’t have been luckier with the love and care she got at Emerald City, which allowed me to go back to work confident that she was in great hands. We now do both and it works brilliantly, as nanny is at home if Tilly is ill.
14) If you were on an island and could bring only three things (family not included) what would they be?
My Kindle, great hair oil (I’ve been referred to as Aslan in the past) and my Flopeds.
15) Top three books?
Rivals by Jilly Cooper (I still have a thing about Rupert Campbell-Black), PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (nothing more embarrassing then hysterical tears on a plane) and The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve.
16) Describe your style.
17) If there was a movie produced about your life, who would you choose to play you and why?
Kate Winslet, as she rocks the curves.
18) Tell us something funny that your kids have said or done.
Keys are Tilly’s new thing and despite having informed her that the key needs to stay in the ignition in order for the car to go, that won’t stop her spending the entire car journey shouting ‘keeeeey, keeeeey’. The last time she found some keys, they were lost for two weeks before we found them in an ice bucket…