If anyone is going to inspire you to eat better and exercise more, it’s Jacqueline Alwill. It’s not surprising to hear that the striking brunette was a model and personal trainer before she trained as a nutritionist. Two years ago, Alwill founded The Brown Paper Bag which offers everything from nutrition and cooking workshops to wholefood catering.
Five years ago she gave birth to her son Jet. ”Mother’s Day is a gorgeous reminder of this incredible path we are travelling in life. Being a mum really isnt a role, it’s a journey,” says Alwill. This year for Mother’s Day, at the top of her to-do list is to watch the sunrise. “It is my favourite part of the day,” she says. Next, the Bondi Beach-based mother is planning “a deliciously, nourishing brunch, cuddles with Jet and my mum and maybe if there’s time, I will sneak in a massage. Jet will no doubt end up in my bed for snuggles that night, which I love. There is something so precious about watching your little one sleep,” she says.
When Alwill, 32, became a mother, she had just finished studying nutritional medicine and took six months off work to get acquainted with her tiny new love. It was a moment of major change in her life and even though she put the launch of her own business on hold, later, when the circumstances were right, The Brown Paper Bag was born. Today she doesn’t deny that her work/life balance is a constant juggle, but it certainly helps that she loves what she does. ”Working from home makes things much easier. There are lots of ways to make things work as a career driven mum, it’s just about creating the equation that gives you the right solution,” says Alwill.
Celebrating her fifth Mother’s Day, she reflects: ”Motherhood has made me revaluate what is most important in this life and filter out the rest. The things that used to top the ladder, and were more self-motivated, sit in a different position now.”
SHOP THE LOOK: Jet wears: Seed t-shirt, $24.95. Jacqueline wears: Seed jumper (coming soon) and Seed scarf (coming soon).
SHOP THE LOOK: Jet wears: Seed T-shirt, $24.95.
On her own mother:
My mum is quiet, gentle and nurturing and she never stops giving. She always puts her children and grandchildren before anything else and has an incredible patience. She should have been a kindergarten teacher. Mum is also extraordinarily calm and patient. If I try to follow her footsteps, then I know I am heading in the right direction.
On memories of her mother growing up:
Mum keeps incredibly fit, she would rise (and often still does) before the sun and head out for runs and be back to see us dressed, with breakfast at the kitchen table and off to school before she headed to work herself. I always admired mum for her dedication to this routine and for working when I was so young.
On her own childhood:
We lived in Bilgola on Sydney’s northern beaches until I was about 10 years old and then moved to Japan. From living in Bilgola I have so many memories, but most notably was the afternoon stroll down the hill to the beach after school and then the VERY slow walk back up Plateau Road. We overlooked Pittwater headlands and when it stormed I would sit with my sisters and watch the lightening flash over the water and light up the sky. It was magical. When we moved to Japan, there was a lot to adjust to, however the beautiful Japanese people made it so easy for me as a young child. I recall walking into our local grocers or sushi and soba spots in Hiro and practicing my Japanese to order and make basic conversation. They were so encouraging and welcoming. When you feel like that as a child, it is a pretty incredible sensation.
On her own pregnancy:
Pregnancy wasn’t a whole lot of fun for me. It wasn’t a bad pregnancy by any means, I was healthy and Jet’s labour and birth (albeit long) was uncomplicated. However, pregnancy was one of my biggest learning curves. When I fell pregnant, I was a personal trainer and studying nutritional medicine, and was probably the fittest I’ve ever been. But with pregnancy my body hugged the weight, I felt uncomfortable and couldnt be as active as I was accustomed to. I had to step back and that upset me. While it was frustrating at that time, what it did do was make me learn to love myself a little more and not be so tormented by my image and body. I learnt to go with the flow and accept the ups and downs, because ultimately after a while things will balance out. And indeed they did. I have learn’t more about my body, health and how to help others with their pregnancy by going through this. Pregnancy and motherhood has offered me more knowledge in holistic health than what I could have ever gained from reading a textbook.
SHOP THE LOOK: Jacqueline wears Seed T-shirt, $39.95, Seed blazer (coming soon), Seed jeans, $89.95 and Seed boots (coming soon). Jet wears Seed jeans, $49.95, Seed shirt (coming soon), and Seed shoes (coming soon).
On the greatest thing she has learnt about motherhood:
I guess I am still learning as we go! Be patient, breathe and let your children be the gentle reminder that we all have an inner child. No matter how young or old we are, the child within us needs to play too. Let your children be a part of that, be it through play, art, movement or any other creative expression.
On her tips for a happy home:
Some things can wait. I guess the most overwhelming aspect of motherhood for so many of us (especially when we are new mums) is just how much needs to be juggled and how busy life becomes. It’s easy to get so caught up in managing the family, home, work, life that rarely do you feel you can sit and appreciate the little things. Jet’s pretty good at reminding me of this each evening he is with me, as he jumps onto the lounge just before bed time, calling out ever so sweetly ”Mummy, it’s time to hop into the snuggle town”.
On her current home:
Weve lived in our house in North Bondi for about 18 months. It’s light and fresh. I’m looking forward to buying our own home one day so we can make it just as we wish, but we love where we are for now and it suits our lifestyle well. I love living by the beach and having the opportunity to see the water everyday. I would say we swim everyday, but the winter days can be a touch chilly! Just seeing the ocean however, truly makes me feel grounded.
SHOP THE LOOK: Jacqueline wears: Seed skirt $129.95 and Seed top (coming soon). Jet wears: Seed shirt $39.95, Seed pants, $49.95 and Seed shoes, $59.95.
SHOP THE LOOK: Jacqueline wears: Seed skirt $129.95, Seed top (coming soon) and Seed shoes, $169.95. Jet wears: Seed shirt $39.95, Seed pants, $49.95 and Seed shoes, $59.95.
On how she keeps fit:
I’ll aim to get some form of exercise about six days a week. This is usually after the school-drop off with a run, stairs at Cooper Park, conditioning/high intensity circuits at the gym (Lifecycle Fitness in Bronte) or a spin class. On the days Jet stays at his dad’s house, I’ll get up before sunrise to go for a run in the soft sand, have a dip in the ocean, watch the sunrise and meditate. This is my perfect start to the day.
On her favourite go-to meals:
I love food and good health so they go hand in hand for us. The go-tos are: Grilled salmon or trout with edamame, peas, broccoli and buckwheat noodles; quinoa meatballs with spelt or mung bean pasta; and roast lamb with sweet potato, capsicum, fresh baby tomatoes, basil, avocado and rocket salad.
On her vices:
I think once upon a time it would have been a glass of red wine, but I’ve moved on from food and wine being a vice because I love food and am constantly immersed in it so I dont feel like I’m missing out on anything. I guess I feel a little like exercise is my vice, which sounds silly but it gives me the hit I need to feel great. I’ve recently started training with Trent Langland at Lifecycle, which has been the best thing I’ve done for my work/life balance and managing stress this year. He knows what I need and trains me hard. Does that sound absolutely ridiculous?
On time management:
I don’t deny for a second that it has been a juggle running my own business while raising a child, but it helps immensely that I love what I do and can make the hours work for Jet and I. I get up early to get a couple of hours of work done before he wakes, so that I can then take him to school and sneak some exercise in. My tips? Make a list and time block your day. Even if time blows out a little, at least you can see where you are best allocating your time and how different times of day work for your productivity levels.
On her biggest career highlight:
In 2014, I received an email asking if I had ever considered writing a book, and if I did would I consider doing so with them. I did a back flip, then laughed and then cried. It was the most exciting thing to have happened. Writing a book has been my dream since I was about 14 years old. It was in the planning, but to have someone want to make that a reality with me was such an insane moment.
SHOP THE LOOK: Jacqueline wears: Seed top, $39.95 and Seed jacket, $189.95. Jet wears: Seed jumper.
SHOP THE LOOK: Jacqueline wears: Seed top, $39.95 and Seed jacket, $189.95. Jet wears: Seed jumper.
On her fashion style:
My style is simple and practical. I like to know that I am comfortable yet still present well. I used to explore a lot more in fashion but since becoming a mum I have a huge appreciation for beautiful quality, simple tones and making sure the clothes I choose fit my body well. I wear mostly neutral colours with the exception of dresses where I love a splash of colour. In summer youll find me in shorts, sandals and a singlet. In winter, I love a comfy knit, good black jeans and Converse or boots. My fashion essentials are: a great leather jacket, Converse and a white shirt.
On the qualities she loves the most about her son:
Jet is a gentle, thoughtful, expressive, beautiful little human and a very old soul. He has endless amounts of love to give. Every time I think of him, my heart just about melts. I am insanely grateful this boy entered my life he is my greatest teacher.
On her son’s first day at school:
It was SO emotional, although I managed to hold it in until after I left the playground. Jet was very brave and confident and gave me lots of hugs and waves before going in on his first day, which made it easier but only by a little! I suppose it’s the beginning of a new chapter that brings about this incredible emotion. I dont know too many mums that dont have a few tears. It’s funny you know because when they are really tiny, you cannot imagine the day when you are sending them off to school with their bags as big as them and then all of a sudden there you are. Crazy.
On their favourite place to go together:
The beach! We spend hours digging holes, building sand castles and running along the edge of the water with Jets skimboard. Weve recently started surfing together as were more or less at the same level of learning, which is awesome.
On her favourite part of the day:
Cuddles with Jet and seeing his smile. I made this little human who is bright, beautiful, adoring and has ultimately inspired me to be the best person I could ever dream to be. Each day when we have our cuddles, holding each other in that moment reminds me of this and for that I will be eternally grateful.
5 things that make Jacqueline smile about her son:
The way my love for him makes my heart keep growing, like nothing else I’ve ever known.
Endless laughs and entertainment for all the funny things kids do and for the silly things you find yourself doing with them.
The intense sensation of being a creator.
The memories and telling those stories to Jet.
The beautiful warmth and a sense of inseparability that comes with being a mum to gorgeous boy.