If there is one woman who embodies effortless, enviable style when it comes to decorating and entertaining, it has to be Nina Beale...
Founder of the beautiful interiors and homewares store, Bungalow 55, Nina has a covetable lifestyle in the topics where she enjoys following her passion for interiors after a corporate career in banking pre-children.
Singapore has been home to Nina, her husband and daughters India and Poppy for over a decade, and four years ago the family moved to a colonial 'black and white' house where she has created a beautiful, inviting and relaxed family abode.
On creating a home space you love once having children, Nina reflects, "I have always preferred entertaining at home vs going out to a restaurant and once I had children it was a big culture shock because I went from working 12-14 hour days in an office to being home 12 hours a day looking after newborn babies. That's when I really began to understand how important your home environment is for your mental health!"
Like so many of us in this parenthood journey, Nina has also learnt that not everything goes to plan. "When I was pregnant with my first child, I read and highlighted 'The Contented Baby' making footnotes as I went along. My best friend, who had two little ones and had been through school with me thought it was so funny," recalls Nina, "my Type A personality desperately trying to control the unknown." She goes on to say, "children change the way you look at life and make you fearless! They take you out of your comfort zone – I mean who would think I would be dancing in an empty lift with my children! I worked out in the first nine months (of motherhood) that I was going to be a better mother if I also pursued my own interests." Here, here.
Nina's relaxed approach to living and entertaining, coupled with her joie de vivre for family life and ready humour is infectious. We loved chatting to the inspiring and relatable mother – learning everything from her top tips for achieving great style at home, her go-to entertaining hacks (we will definitely be freezing glasses ahead of guests arriving in future) to her love of family travel adventures – from Whale Beach to Mykonos and many places in between. But ultimately, that home is where the heart is…
Tell us about your childhood and early love of travel...
I grew up in Woollahra, Sydney NSW. My father used to fly with Qantas and so quite often we missed Christmas day together. So, we would celebrate before he left for a trip and then my mum and I would spend Christmas day on Bondi beach. In those days people used to surf in Santa hats and it would be full of young tourists celebrating as orphans at Christmas.
I have had a few stints overseas. When I was six years old my Dad was based in London for a year with Qantas. Next, I lived overseas in Tokyo after graduating from University to practice my Japanese language skills. In 2002 I moved to London with my work with Foreign Exchange sales servicing Hedge funds, central banks and global pension funds. In 2007 I moved back to Sydney for 18 months with my husband's job and then in 2009 Singapore became my home!
What was your career before you started Bungalow 55?
I did work experience at Citibank at 16 yrs and then that was it. I remember walking into the football-size trading floor and felt the energy and adrenalin and I was hooked. I left school and had a gap year travelling in Europe & South Africa with my friends and then completed a Bachelor of Economics at the University of Sydney.
We love Bungalow 55! Tell us all about what you offer.
Bungalow 55 evolved partly from frustration on not being able to buy my style of interior products and also from my passion for all things related to interiors. I have always preferred entertaining at home vs going out to a restaurant and once I had children it is a big culture shock because I went from working 12-14 hour days in an office to being home 12 hours a day looking after newborn babies. That's when I really began to understand how important your home environment is for your mental health!
As a result, the products we offer in-store are comfortable, timeless and friendly to busy households without skimping on style. Bungalow 55 offers a home styling service to our clients, which is to help clients work out the correct layout for their home life and then make wise purchases vs impulse buys.
Living in an expat life you are never quite sure how long you will be here – this leads to a constant battle of purchasing cheap fillers or investing in items to take with you. I see so many mistakes being made as people trying to make their property feel like 'home' without stepping back and assessing the space and their lifestyle.
Who or what inspires you on a daily basis?
I confess I LOVE Instagram. It is such a wonderful platform to follow so many inspiring people in design.
How do you make time for self-care?
Self-care is the one area I don't do well in the work-family life balance! I am fanatical about doing some form of exercise most days to clear my mind. I do try to escape to a facial every quarter and turn the phone off for 1.5 hours.
Without family nearby, do you have a support network when managing the juggle?
My friends are very important to me both in an expat world and also at home. I am an only child so my friends have become like sisters, especially school ones.
They have always provided me with encouragement, support in daily life and most importantly laughter over a bottle of wine, which helps solve any challenge!
What’s the hardest part of parenting?
The hardest part of parenting for me is being patient! Especially when it comes to homework. When I was pregnant with my first child, I read and highlighted "The Contented Baby" making footnotes as I went along. My best friend, who had two little ones and had been through school with me thought it was so funny. My Type A personality desperately trying to control the unknown. I still love Gina Ford and consider the book as my "Bible of parenting" but god knows the rule book often doesn't apply to a screaming newborn. I have accepted and embrace that now.
What’s the best part of parenting?
The best part of parenting is the unconditional love and laughing together with our in-house family jokes.
What has motherhood taught you?
Motherhood has taught me to be understanding and laugh when things get out of control. Enjoy the noise even if it feels it is at a crescendo level at times.
Tell us about your spectacular home…
My family have been in Singapore for 10 years. We moved into our current place which is a beautiful black & white colonial home four years ago. We didn't have to do any structural changes as it was an incredible white canvas with detailed windows. These homes are presented as a skeleton so our largest spend was installing lighting, air-con, fans, wardrobes and kitchen oven. We brought all our furniture and rugs with us so we just made it adapt to the new space. In saying that I have changed the layout twice since we have been here and am about to overhaul the space again using the same pieces. Amazing what a difference it makes.
Nina’s top tips to achieve a great style at home
- Hang pendant lights.
- Art – doesn't have to be expensive – could even be a vintage poster. Empty walls will never make a space feel like home.
- Use Mirror to add light.
- Fill the space with flowers – faux or real.
What are your go-to entertaining hacks?
When I entertain I always make sure I have great music playing and good ambient lighting. It helps create an atmosphere and people relax!
- House is always filled with flowers.
- Glasses are put in the freezer so are chilled for the guests arrival. This is thoughtful and always makes guests feel special. A tradition my parents taught me and still practice.
- The dining table is set with coloured and patterned cotton napkins finished off with beautiful napkin rings – I have a napkin ring fetish! Such a great way to make a statement.
- Food – always have a variety of dishes – I serve meat or fish plus 4-5 sides.
Advice for mothers wanting to change career and launch their own business?
Changing your career when you have children is daunting especially if you have been in your career from your early twenties. Children change the way you look at life and make you fearless! They take you out of your comfort zone – I mean who would think I would be dancing in an empty lift with my children! I worked out in the first nine months that I was going to be a better mother if I also pursued my own interests. Starting your own business means putting yourself out to public scrutiny which I found very difficult and still do – however people and especially other mothers are just so supportive as they understand how much life changes going from a corporate job to staying at home. If you fail? Well, at least you tried – its not a playground where people are going to laugh at you for falling over. The benefit of running your own business is that you can manage it around your family requirements so I have always felt like I have been present for the children and most importantly my husband whilst still being able to follow my passion.
What are your favourite travel destinations?
I am more adventurous than the rest of the family so I like travelling to different places. We tend to go on one big family trip in the summer break and we go to Mykonos every year. My husband's strategy is it works, why change it! Hard to argue as anytime we have deviated from the plan it hasn't been successful. We enjoy Greece for its clean, simple food, beautiful beaches, water and most importantly fun! We love going to Queenstown, New Zealand for its outdoor activities, wine and skiing. Our happy place is Whale Beach, Sydney NSW. It has a strong surfy vibe, incredible natural beauty and a wonderful local community. For work, I tend to go to the trade fairs in NY, Paris and Sydney.
Favourite thing to do with your children?
Favourite thing to do is an afternoon by the pool and have a bbq dinner as a family. David's work involves incessant travel, children are always busy with sport and friends so when we get together, usually on a Sunday afternoon, we really look forward to it.
What would you recommend as must-dos for families visiting Singapore?
Must-dos for family visiting in Singapore really depends on the ages of the children. My friends now have teenage girls so its all about B2 at Ion and they enjoy going to the Tanjong Beach Club. I like to take guests down to Keppel Bay Marina for lunch and a walk afterwards to Labrador Park. Great to see the architecture mixed with old Black and white houses along the shorefront. Oh and a trip to Lukes at Robinsons and Jypsy at Robertson Quay. If there is the time the bumboat from Clarke Quay to Marina Bay Sands is always a great way to fit some sightseeing in with a drink at Spago's, Marina Bay Sands afterwards.
Day–to–day Singapore haunts?
Plain Vanilla Bakery, Fishwives, Culina. I do 'Pilates with Cheryl' twice a week and play tennis at the Winchester tennis arena, Alexandra Park. Love having a kids dinner at the Polo Club.
What Nina is loving…
Becoming by Michelle Obama..
Serena Crawford on Instagram.
Perennial fabric – Jake Stripe in Chocolate Kiss.
The Ordinary skincare range – Retinol, Caffeine solution & Hyaluronic Acid.
Priya Sen Vitamin C complex.
Yellow Fin Tuna on the bbq with black sesame seeds, ribbon cucumber, soba noodles and edamame beans with loads of fresh lime.
Superga – just discovered they opened in Vivo City and bought 4 pairs!
Golden Goose – Italian sneaker range.
Sexy Fish restaurant in London.
It's no secret we adore Ashley Graham, and just when we couldn't love her more, she has posed nude in Elle US's August issue, alongside her son Isaac, 6 months, and husband Justin Ervin, photographed by Ervin himself.
Ashley Graham with her son Isaac
Ashley Graham stars alongside son Isaac, 6 months, and husband Justin Ervin in Elle's August issue, with photos by Ervin
By the time you finish this story on Auguste founder Ebony Eagle, you'll want to move to Byron Bay, own a couple of horses and dress exclusively in Auguste. At least, I did. She's the type of woman who spreads positive energy and this energy trickles down to the clothes she designs. Ebony has created a fashion brand for women and children that's driven by sustainability and giving back.
Take us back to your childhood. What was it like and what are some of your most vivid memories?<p>There are so many magical memories, particularly of summers spent at our beach house in Rosebud, Victoria – days that seemed to go on forever in a world that felt so big spent with my brothers and sisters, aunties, grandparents. Lots of sand, sun and banana paddle pops on the beach. We still own this beach house and boat shed and I now take my children there to do the exact same thing. It's so unbelievably nostalgic for all of us. It's the most at ease any of us ever feel. My childhood also wasn't without adversity, but children are incredibly resilient and you learn to deal with the situation you are in as best you can. These things shape who you are. I'm from a big family of four children and we moved around a fair bit so, affectionately, home was always where the chaos was! </p>
What was your career path like prior to starting Auguste?<p>I've worked since the day I turned 13, starting with an after school job at the fruit shop, into weekend jobs at cafes and then when I finished school at 17 I was a nanny for a travelling family and spent two years hopping all over Europe… This was where the fire in my belly grew for travelling and I believe it's where my perspective on more of an entrepreneurial career took shape. When I landed back in Australia at 19 I waitressed for a few years until I got poached for a styling/production job at a studio in Richmond. This is where I learned all about shoot productions, etc, and it was whilst working here that I decided to take the leap and start my own fashion brand at 22. I managed to secure a small loan to start my business while I was working full-time and then resigned to waitress again by night and work on my label by day. I had that brand 'ebonyeve' for ten years before I started Auguste five years ago.<br></p>
Was it always a dream to have your own label, or did that come about organically?<p>Well, my Grandma taught me to sew when I was eight-years-old and I continued sewing my whole life. I've always been a massive vintage and op shop trawler and I'm creative, so the whole design part came quite naturally. The business part I learned on the job!</p>
Did you have your girls prior to starting Auguste, and if so, what was that transition like?<p>I had Coco when I was 28 and then Frankie when I'd just turned 30 so at that time, I was still running my previous label 'ebonyeve', so yes I had a business. I never stop working and throughout pregnancy and when the girls were young this didn't change… I was living in Bali at the time that the girls were young though so I just worked wearing a few less items of clothing! Work-life balance will be my lesson in this life – it's something I'm still trying to master.</p>
What's been the biggest challenge of motherhood? And the biggest blessing?<p>The thing I find most challenging is the work-life balance juggle and the fact that I have missed out on so many precious moments due to my work commitments. The biggest blessing is all of it! The whole apple, even the seeds. </p>
You've lived in Melbourne, Byron, Bali and Sydney. Do you feel that you're settled now that you've moved back to Byron, or do you crave change? What were some of the challenges and joys of living overseas?<p>Yes, I've moved around a lot in my life. Auguste HQ has always been based in Byron so moving home to here made sense for us and we always wanted to bring our children up here. I'm very settled now. I've travelled enough for ten lives! Honestly, we didn't find living overseas challenging, we adore different cultures and the perspective that they give you. We are so grateful that our girls started their life like that. All four of us loved living abroad right up until the very end but you just know in your core when it's time to come home.</p>
Is there something about Byron that called you back? Has moving to Byron influenced your designs or your process?<p>Auguste HQ has always been based in Byron so coming back here was the natural decision. Growing up here as a teen I was super eager to get out and experience the world but after I had my children, I definitely felt a strong pull to bring them up here, but more so to the hinterland where we now call home. I just love being in nature, surrounded by my children and as many animals as I can fit in! My designs have always naturally thrown together bohemian and vintage inspiration so I suppose, yes, growing up here could have been the beginning of that attraction.</p>
What are your time management tips?<p>Oh god, finish emails in your evening bath? Between the kids, the horses, the business and my embarrassing attempt of a social life, there is very little time to stop and try to time manage anything, so I pretty much fail constantly, no tips here!<br></p>
How would you describe the Auguste aesthetic?<p>Classic, bohemian, feminine, timeless.</p>
Who is your ultimate Auguste muse?<p>That's a tricky one. Stylistically, the ever-influential Jane Birkin has always been a huge creative inspiration and a measuring stick for my designs. Would Jane wear it? Yes? Good, let's do it. Her sense of fashion was just so easy going and feminine, it's everything we make Auguste to be. I've also always felt inspired by Brigitte Bardot and her femininity, she just made it so approachable. My main inspiration though is Jane Gooddall. Her connection to nature, work with animals and bravery in her field, particularly as a young woman, have given me so much courage to create, stay true to myself and use my platform to give back to the planet. </p>
Auguste is such an ethical label, from your fabrics and factories to your ongoing charitable initiatives. Is that something that has always been important to you?<p>Absolutely, I always wanted to get to a point in business where I was able to give back. To have a platform and a voice is a gift and one that I believe should be used wisely and for greater good.</p>
Do you think the fashion industry is becoming more conscious?<p>Absolutely and largely that's being driven by consumer demand, which is just awesome. It won't all happen at once, but the fact that more and more consumers are seeking out eco-friendly fashion alternatives means that more brands will follow suit. They're starting to realise that if you're not thinking about your impact on the planet, you're not being competitive, or responsible really, and that's the only real future for fashion. </p>
You regularly design collections in aid of a charitable cause. Tell us about your latest 'Hero' campaign...<p>As a mum and as a member of the global community, I wanted to unite people in recognising the dangers of bullying and how important it is to use your position to stand up for others. We designed a range of Hero slogan tees as a call to action and donated 100% of the sales to the National Centre Against Bullying and the Cybersmile Foundation to continue their work preventing abuse and giving support to sufferers. I'm incredibly proud that our message of solidarity was shared by thousands around the world and we raised more than $85,000 for our partner charities. </p>
Why is charity work so important to you?<p>It's just part of who I am and what I've always believed in, but when I had children it became a larger priority in my life. If we're not working to leave the planet a better place for our little ones, then what are we doing? How can you see what's happening in the world and not respond? I've worked hard and now I'm fortunate enough to have this platform, so I use it. To me that's just good sense, simple as that! </p>
Little August is your childrenswear line. Tell us about the inspiration behind it?<p>My daughters were my inspiration here. I created little Auguste when my girls were little and loved spinning around in full skirts, it was made for princesses – and even though those two princesses now will only wear ripped denim shorts and Auguste tees I'm so happy that there are so many other little angels out there still spinning in our creations.</p>
What's your parenting philosophy?<p>Shower them with so much love and kindness that they don't realise you often forget to do story time. Also I believe in teaching my girls independence – if they are able to do it themselves then they do. Also have fun with them and keep phones down.</p>
One of your most popular charity campaigns was your 'future woman' tee range. What sort of example do you want to set for your daughters?<p>The 'future women' tees were part of our charity campaign raising money for UN Women and promoting female empowerment, and as a mother of two daughters this meant so much to me. A big lesson I hope my daughters learn from me is to not be passive. Make opportunities, don't wait for them. Offer to help, don't wait for someone else to. Use what's at your fingertips, and then reach for more. </p>
How has COVID-19 changed the way you think about your business?<p>Covid brought a lot of perspective for me. It showed us all that everything can literally stop overnight, so for me it was a reminder to make sure that what I was doing was right for me personally and was to the standard that I wanted. We are doing a lot of work on our ethics and sustainability and really our whole brand identity. It's a time to contract and refocus on not necessarily being big but being great… and I am LOVING that.</p>
What changes will you be making?<p>We made the decision around the beginning of Covid to exit from wholesale entirely and focus on our own vertical channels, making Auguste exclusive to our online store <a href="http://augustethelabel.com/" target="_blank">augustethelabel.com</a> and our Brisbane and Byron Bay boutiques. The exit was a huge decision for me, however I know it was the right one. Being a purely vertical business means we can retract and refocus. There were many factors in this decision however the most important was the ability to continue on our journey to being a more ethical and sustainable business, because that is what it is, a journey – it is not about any one decision, it's every decision you make. Being a vertical business means we have the flexibility to make the decisions we feel are right.</p>
The story we are told of motherhood is one of lightness that leans into the beautiful, the incredible and the magical. However, for all the lightness there is shade, and in the shadows lies a rollercoaster which pushes you to your limits and at times breaks you. Both sides are important for open, real dialogue around motherhood. As a health professional I entered motherhood confident. I had all the resources at my fingers tips as a women's health physiotherapist. Despite this, my journey was far from smooth. Even though I was well informed, it didn't make me immune to the real emotional and physical challenges of motherhood that are still so rarely discussed.
My Motherhood Journey<p>When I first fell pregnant, I was blissfully happy. I felt I had realistic expectations of what motherhood was going to be like. I was also very aware of the high rates of mental health conditions that come up during the perinatal period and knew what to look out for. I was primed and ready to be the earth mumma I was destined to be.<br></p><p>Then my pregnancy had a slight curve ball, I had placenta previa which meant many unsettling vaginal bleeds, no exercise, and the very real threat of complete bed rest. Thankfully, my placenta lifted around 35 weeks, and I was able to have a vaginal delivery. I was induced, the birth was fast and intense, and I needed a ventouse and an episiotomy. Despite this, I felt very positive about my birth mainly because I was informed, supported and respected through the journey. We had a healthy little girl, and I was in absolute awe. Pure. Magic.</p><p>And then the post-natal period began. I had feeding issues, my baby wasn't gaining weight, she had blood in her stool, and chronic vomiting. Paediatricians prescribed various medications and prescription formula, but the constant crying from my bub and the sleep deprivation for all of us continued. For many years. </p><p>Bit by bit my confidence began to crumble. I was anxious that she wasn't getting enough nourishment, I felt guilt that this was all my fault and I started to doubt myself and believe I was a bad mother. This was not the motherhood I had pictured. But as all 'good' mothers do, I put on a brave face and pushed on. I continued to run my business, treated patients, and carried on with life. Under the surface, I was utterly depleted and hanging on by a thread. </p><p>And then we fell pregnant with our second baby. During this pregnancy my level of exhaustion hit a new low. I was still getting up through the night, working and studying, and I became highly anxious about how I was going to care for another baby.</p>
Just over a week ago, I stumbled across a piece on childfree women in The Guardian, after a couple of women I follow on Twitter were sharing it, outraged by its contents. The piece, part of a 'Childfree' series, was essentially a conversation between Guardian editors Summer Sewell and Jessica Reed, who, having read Sheila Heti's Motherhood, discussed their own personal reasons for not having children over drinks.
The Grace Tales is a global lifestyle platform for mothers searching for style, substance, and solidarity. Driven by creating content, community and connection, we celebrate the paradox of modern motherhood; the struggle and the beauty, the joy and the relentlessness.
Sophie Harris-Taylor captures something we often try so hard to hide: our vulnerability. As mothers, we're supposed to be strong and powerful, yet what is often overlooked is that our transition into becoming a mother is the most vulnerable period of our lives...
"I think we're often afraid to show our vulnerabilities," agrees London-based Harris-Taylor. "Perhaps we think by showing this side people are going to judge and only see weakness. Where actually I think there's something incredibly powerful and strong about being openly vulnerable. I'm in awe of the people I photograph, its often about striking the balance between confidence and vulnerability. I've found my work to be a very therapeutic experience, it took me a while to open up myself, but by doing this it has allowed my subjects to open up and engage in an honest conversation."
You’ve said: “I think most importantly that looks don’t define who you are, and in the end don’t really matter.” Why do some of us take so long to come to this realisation? And tell me your thoughts on beauty and how it led you to create Epidermis?<p>I think when we're younger we get so caught up on our looks, perhaps before we know where we're headed in life, it can seem like the be-all and end-all. And sometimes it comes from a place where you just want to fit in. And perhaps it just comes from life experience that you start to realise other things matter more.<br> <br>It sounds cliché but beauty is of course so subjective yet in the mainstream media we are often not exposed to this kind of diversity. Epidermis for me was a way of showcasing beautiful women in skins less often seen. Most of my personal projects seem to come from my own life experiences and throughout there is always some element of my own vulnerability – I began to reflect on my own past and feelings towards my skin, I'd suffered from severe acne. Back then, there were no idols, role models and people to look up to who had anything but flawless skin. Which obviously meant I struggled with my own self-image. We've come a long way since then, what with body positivity and generally people speaking out about beauty standards and promoting diversity. However, I still felt that there was a lack in representing skin in an honest and open way. </p>
Your work captures a character’s vulnerabilities – why do you think we sometimes hide our vulnerabilities and what have you learnt about being vulnerable through your work?<p>I think we're often afraid to show our vulnerabilities. Perhaps we think by showing this side people are going to judge and only see weakness. Where actually I think there's something incredibly powerful and strong about being openly vulnerable. I'm in awe of the people I photograph, its often about striking the balance between confidence and vulnerability. I've found my work to be a very therapeutic experience, it took me a while to open up myself, but by doing this it has allowed my subjects to open up and engage in an honest conversation.</p>
For your series Sisters, you photographed and interviewed over 70 sets of sisters, of all ages and backgrounds – and have said that it was a way of reflecting on the difficulties of her own relationship with her sister. Can you describe this relationship?<p>At the time I created the work, there wasn't much of a relationship there if I'm honest, we'd not really been able to see past our teenage years and sisterly disputes. Since then we've started to rebuild our relationship as adults. I think I tried to understand a bit more about the complexities of sisterhood and the journeys of this kind of lifelong relationship.</p>
You’ve described mastitis as more painful than childbirth – tell us about your experience with breastfeeding?<p>Yes looking back I really did! It was very much a love/hate relationship. In some ways I was lucky, my son latched on quickly in the hospital and fed well. But getting mastitis early on meant it became very difficult and painful to feed him at times. I seemed to always be overproducing which led to the ducts becoming completely blocked and then getting infected. The pain combined with sleep deprivation was pretty exhausting. My son used the breast as a comfort a lot so for months I felt like he was completely attached to me, but never that full. I started mixed feeding after about 4 or 5 months.. this helped him sleep through the night. Once he started weening there wasn't much milk left and in one breast my supply had pretty much dried up all together. As soon as I stopped, I missed it.</p>
How would you describe the intimacy or closeness of breastfeeding and how did it make you feel?<p>It's pretty magical. I loved the intimacy, the comfort it gave him which in turn it gave me.</p>
There’s sometimes a longing for personal space, as mothers feel they have a baby constantly attached to them. Did you ever feel this?<p>Absolutely I felt constantly clinged too. Being pulled and tugged whilst covered in milk really did make me long for personal space. Then again, I felt this huge guilt, because I'd met so many mums that couldn't for various reasons breastfeed and there I was complaining about it.</p>
You’ve always had a complicated relationship with your body. Can you tell me about this relationship – and how did breastfeeding change the way you felt about your body?<p>Having had an eating disorder since my early teens, it's been an ongoing battle really. I don't know if breastfeeding really changed the way I felt towards by body but certainly postpartum I was desperate to get back to my old body. And having never had large breasts before, this made me feel pretty uncomfortable, physically and mentally, and it was weirdly unfamiliar.</p>
You felt lost after you gave birth – can you take us back to this period of your life and how you felt?<p>I did, I think because you've got this new identity suddenly as a 'new mum' and your life as what you knew it has completely changed overnight. But you know deep down, you're still you and your identity hasn't really changed at all. Don't get me wrong, I actually loved becoming a mum, but I found the day to day, the monotony of it all at the very beginning pretty boring. My friends were working, and I felt in some ways a bit bored and not that stimulated. When I started to make work again felt like I got a bit more of myself back.</p>
What were some of the most vivid memories you have of shooting MILK?<p>Zenon my son, was there for most of my shoots. This was in some ways really fun and a real bonding experiences between me and the Mum. But looking back a complete nightmare. Logistically. At the beginning when I started shooting, he couldn't even sit up by himself so he'd often be just out of shot, lying on the bed next to the other Mum feeding. Then towards the end, he was running all over the place, pretty much destroying the house..</p>
What messages do you hope women will take away from MILK?<p>It'd be nice for other women, to feel they can relate to the images and experiences of the other mums a bit more, than the typical nursing Madonna-like images we are used to seeing. For a lot of people and not just men, they find it kind of gross. Even though we've all seen a cow being milked, I guess women's breasts have become so sexualised, that actually what they are originally for has almost been forgotten. I think the more we talk about these things and make them more publicly seen, the less taboo they become. At least, that's the hope.</p>
"I know that abandoned is a word that has been used in telling that story, but I actually don't want to use that word anymore," Zoe Hendrix tells me, when we go back to the beginning of her life, when she was born amidst the Eritrea-Ethiopia border war...
When she was five years old, she went to live at an Ethiopian orphanage with her twin brother. In her own words, "It sounds like you abandon an old tire on the road or something, and to me, it's more that she surrendered us because she was very unwell. I only learned this recently as well, so that's why I want to correct the wording I have used previously." Hendrix and her brother were later adopted by a Tasmanian couple and moved to Australia. Fast forward to 2015, and the country watched Zoe marry Alex Garner on the very first season of Married at First Sight. The couple went onto have a beautiful daughter Harper-Rose, but have since separated.