the tale of anna feller and banjo antony
Every room of our house is different, yet it all ties together. Dion is a mad collector and creator I will try to refrain from using the word hoarder and our house is full! Indeed, walking into the beautifully curated home of model Anna Feller and her partner Dion Antony is something of a sensory overload. It definitely gets the six senses flowing. It usually smells like a mix of lavender oil and sawdust, which perfectly describes the two of us. Something is often slow cooking in the oven, coconuts are cracked open and left on tables. It's very much a home, not a house. It's the kind of place you walk into and never want to leave. We love living here, the energy is grounding, creative and full of love. Its a perfect mix of the both of us and a beautiful space for Banjo to grow up. From the mind-blowing handcrafted bed which Antony made using coastal tea tree branches to the hand painted grass that wraps around the walls of Banjos nursery, done by Feller and her mother while they were waiting for the baby to come, there are endless curiosities in this home to appreciate.
Theres also an incredibly calm atmosphere running through the house, which always helps when you have a newborn in residence. The more relaxed you are, the more that energy will transfer to your baby and to the others in your household. Also listen to your baby, they will help you to figure it out, says Feller. She gave birth to her son, Banjo Love Antony, four and a half months ago. My birth was long. It went for 36 hours. I was actually due to be induced the next day, as I was already two weeks overdue. I shared my entire birth story on Shanay Halls website Lulus Gypsys. You can read it here. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat."
While the Canadian model might be blessed with killer genes, health and fitness plays a big part in her life. Im so into super foods and I vow they make everything better, especially while breast feeding when you are giving everything to the baby and energy and mood levels are at an all time high." On daily rotation in her home there's homemade raw chocolate tarts, kombucha, rainbow powder smoothies, chia soaked in coconut water or coconut mylks ("they are so full of essential fats, amino acids and also maximize hydration"), green juices, slow cooked meats and bone broths, squash and lots of veggies. "The list goes on," says Feller. "I am so fortunate that I was brought up in a household with strong beliefs of food being medicine and a natural approach to living life. I am so grateful to pass this knowledge onto my child as I believe it is a very valuable way of life for his generation.
Annas little list of loves:
Banjos laugh full stop! It equals instant happiness throughout our household.
A nice, long home cooked lunch in the garden, a little afternoon picnic with friends and family, or date night at Seans Panorama.
Swims at Bronte beach with B and his papa. There is nothing better than watching him experience the sensations of the sea, it is a very healing place to be.
Early morning pots of spicy chai tea and Skype calls with my mum in Canada. She loves to play the piano for her grandson. It's a nice way to wake up.
A couple of hours solo at the beach, a play in the sea and a roll in the sand, followed by a mani/pedi.
The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon Morell.
Whole food cooking, baking and creating.
Aura-Soma and essential oils. I just had the best energy healing and I love my little morning meditations and applying the oils.
The health food store. I will happily forever spend hours a day in any health food store or organic market spending way too much money.
The new bed Dion made for us. It is the most beautiful piece of art I have ever seen.
Photography: Julie Adams Hair: Penny Baldas from Oscar Oscar Salon in Paddington Make-up: Sarina Zoe Words: Georgie Abay
Every room of our house is different, yet it all ties together.
Dion is a mad collector and creator – I will try to refrain from using the word hoarder – and our house is FULL! Sometimes I feel like I am going to cave into it and it’s going to eat me up, and no one will be able to find me. It has got a greenhouse feel to it as well. We have a heap of plants, lots of things to look at, read, eat and drink. It definitely gets the six senses flowing. It usually smells like a mix of lavender oil and sawdust, which perfectly describes the two of us. Something is often slow cooking in the oven, coconuts are cracked open and left on tables. It’s very much a home, not a house. It’s the kind of place you walk into and never want to leave. We love living here the energy is grounding, creative and full of love. It’s a perfect mix of the both of us and a beautiful space for Banjo to grow up.
There’s no secret formula for sleep.
I just tried to set a bedtime and massage time at night and stick to it. Massage really helps Banjo drift into a sweet sleep. The essential oils I use on him are calming and relaxing, aiding in a restful night. I also really do think it helps to let them sleep in the daytime in the bed, more often then being out and about in the pram or the car. I know sometimes you just want to be out or you need to be out doing things, but I try to remember this time doesn’t last forever. We read a lot to him when he was in my tummy, and I know his dad is looking forward to reading him books to sleep in the years to come.
I like Dermalogica facial cleanser and face cream, rosehip oil and Jurlique rose water spray.
Dr. Bronner’s lavender body wash and Epsom salt baths with drops of lavender oil help me to unwind. Also, dry-brushing and slathering my skin with coconut oil fresh out of the shower. I massaged coconut oil into my skin everyday when I was pregnant and didn’t get a single stretch mark. When I’m working, I’ll do hair masks twice a week. My hair used to go through a lot, but it’s loving life now. I have started getting my lashes tinted since having Banjo, I just feel it adds that extra little touch without the mess of make-up. Make-up and babies don’t mix in my opinion, but I do love Nars tinted moisturizer, as well as their bronzing stick, and little paw paw on the brows and the cheek bones for a quick and easy freshen up.
I haven’t really been sleep deprived.
I think it helps to have a calm nature, sleep when your baby sleeps and having a very supportive partner is vital as well. Also take a few weeks before you have too many visitors. You just need one or two people to really help with cooking and getting the washing on while you spend that time with your partner and your baby. You will never get that time back. Don’t worry too much about the housework as it isn’t going anywhere! Also up the super foods in your diet and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
My style is very relaxed.
I don’t know if it’s possible to have become more relaxed since having B, but I probably have. We live in one of the most iconic beach cities in the world and the lifestyle in Sydney is all about relaxing. In summer, I spend a lot of time in swimwear! I like Beth Richards Swimwear, it’s a Vancouver based label. Also camilla & marc swim, Zimmermann and Zulu & Zephyr. Away from the beach, I live in old Ksubi denim, Rag & Bone, Dion’s old T-shirts, Isabel Marant, good vintage button downs for breastfeeding, Jac + Jack, COS, bassike, Acne, HINCKFUSS, T by Alexander Wang and Lonely Hearts lingerie. I have a massive vintage dress collection. My friend Mylee Grace just opened an amazing vintage store in Newport, called Arcade Vintage. I love a good Josh Goot dress for date night. Lately, I have found myself still dressed in tights at 4pm and that’s ok. I’m embracing it – it just means I had a solid eight hrs of exercise and that is really not a bad thing. I think every new mother speaks my language on this one.
My favourite room at the moment is our bedroom.
I divide most of my time in the house between the bedroom and the patio, we try to eat most of our meals outside in summer.
I’ll teach Banjo to be kind, respectful and loving.
Treat others as you would like to be treated, follow your heart wherever it may lead you and don’t forget to floss your teeth.
My birth was long. It went for 36 hours.
I was actually due to be induced the next day, as I was already two weeks overdue. I shared my entire birth story on Shanay Hall’s website Lulus Gypsys … it’s an awesome site with tons of baby information and inspiring birth stories. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Since giving birth to Banjo, everything in life is a positive experience!
My advice to new mum is don't be too hard on yourself.
It’s all about learning, and it’s tiring being a new mum, especially after you’ve just given birth. Your body goes though so much, so try to sleep as much as you can. Get some extra hands in to help for those first few weeks. The more relaxed you are, the more that energy will transfer to your baby and to the others in your household. Also listen to your baby, they will help you to figure it out.
I loved being pregnant.
It was amazing to watch my body change to accommodate the little life growing inside me. It’s totally out of this world how women are made for this. It amazes me daily that he grew inside my tummy and I’m looking forward to cooking our next baby!
I walked a lot throughout my pregnancy and I walk a lot now.
Around Centennial Park, the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk, all around Bellevue Hill. I also love swimming. If you live close to the water, DIVE IN! I also did a lot of prenatal yoga, and now that I’m starting to get into my own routine a bit, I will be back at Pilates four days a week. Pilates Physique in Edgecliff does the best classes. I think it’s important not to be too hard on yourself and your body, take time to get back into shape – you just grew and pushed out a baby – and celebrate when you can fit back into those skintight leathers! Reward yourself! This is what life is all about.
Our day usually starts around 6:30am.
We like to wake up and play in our living room together, listen to some music or we go for a walk. We try to be outside as much as possible. Sometimes on rainy days, we jump into the bath together. Banjo is very particular and has never wanted to have his first milk in the morning until he goes down for his first nap, I have tried everything to get him to eat when he wakes up, but he is just never hungry. Now that I have just started to introduce solids, our morning should take a little shift. Then he naps for about two hours and I get housework done, make a juice, do some work on the computer, try to cram as much as possible in this extremely short window. Then he’s up and we are out and about doing things until his next nap. We go swimming every afternoon when it’s sunny, or meet up with a friend and then home for bath time, a nice little massage, some milk, a little play, then off to bed for B. I’ve been really enjoying having a nice glass of Pinot and spending time with Dion for a couple of hours each evening. We laugh, get some work done, have a bite to eat, talk about our days. It’s nice, our home is so comfortable and I look forward to this special time of the day with him.
Life is a blessing and being a mum is truly a gift I will never take for granted.
While I have only been a mother for a short time, I can wholeheartedly say that motherhood has taught me to enjoy my life more, be patient, stop complaining about things that don’t really matter, listen to others and what they are really trying to say, love unconditionally, and be the best woman I can be to my boys every minute of every day. That being said, our children are always and forever our greatest teachers!
Banjo is still only four months old so he is with me almost 24/7.
All of my family is in Canada and of all Dion’s family is in Melbourne, so we don’t have a lot of help here in Sydney. Dion takes him anytime he can, so I can get out for a couple of hours a week solo, which is important. It definitely makes me want to run, skip and jump home because I’ve missed the boys so much. It’s good to get out.
My career changed when I decided to move to Australia and stop travelling full time.
Now having a newborn, there isn’t much time to run around to castings, spend long hours in the studio or shoot on location for days at a time. Maybe when Banjo is a few months older, I will start to think about getting back to work, but things change and the work becomes more selective. Also, I am not a spring chicken anymore and that’s the truth. I love my Australian agency Priscillas and I do look forward to being in the best possible shape and making a little comeback, but for now I am very ready for the shift, to pull back from modelling and focus on grown up life – real life! I had many years in the modeling world and it was fun and I made good money and enjoyed myself. I lived all over the world and I feel very fortunate I was able to experience it, but it was a gypsy lifestyle and unless you thrive on it, it gets very boring and very lonely. It feels exceptionally good to be in one place and know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I am enjoying it very much.
Banjo has been a dream sleeper, but we had him on the Save Our Sleep routine (by Tizzy Hall) since birth.
We didn’t do the cry it out or really get too intense or harsh on the self-settling, we just did what felt right to us. We followed the feeding and sleep times and also watched him and what he responded well too. If he hadn’t responded well to the routines, we would have taken him off straight away, so trust your own instincts. He has gone to bed every night at 7pm since he was born. He’s funny though, he refuses his 7am feed and has since birth, so I just go with his flow and feed every 3-4 hours now. He wakes once or twice during the night to feed and then he goes straight back down. I will probably start night weaning soon if he doesn’t himself, now that he’s on solids. We also co-slept until two weeks ago when we moved him into his own cot, which is still in our room. I think this is really beneficial and is important for baby and mum to be close in these first months. We had a Tetra Snuggle Bed and loved it. It was also really nice for papa and baby to have that closeness. Banjo held Dion’s hand to sleep every night for the first three months.
Banjo was one of the only names Dion and I agreed on.
We were kind of convinced we were having a girl, so we thought we were covered. We had liked Banjo a lot, but we hadn’t really thought we would be using it. It’s very Australian, Banjo Paterson! Although I am Canadian, Banjo is an Aussie for sure. His middle name, Love, came from all the places in our lives, past and present! Once born, we knew he was Little B Love.
Starting our business – Dion Antony Design – together is one of our many dreams unfolding to reality.
The pieces are designed with the intention to be the heart and soul of any room and or a functioning piece of art. My role in the company is mainly marketing and administration, but I also work with Dion on all aspects including sourcing materials from near and far, some with a history and most with a story. Dion focuses purely on the design and the build. He is so talented, it blows my mind daily. There is nothing more rewarding then working with your partner, sure it has its ups and downs and can be challenging, but at the end of the day the goal is the same. To provide and create a legacy for our family. Working with Dion will allow me to be with our child, work from home, and create an environment together within our household that we have both strived for since we met.
The majority of our personal pieces and possessions are collectibles.
They are from all over the world: markets, street stalls, people’s homes, second hand shops. They all have a story to tell. We also like to find stuff on eBay. We don’t actually buy a lot of our interior brand new, the majority of the furniture is home made and designed in house – literally inside the house! When we do spend money on interiors, it is usually on 1000 Thread Count Sheets.
Our newest project is Dion Antony Design, a collection of interior and exterior furniture and homewares.
The first range drops in January 2015 with a solo exhibition, along with an online store and a unique marketing strategy. The pieces are luxury pieces which they are handcrafted so no two pieces are alike. I think Dion’s unique style encapsulates what it’s like for him to live in the city with a gypsy’s wandering heart.
I’d describe Banjo’s nursery as Rudolf Steiner-esque, baby boho, gallery like.
We like non toxic wooden toys, things made of natural fibers and bright colours and prints! His room is filled with artwork from heaps of our friends, all with little messages to Banjo written on the back of them. He loves looking at all of them and we spend quite a bit of time just hanging in his room looking at the pictures. When he grows up and moves out, he will have a good start on decorating his own place! The room is light and filled with colour. We had a lot of fun designing it for him. When I was a week overdue, my mum was visiting and we decided to paint grass along the bottom of the walls. I will never forget being really pregnant and creeping along the floor trying to get that grass finished, so awkward! We had a lot of laughs. I think it may have been the first painting project I did with mum, she was envious of how amazing my grass was in comparison to hers!
For children’s clothes, I love Bobo Choses, Seed and Mini Rodini.
They all do great prints and fun boys stuff. We are fortunate to have Kido Store in Sydney. I like to mix and match with basics from Nature Baby, Bonds (you cant beat a Wondersuit), Uniqlo, H&M, and Country Road. Hand me downs are also essential in Banjo’s wardrobe. Our children grow so quickly and I think recycled clothing is the way to go. I also shop on eBay as well for vintage. My little sister hand makes good little leather moccasins for Banjo. He is a well equipped four month old!
This is new bed Dion made for us.
It is the most beautiful piece of art I have ever seen. It’s made using coastal tea tree branches that he brought back to Sydney from Sorrento in Victoria. All the bark was hand sanded off to expose the natural state of the wood. This bed has been life changing, and makes me love my man all over again every time I lay my head down to sleep.
All these pieces are so sentimental and precious for various reasons.
I hand sewed this moon toy for Banjo out of plant based dyed felt from Canada. The black moccasins were handmade by one of my mom’s friends for me when I was born. They are all hand beaded. The beige leather moccasins were handmade by my little sister for Banjo. They are amazing and fully fur lined. The hairbrush is a gorgeous brush made of real ebony. It was mine as a baby and I’ve passed it onto banjo. The vintage silver Tiffany & Co rattle was a beautiful gift from two of my oldest friends in Canada. The world soft toy is from Kido Store, it’s one of B’s favourites. The world is his oyster. The necklace or blessing way beads is very special. The beads are from all the women in my life near and far. They were gifted to us at my baby shower and Dion and I strung them together before I went into labour. Dion ended up wearing them and channeling all that energy to me. He usually wears them if he is going out without Banjo and I. I will keep these beads and gift them to Banjo one day. They mean a lot to us.
What keeps me sane?
Moments with my girlfriends, Skype calls with my family, getting outside into nature, laughing with Dion, always a road trip and reggae music.