When it comes to gifting the ladies in your life, a beautifully wrapped candle or fragrance is bound to spark a smile - just ask the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton. Her signature scent is Jo Malone London Orange Blossom (she reportedly had Orange Blossom and Grapefruit candles burning in Westminster Abbey at her wedding)...
So with with art of gift gifting in mind, we caught up with our editor Georgie Abay to find out how she’ll be spoiling her family and friends (hint: she’ll be starting at Jo Malone London where each gift comes presented in the brand’s iconic cream and black box and at Christmas, you have the option of choosing from a variety of limited edition colourful boxes and ribbon styles), her plans for the festive season and also what’s in store for 2018. Photography: Grace Alyssa Kyo | In association with Jo Malone London
Describe the festive season in three words...
Family. Friends. Fun.
What's on your Christmas wish list?
Maison Balzac’s new range of glassware; Ceramics; Irving & Powell X GRACE shirt; a Jo Malone London Christmas Cracker; home décor items from Anthropologie (I’m trying to be more minimal, but this brand makes it hard); basket bags from The Paradise Catcher (I have an ever-growing collection of baskets); and summer dresses from the gorgeous Innika Choo.
What are your go-to gifts for family and friends?
Everyone in our family knows that my mum loves anything and everything from Jo Malone London (like mother, like daughter). I’ll usually get her some bath oil and body lotion – she loves it. Likewise, my nan also gets some body lotion or soap. Each Jo Malone London gift comes presents in the brand’s iconic cream box and it’s such a treat for the person opening it (they offer complimentary gift wrapping). You really feel like you’re spoiling someone. For friends, I’ll usually gift candles. What woman doesn’t love opening a fragrance candle? And as for our girls, they get so many presents, so we’ll only buy them one from Santa (unicorns are still high on the list in our household).
How will you spend Christmas Day?
We will see my dad’s side of the family in the morning and then a lazy lunch at my mum’s house. We’ll eat, drink, swim, eat more then watch the movie Love Actually. We watch it every single Christmas. We don’t have a big family, so it’s not too hectic.
SHOP: A selection of gifts from Jo Malone London. Shop the full range here
How do you decorate the home for Christmas?
I don’t go too overboard as Christmas always creeps up on us and it often feels like we’ve just taken the Halloween decorations down. A beautiful magnolia wreath on the front door and then a fresh tree. I might be more organised next year! This year, we’ve decorated it with pink and silver baubles.
What are some of your favourite ways to create an atmosphere in a home?
Candles and room spray. I use them both daily – regardless of whether or not we’re having guests over. It just makes the home feel special and even if there’s chaos around me (there usually is), it’s a little something for me. I love Jo Malone London’s Pomegranate Noir room spray. In the day, I open up the doors and windows – I love the fresh air and light coming through the home. And at night, I keep the lighting dim (it does sometimes feel like we eat dinner in the dark). It helps me to wind down and relax in the evening.
What have been some highlights for The Grace Tales this year?
It has been such a big year and there haven’t really been many moments to stop and look at what we’ve achieved. I am lucky to work with the most talented bunch of women and the business is a team effort. We don’t take things too seriously and work doesn’t stress me out like it used to – nothing is worth getting too stressed about. We launched our event series GRACE TALKS and both events sold out. We built a GRACE magazine App. It’s available to download via iTunes or Google Play. The new issue of GRACE is also available to download as a desktop version via THEGRACETALES.COM. We also launched GRACE Styling (founded by myself and our editorial director Marisa Remond), which is a personal styling service (we can reveal more about that early next year). More than anything, we’ve had the privilege of sharing the stories of mothers around the world – Sydney, Melbourne, LA, New York, London. It’s the storytelling that keeps me going. It’s what I love, what I’m passionate about and what makes my job not feel like work.
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What are some of the challenges you face running your own business?
Switching off is hard. I recently went on a family holiday to Thailand and worked until the early hours of the morning the week before to try and get ahead. The plan was to not work at all. Of course, when you run your own small business, that’s near impossible. That said, I can do my job from anywhere in the world so every cloud has a silver lining. Managing growth is also hard – the business is growing quite quickly which is fantastic but I’m also mindful of the fact that I have two young children and they are my first priority.
What are your tips for women looking to launch their own business?
Be prepared that you probably won’t take money out of the business for the first couple of years – small businesses need constant investment so unless you take on investment (which can have its own challenges), it can be tough. It always costs more than you think it will. Make sure you’re organised – write a business plan, get a great bookkeeper, write down your weekly goals and picture where you want to be in a year’s time. For me, visualisation is really important. Believe and it will happen. Also, try and find a mentor or business coach – even if you only see them every couple of months. And finally, surround yourself with brilliant people who will lift you up!
What’s instore for 2018?
We’re launching something very exciting in the first half of the year – stay tuned. There will also be more GRACE Talks – we’re about to announce our next one; a new issue of GRACE magazine; and some exciting product collaborations. I’m excited for the year ahead.
What will you be wearing over the festive season?
My new MSGM red ruffle skirt – it’s so festive and will be worn to all Christmas parties and on Christmas day. After lunch, it’ll be my bathers, a cotton summer dress and no shoes. I’m just back from Thailand and at the resort we stayed at, Soneva Kiri, there was a ‘no shoes’ policy. We went barefoot for a week – it was all so relaxed.
What are some of your new year resolutions?
Meditate more (the woman who taught me how to meditate Jacqui Lewis has a fantastic book called The Mothers Mind Cleanse, which every mum should read!). Learn more about minimalism (I’m trying to make our home as minimal as possible but it’s not an easy task with children). Focus on my health and wellbeing. Dr Libby Weaver recently talked about the effects of caffeine on our bodies at GRACE Talks and I haven’t touched a coffee since. This is coming from a serious coffee addict! It’s our eldest daughter’s first year at school so I also want to slow down and make sure I’m there to support her.
In association with Jo Malone London