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Antonia Kidman keeps family life simple:

Her sister may lead a jet-setting, glamorous life, but Antonia Kidman prefers to keep it simple by embracing baking, sewing and mending.
Date: September 03 2012
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"I'm a practical person. My mum is practical and that's central to me," she says from Singapore.

With five children under 14 and another baby due in December, Kidman says she takes pride in managing a household - and now more than ever she is embracing a simple way of life.

In addition to looking after her growing brood, Kidman, the little sister to Hollywood superstar Nicole, has managed to write a book called The Simple Things: Creating an organised home, a happy family and a life worth living.

The 42-year-old author, sometime TV personality and super mum, says she realised how important it is in our society to peel back the layers of modern life and to simplify it.

"I live a regular life in a sense - it's a good life too though - I've been fortunate in many ways. But even in one generation since when I was young so much has changed," she says.

"There's a lot of pressure and parents and families today... financially, or on children to be achieving... it's extraordinary. I don't if we had that, but it's hard to resist. I think `oh my kids aren't doing, this, this and this,' maybe they should be."

Kidman adds: "I want to savour and appreciate what I have right here, right now rather than obsessing over what the future holds or what I could be."

The author says she's like many Aussie woman in that she's busy and independent but appreciates domesticity is important too. She says it connects her to her children - cooking, gardening and even cleaning chores are all jobs her children are involved in.

Her book, which is co-authored by Sally Collings, looks at how we can live a healthier and less hurried life.

There are tips on organising your household, nurturing your family and fixing your finances, to ideas for craft and gardening projects, making your own beauty treatments and having simple fun with your kids.

"I get a lot of fulfillment and purpose from doing things myself - not everything, and not all the time, but I do like to be in charge of things and know where most things are and not have too much stuff that's out of what I can control," she says.

"It's not always smooth sailing," she says of running a household, "but I'm always adjusting and correcting and trying and put new systems and solutions into place."

Kidman says she's drawn on inspiration from the age of our grandparents - for example rather than buying new jeans for her boys when they've worn through the knees, she sews on patches.

She tries to put into practice the three Rs of reducing, reusing and recycling in her household with her second husband, banker Craig Marran.

The book offers a wealth of tips and tricks for a well-managed home, accompanied with beautiful photographs of Kidman and Collings around the house and garden. It's a very personal book too, and Kidman is very honest about certain issues, such as the hard time she experienced as a single mum with four children.

Talking of her large family Kidman says: "Well, it wasn't that unusual a generation ago. And if you go to a different culture it's not that unusual. And it's not like I've got six three-year-olds - I have a nice layering of ages."

Kidman admits that with so many kids she has to have a lot of rules in the house.

"I'm kind, but firm," she says.

"I have to be. I have to have response. I can't function in chaos."

Although the family live in Singapore, Kidman says her children have a typical Aussie upbringing. She says they have a big garden and most evenings her elder children can be found playing in the park with their friends, until she calls them back for dinner at 7pm.

* The Simple Things by Antonia Kidman and Sally Collings is published by ABC Books, rrp $35.

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