Geneva Vanderzeil is the face, (or hands, if we’re going to get technical), behind the popular and successful blog A Pair & A Spare. Her stylish, creative and inspiring DIY tutorials span fashion, interiors, food and travel, while her latest and biggest project, her six-week-old daughter Frankie, is inspiring a whole new wave of children’s DIY from adorable clothes to gorgeous nursery trinkets...
Splitting her time between Brisbane and Hong Kong, Geneva’s creativity knows no bounds, and it’s no surprise to learn that her blogging prowess has lead to published books (DIY Fashionista), her own sandal line and more exciting projects in the pipeline. We caught up with Geneva just as she was putting the finishing touches on her newly renovated home in Brisbane and quizzed the new mum on everything from birth plans to nursery styling and the ever-elusive work/life juggle… Photography: Bridget Wood | Go to www.apairandasparediy.com
Congratulations on the birth of your daughter Frankie! Can you tell us what the first few weeks as a new mum have been like?
Thank you so much! It has been an absolute whirlwind and I can’t believe she’s six-weeks-old today. Before having Frankie I have to admit I was really worried about how my identity would shift after giving birth, I guess I thought such a big change might lead to a complete freak out or a loss of self-identity. I’ve always been independent and so the thought of having this tiny person to look after was terrifying! But luckily the transition has been easier than I thought it would be, perhaps I imagined it being so bad that anything was going to be better than that? But in many ways, I don’t feel that different at all. It helps to have such an amazing community online – being in touch with other mothers via my Instagram @apairandaspare and website has been such a fantastic resource, and people are genuinely helpful and caring. I’ve really appreciated so much of the advice I’ve been given… Because it really does take a (global) village!
Can you tell us a bit about your birth - did you have a plan, did it go to plan, has recovery been ok?
Let’s just say it did not go to plan. At all. But I guess that’s the first lesson of being a parent, isn’t it? I was really into having a natural birth and did everything under the sun to prepare for that. However, it ended up being a complicated birth because Frankie was a big baby and my labour failed to progress once my waters broke the day before my due date. I ended up being induced and pushing for 3 hours (!). Not ideal but that said when people ask me how it went I tell them it was challenging but not traumatic, which is honestly how I feel. I mean, it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do, and to come out of it without trauma and with a healthy baby is a win in my books. I don’t feel any misgivings or disappointment about it not being the natural-clary sage-visualisation birth I thought it might be, only that it is what it is. I actually feel even stronger knowing that I got through something that was so much harder than I expected! My OB hilariously told me (two minutes after the birth) that for my next baby I should have no trouble doing it more naturally because ‘the second one usually just falls right out of you’. So there’s always that. In terms of the recovery, it was hard! But nothing out of the ordinary, I guess I just didn’t know how sore and exhausted I would feel. We spend so much time reading and planning the birth but in some ways, the two weeks following are just as challenging. Looking back I’m glad I took it really, really easy and didn’t do much other than sleep, feed and watch Netflix, and at the six-week point, I’m feeling pretty good.