Name: Emma Unckel
Profession: Fashion and beauty editor for ELLE Sweden; co-host of the Beauty & Bubblor beauty podcast with Frida Fahrman; and influencer at the Instragram accounts @emmaunckel and @unckelhouse
Background: Born and raised on the island of Alnö near Sundsvall, Emma thought she wanted to be a fashion photographer, but found herself in publishing, primarily working as an editor in fashion and beauty at magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Damernas Värld and ELLE. She’s also worked as a freelance stylist and right now there is a lot of beauty in her life thanks to her podcast and Instagram.
Home: A 1960s villa in Djursholm, outside Stockholm, a renovation project that she and her husband are slowly but surely restoring and transforming into their dream home.
Family: Husband, Nils; two boys (Harry, age 9, and Frank, age 6); and a little girl on the way, who is expected to arrive on September 2.
Right now: Working as a model for Boob’s Fall 2020 collection, and soon to become a mother of three!
Instagram: @emmaunckel @unckelhouse
Hello Emma! Thanks so much for welcoming us into your wonderful home to photograph you. Your third child is on the way soon. What has it been like to be heavily pregnant in the middle of a pandemic?
For my job at ELLE, I travel and fly quite a lot around Europe, hosting press screenings and events that often take place after normal work hours. So to be completely honest, this pandemic has meant a quieter work life since I started working from home in March. I noticed quite quickly that it was ABSOLUTELY fantastic for my pregnant body to be able to work at my own pace without make-up, in a bathrobe with my feet up. That said, it has of course been a very unusual spring, as I have loved ones who have been hit hard by the pandemic, and I sincerely hope that there will not be a strong “second wave" this fall.
Emma wearing the Debbie dress outside her home in Djursholm
As an experienced stylist and fashion editor, what are your best clothing tips for pregnancy and nursing?
Invest in a few garments of good quality that are designed for pregnancy and nursing. There is nothing worse than garments that chafe or slip in the "wrong" places. Two concrete tips: A nursing bra that fits comfortably even at night. Stretchy black pants are both comfy and stylish, and you can wear them before, during and after pregnancy. I live in my 24/7 bra and my Once-on-never off flared pants from Boob. When you wear a dress over trousers, it also gives you a nice silhouette. It’s both trendy and comfortable.
Emma in the Easy singlet and OONO pencil skirt
What is your best life hack to make everyday life easier?
Scale down, and don’t be too ambitious. It’s the little things that count, and in my experience children are the most satisfied when you are just there, sitting on the sofa with them, talking and asking about things that concern their world, their routine and their interests.
You and your family live in an amazing house, @unckelhouse, which you have been renovating for many years. What is most important for you to achieve in a home so that you and your family can thrive?
We love to have dinners and visitors in general. We want everyone who comes to our house to feel welcome and comfortable, and the same goes for our sons’ friends. What I like best about our house is that we are so connected to the outside, thanks to all the glass doors that run along it, allowing direct access to the yard. We are all constantly running in and out, throughout the spring and summer months, barbecuing and playing football, which creates a wonderful atmosphere.
Emma in The sweatshirt together with son Frank
What do you find most challenging about being a mom?
Like for so many others, the challenge is having enough time. That’s what I most look forward to with this last parental leave - the luxury of having even more time with my children. So they won’t be the last ones picked up from after-school activities, and I can keep up with my workouts and not be stressed about them staying up late to do their homework. I look forward to being able to do everyday things at a calmer pace. We are lucky that our boys play so well together and that they like the same things, despite being three and a half years apart in age. We can play with them and find things to do with them as a pair. Harry is the world's kindest big brother, and lets Frank join in and play even when Harry has friends at home. He teaches Frank everything he can, and as long as there is a football nearby, they are busy for hours.
What is your best quick-fix beauty tip for moms who are short on time?
Rub your face with a face oil mixed with a liquid highlighter for instant, maximum GLOW! Turn your lipstick into a multi-product by applying it to your lips, cheeks and eyes for a rosy and fresh makeup look in minutes.
Emma in our The-shirt
As a soon-to-be mother of three, what advice would you like to give to other new mothers?
Listen to your children’s needs and rhythms, instead of trying to squeeze in a routine at any cost. Nine years ago, I nearly killed myself trying to get Harry to sleep for the first six months. We tried every method under the sun to get him to sleep through the night, but it made us miserable. With Frank, I skipped all that and instead slowly but surely intensified his sleep and meal times according to what suited him, and life became 1000 times easier. He loved to eat and slept like a log. Easy peasy. To me, “Gina Ford" is a bad word that causes many parents to stare at the clock and adhere blindly to rules. As a result, they forget to see, play, listen and treat their baby as an individual. But to each his own; there are families who function best with strict routines from dawn to dusk, but that did not work for us.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Trust your gut. You’ll never go wrong!
Emma in the Breton top
When do you feel most inspired?
When I get to be COMPLETELY alone, haha! There’s always so much stimulus (the good kind) at my job and among my family and friends, that when I get a moment and can pull away, I can reflect and be inspired. My greatest luxury is the chance to sit all by myself and just stare out into empty nothingness. Or to take a long, quiet walk all by myself. It doesn't happen that often, but when it does, I enjoy it 100%. Here’s a mom tip: When I have a hard time finding time for myself, I lock myself in the bathroom and put on makeup or a facial mask, or take an unnecessarily long shower.
Emma in the Signe dress
In addition to your podcast, Beauty and Bubbles:), what are you listening to lately?
Audiobooks! I'm so glad I'm finally back in the world of books again after a nine-year hiatus. After having Harry and then Frank, I couldn’t find the peace and quiet I needed to lie down and read. But now I'm back on track again, thanks a small book club I had the honor of joining along with eight fantastic friends about a year ago. Right now we are reading the trilogy, "I went down to my brother" by Karin Smirnoff. It’s so good!
What do you want the world your children grow up in to look like?
I try to always see the positive in things, even when it comes to difficult issues and questions. I hope, for example, that from this pandemic we can learn to slow things down, spend more time with each other and "just be". I hope we can get back to basics a bit, spend more time outdoors, and live more in our immediate surroundings. I hope we can find peace through this, and stop running at a furious pace all the time, in search of the next new thing. But above all, I want my children to experience a world that is inclusive and accepts all people.
How to get the perfect glow in a flash? Get inspired by Emma’s quick-fix above.
Name four things you can’t do without?
Ok, so in addition to cuddly hugs from my family, and other vital things like having a roof over my head and food on the table, it would be the following:
1. My facial rollers, which magically take away puffiness, speed up blood circulation, and give me a free facelift in a few minutes!
2. My iPhone. I admit that I love to lie and scroll away, and work on Instagram. It makes me happy to share beauty, fashion and interior design tips there, and also be inspired by other people's feeds! There are so many amazing people to follow out there in the cyber world.
3. My body brush. Have you tried dry-brushing your body before showering or bathing? If not, here's a new product just for you! Hello, baby-smooth skin! And afterwards, you feel like you’ve gotten a full body workout. It kicks the lymphatic system into gear (unbeatable when you are pregnant!).
4. Retinol. After my second pregnancy, and breastfeeding Frank, my skin was covered in pigment spots. I bought a Retinol serum and used it every night for a few months. The result was amazing, and since that day I always use it on my face during the winter months.
Read about other Moms We Love here!