CIARA HUNT makes the most of her FAMILY-FOCUSED weekends, with cycling, culture and cafés on the agenda …
Richard and I have been living in Munich for over two years and it’s an easy city in which to live. I love that it is so near to central Europe. We cycle everywhere; I’m ten minutes from work and there is a lot to see and do in the Bavarian way. As a family, we have lived in Toronto, Boston and London. My daughter Freya, 12, was born in London, my first son Oscar, 9, in Toronto and Louis, 2, here, so it’s been a bit crazy. I have lived in Paris and Madrid; every city has its own heart and what we do in each one is different.
My weekend starts on a Friday evening – my husband Richard travels a lot (he is CEO of Sandoz) and my kids are at different schools – but we are all together then, so it’s movie night. My kids love Star Wars and James Bond movies and we like to watch them together at home. If I am feeling creative, I will make a cheese soufflé and if extra lazy, pizzas. It’s Louis time until seven and we are totally obsessed with him, but having packed him into bed we sit around and catch up on the week. Weekends are sacred for us and are reserved for family and friends.
We live in an apartment on the top floor of a restored building in the old bohemian area of the city called Schwabing. It is like a gallery – all white ceilings and white floors – and that suits us because I have a lot of art I’ve been collecting for years. My mother, who has a great eye and who started buying from college shows years ago, has always given me art or lovely sculptures for my birthdays. My own collection is eclectic. I have moved so many times that I’ve developed the habit of going to local galleries and becoming friends with the gallerists; once you have met the artists you have more of an affinity for their art.
We are very centred on our home. I love contemporary furniture with 1950s Danish furniture, the old with the new. The apartment is full of light and there are a huge number of windows, so it’s great, for instance, at New Year, because we overlook the Olympic Tower and can see all the fireworks.
We are early risers; I get up at six most mornings and do some work before the kids wake and a 20-minute run or an hour on the treadmill, but on Saturdays we lie in until seven. Breakfast is usually bacon and eggs and the kids run down to the local bakery for croissants and then spread Irish dairy milk chocolate over them because they say Irish milk tastes better. After breakfast we hop on our bikes and cycle through the English Garden, one of the biggest public gardens in Europe, five minutes away. Most Saturdays Freya goes horse riding there. It takes us 10-15 minutes to get into the city centre to the Viktualienmarkt where we visit our favourite cheese and vegetable stands and catch up with their owners. After that we pile onto the bikes and go to the Café Nymphenburger for lunch, where we like a special table at the back. All the produce is fresh from the market. Richard loves their truffle cheese sandwiches, Freya the Caesar salad and I go for the lentil stew.
Once a month I drive the kids to a museum for an exhibition. We spend an hour and try to make it exciting for them, otherwise we cycle to the Garden to see the surfers on the River Eisbach who surf all year round – great fun to watch. We usually stop at the Chinese Tower Pagoda where we have a beer in the garden while the kids enjoy the playground so we all have fun.
Saturday evening is for Richard and I and a catch-up with friends. Favourite places are Buffet Kull where the food is fantastic, the staff hilarious and standards are high – it has a cool, chilled vibe. More formal is Nobu’s Matsuhisa, and the bar at Mandarin Oriental is fun and casual. We entertain all the time – we had 30 for New Year’s Eve – and if guests bring kids, we have a room with television, and toys for them. We serve drinks, nibbles and fuss-free, fresh seasonal food. I will cook my favourite Ottolenghi winter salad, serve cheese and then a delicious cake from a local bakery.
There is nothing open in Munich on Sundays except restaurants and churches, so we get up and go skiing because we can get to the Austrian Alps in an hour, ski until 2pm and be back home at 4pm. I like cooking lunch or supper on Sundays – roast chicken with vegetables. It’s the last time at the weekend that we are all together winding down and gearing up for the next week. I tend to have a spreadsheet outlining activities to keep an eye on everything during the week.
I do most shopping online and buy fresh food on the way home from work. For fashion there is Teresa, a high-end boutique, but I mostly buy clothes – like the Givenchy boots that I wear to work with J Brand jeans and quirky tops –on holidays or online at Net-a-Porter. I like an offbeat look, in navy, grey or black. Elsewhere the specialist Kustermann store has everything for the home and you can get wonderful household stuff. I’m a very fast shopper.
Our weekends revolve around our next meal and who we are going to meet – my husband loves having friends for dinner. Sometimes I will say we are not going anywhere. But we never just sit around doing nothing though my downfall was when I started watching Game of Thrones. It’s a busy life, but I would not have it any other way. Visiting my parents who live by the sea in Kinsale is totally different – we sit and wait for the next person to arrive and talk about going for a walk!
In conversation with Deirdre McQuillan. Hunt is launching an organic babyfood company Pumpkin Organics online later this year.
This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this don’t miss our next issue, out Thursday April 6.
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