Susie Forbes has had an enviable career. Beginning her days in the fashion department at ELLE, she went on to join Condé Nast as Editor-at -Large of Vogue magazine in 1995. From there she worked her way up to Fashion Features Editor, Senior Editor and then, in 2001, she became Deputy Editor, working alongside Alexandra Shulman. Easy Living was founded under Susie’s editorship in 2004 where she continued in her role before founding the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design in September 2011, which she oversees as Principle today. She is married to leather craftsman Bill Amberg and has three daughters.
Q: What is your first childhood memory of travel?
A lot of time spent squashed in the back of my parents’ estate car driving to France to go skiing. The car had two tiny seats in the boot, facing out of the back window, and my brother and I always got the short straw.
Q: Where have you had your best holiday to date?
Sipadan, an island off the coast of Borneo. A truly remarkable place to go diving.
Q: Where was the first place you went with a little one in tow? How did it go?
The awful truth is that I can’t remember so it can’t have been too bad! We tended to do a lot of villa-style holidays with friends when the children were very small and, apart from the constant swimming pool vigil, I always found them a pretty relaxing way to be on holiday with kids.
Q: How do you find the experience of travelling with children generally?
Pretty nightmarish when they were very young. Three children to two parents just doesn’t go down well in places like airports – there are never enough pairs of hands.
Q: Do you ever take your daughters away with you for work or do you prefer to keep that side of things separate?
No, they haven’t travelled with me for work. I took my eldest daughter to watch the shows at London Fashion Week when she was about three and the thing she enjoyed best was the blue water in the Portaloos. I think I decided then and there that the supposedly glamorous world of my work was distinctly underwhelming to a toddler.
Q: Where was your best holiday with your child?
Esme came with us to Kenya to celebrate her godfather’s birthday and a friend of ours took her up in his plane. Pretty memorable stuff for a ten-year-old girl.
Q: And your worst?
Funnily enough also in Kenya. We went to Lamu one Christmas and had a disastrous time. My youngest daughter, Poppy, had a double ear infection and we had the worst possible time with her on the plane. My middle daughter, Daisy, contracted some hideous bug and ended up on a drip in our very basic bedroom. My eldest daughter went nutty on the Malaria pills and, just to compound everything, my husband had a terrible water-skiing accident and tore all the ligaments in his thigh. Not ideal as holidays go!
Q: What is your must-have travel accessory when away with children?
Colouring books and pens – a lifesaver (even now that they are, in principle, far too grown-up for such things!) when you are in restaurants waiting for your food to arrive. Likewise playing cards, Uno and Bananagrams – the perfect way to distract hungry kids in the face of slow service.
Q: And top tips for travel with kids?
Invariably, one or other of their laptops or iPads dies on the flight, so headphone splitters are useful when they need to share one another’s precious devices! My youngest daughter gets sore ears on planes and I do find that ear plugs help to alleviate that a bit.