the tale of canna campbell and rocco foy


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Photography: Julie Adams Make-up: Regina Gao Hair: Matt Jones for Oscar Oscar Salons in Paddington Words: Georgie Abay

Given rest is how our body renews, Sydney-based financial planner and owner of SASS Financial Canna Campbell looks remarkably fresh for someone who hasn’t had much sleep over the past few months. “I would love to say that my 11-month-old son Rocco has always shared my love affair for sleep, however when he hit five months, we found it challenging to get him to sleep through, even though he was doing it initially,” she says. She did what all mothers should do when the sleep deprivation gets too much, she booked a five night stay at Tresilian, Australia’s largest child and family health organisation. “I resisted doing this for so long as I was told that the nurses have a very matronly approach, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. They were absolutely amazing and took such a gentle and caring approach with both me and Rocco.” She was taught how to read her son’s signals, tweaked his routine, but most importantly, as she puts it, “they installed a new found confidence in my skills as a mother.”

The stylish Campbell lives in a beautifully renovated Paddington terrace house with her husband Mark and their two dogs, Giuseppe and Sophia. She launched SASS Financial nine years ago. “I work around Rocco and the nanny, even if it means popping into the office on a Sunday to review a report or getting up at 5am to call my international clients.” When she’s with her son, she makes it count. “I really make a conscious effort to make it quality time.” In other words: no phone, no Facebook, no TV and no chores. “It’s just him and me inventing games and songs together and making each other laugh.”

Campbell gets a lot of people asking her for financial advice after the birth of their child. “They suddenly feel the overwhelming responsibility that comes with having a baby. Their questions and concerns can vary from saving for their child’s education, managing budgets, paying off the mortgage, to ensuring a comfortable retirement or even life insurance,” she says. After she became a mother, she opened up an investment portfolio for her son and started buying him some Australian shares. “I have comfort knowing that I am taking the right steps now that will help make those things happen,” she says.

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As for what keeps her sane, Campbell says: “We have a great morning ritual where we walk the dogs as a family and then get coffees at French Press café as well as super yummy but healthy fresh hot muffins. My husband knows how sacred this part of the day is and helps make it happen, even when we have both been up during the night with Rocco.”

Canna’s little list of loves:
Almond milk cappuccinos from French Press café.
A clean and tidy house.
TED talks – there are some great ones on conscious parenting.
A workout at Virgin Active followed by a spa.
Story time with Rocco cuddled up on the sofa with the dogs.
My green breakfast smoothie.
Walks in the park with the dogs.
Time out with my girlfriends and a bottle of champagne (or more).
My iPad.
Hugs from my husband.

March 2014

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I enjoy getting dressed for work a lot more than I used to...

I think that is because I know that I am not going to have food and vomit splattered across me for eight hours straight. I get excited about putting on a silk blouse and pencil skirt knowing that I won’t have the hassle of another trip to the dry cleaners. As soon as I am home, I jump into some casual shorts or pants and a basic T-shirt where everything can be thrown into the wash and it doesn’t matter. I love the Peter Alexander ones, they are so soft and reasonably priced.


I exercised all the way through my pregnancy at Virgin Gym and have continued (albeit reduced) afterwards...

It is funny, during my pregnancy I was worried about ‘getting back in shape’, yet once Rocco was born, it was the furthest thing from my mind. My attitude and respect of exercising has matured and my motivation to hit the gym is more about getting the mental clarity and energy buzz that a good sweat gives you. Plus, I find that a good workout tends to improve my food decisions for the rest of the day. I love Power Plate classes at the gym as well as taking my labrador for an early morning run down at Rushcutter’s Bay park.


My husband and I both are business owners...

We have two dogs who need to be walked twice a day, plus we are quite active in charity work that we each do separately, so we have quite a lot going on in our little house.


Rocco is allergic to dairy and soy...

That meant I had to give up all foods containing these ingredients if I wanted to breast feed him. A lot of people thought I was crazy and it was too much of a sacrifice, as my diet had to almost become vegan-ish, but breastfeeding was important to me and was worth forgoing the creamy pastas, cakes and chocolates. I have decided to remain dairy free after breastfeeding after seeing the benefits in my own health in quitting dairy and learning about the humanitarian and ethical issues.


Tresilian re-educated me and taught me how to read Rocco’s signals...

They tweaked his routine, and installed a new found confidence in my skills as a mother, which has really strengthened my bond with him, plus he has really flourished since being there and seems even more chirpier.


During the week, Mark and I work from a routine...

Two days per week Mark comes home early and takes Rocco for a walk with the dogs. It gives me the space to either finish off work or duck out for a facial, massage or even the gym. I am very protective of this time as it really recharges my batteries, which is so important to me. We make our weekends count, starting by having friends over to our house most Friday nights for a drink or to share a take away meal. Then the rest of the weekend is packed going to breakfasts or lunches with friends, family time at the beach or park or even a movie snuggled up on the sofa all together.


I found that little simple things can really help lighten the load...

For example, on a weeknight, I take 20 minutes before I go to bed to prepare for the following day, a quick tidy of the house, lay my outfit out for the day and Rocco’s, and have Rocco’s breakfast and lunch ready in the fridge. Also, I am very particular about going to bed early on a week night so that I can get a few solid hours in. I am a total Grandma. I am in bed by 8:30pm! Also, if I have had a bad night, I try and squeeze in a cheeky siesta in the afternoon.


I have a nanny three days per week...

It is an expensive option but one that I personally value. Plus, I recently gave up cooking dinner during the weeknights, which I found has really helped preserve my energy as I don’t have that ‘what can I make for dinner’ brain freeze each night. I simply buy yummy salads from About Life, Thomas Dux or any of the local cafes in our neighbourhood, which also minimises the clean up needed afterwards.


Be comfortable with accepting help if it is offered...

Being a stubbornly independent person, I really struggled with accepting help and asking for help from friends and family when there were overwhelming days. For me, it felt like I had failed if I had any help. However after a while of rationalising the obvious in my head I realised that was being too hard on myself and my happiness and sanity is paramount to Rocco’s wellbeing on so many levels.


My mind bubbles with so many important lessons and values that I look forward to teaching Rocco...

There are all the obvious ones like good etiquette, shivery, generosity, honesty and responsibility, but then there are other ones like having an open mind, showing empathy and most importantly how to live in the moment and able to laugh at yourself.


I would love to say that Rocco has always shared my love affair for sleep...

However when he hit five months we found it challenging to get him to sleep through, even though he was doing it initially. After wasting a lot of time and money with different products and expert services, Rocco and I did a five-day stay at Tresillian in Canterbury. It was like living in a psychiatric ward of a women’s prison, but I loved it…in fact I wanted to move in permanently.


For me, a happy home is a calm and secure one but one with positive spontaneity and laughter...

We are always having friends randomly drop by and we love that people feel comfortable doing that and that they know they are always welcome.


I try to be back by 4pm from work each day as I am still breastfeeding...

I then head out with Rocco and the dogs for a walk down at Rushcutters Bay. It is such a nice way to wind down from the day and I have met so many wonderful dog lovers down at the park during the lead free times. As soon as we get home, my house is busy, with Rocco’s dinner, dogs dinner, bath time, my dinner (with Rocco sitting in my lap with Mark like a little family) and then bedtime for Rocco and I. We are all pretty exhausted after that!


I worry about aging and sun damage so I wear one of the strongest sun creams that you can buy in Australia...

I also cleanse twice at the end of the day and love to smear on good products before I go to bed. I use a lot of cosmeceuticals products like Aspect and Cosmedix for my face. For the body, both Rocco and I use Almond oil.


Motherhood has taught me how important you are to your child...

It sounds obvious, but I underestimated this. I didn’t realise how empowering this is, yet completely terrifying at the same time. They are the ones that communicate with us the moment they have entered the world, they look to us for comfort, reassurance, love, protection…


Our home is pretty classic and we have gone with a timeless look and feel that works with the era of the house...

For decorating our home, I constantly collect images of beautiful rooms that resonate with me or unique pieces of furniture or art that inspire me. I don’t stop gathering information and images until I feel that I have understood what the room needs. I am really proud of how we have transformed this into a home to make the most of the space, light and design, so I don’t intend to make any more changes. However secretly I would love to paint my office a rich and dark navy blue!


When Rocco unexpectedly came a month early, I hadn’t quite finish working out his room...

I started with an African safari theme and then after he arrived and I saw fractions of his cheeky personality start to emerge, I started making it more ‘Preppy Playboy meets James Bond’ like with a vintage sports car, monogramed cover, Teddy Bear wearing a leather bomber jacket. Ironically he co-slept with us until he was about eight months old so he is only just spending time in his room.


The hardest part of motherhood is the constant questioning of myself...

If I am doing this or that right for Rocco and what is the impact on him. I had to learn (and am still learning) how to tame the voice in my head and remind myself that I am trying my best and that I am human, so I will make mistakes but at the end of the day Rocco knows that I love him unconditionally. Then the best part is seeing Rocco’s eyes light up when he sees me and immediately starts squirming until he is in my arms. He is at a stage where he loves to laugh and everything is funny, it is so precious.


Other than Rocco, I’m most proud of my business, SASS Financial...

I started the Financial Planning business over 8 years ago and I still love what I do. I have built a business helping educate every day Australians get back in control of their finances and set themselves up so that they have peace of mind knowing that their future is financially sound. I have been looking after the same people their families for such a long time and I am really lucky to have such great clients to work with.


At Tresilian I met some amazing mothers, battling simular challenges provided amazing and valuable support...

You would chat with equally ‘zombied out’ mothers holding back the tears, passionately trying to do their best for their beautiful babies, explaining that they had been a human dummy for 10 months and hadn’t had a proper night sleep for months, and couldn’t remember their own names, and I would be like, ‘Really!?! Me too!’…it felt like I had found my long lost twin sisters.


For Rocco, I shop at Ralph Lauren, Seed and Country Road...

I love a preppy look on boys!


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