Our First-Ever​ Printed Edition of GRACE Magazine Has Launched (and Zoë Foster Blake is On The Cover!)
We have news! Our first ever printed edition of GRACE Magazine has launched...

To purchase the new issue in either print or digital format, please click here.GRACE Collective members will be posted a copy directly

Today, we launched our first printed edition of GRACE magazine. 180 pages of Grace Tales, rolled into one gorgeous, glossy magazine. We celebrated in Sydney surrounded by a group of incredible women.


For those of you who I know, you'll know my background. I spent many years working in print magazines as an editor. Before I became a mother, I worked at VOGUE, where I was the deputy editor and fashion features director. Running my own business was never part of my plan. As far as I was concerned, I'd work in magazines for the rest of my career. But as we all know, motherhood has a funny way of throwing a spanner in the works. When I launched The Grace Tales, my now seven-year-old daughter Arabella wasn't even one. It was six years ago. At the time, my goal wasn't to turn it into a business – it was simply to create a platform for mothers which inspired community and conversation. I wondered why there weren't any aspirational platforms out there for mothers – every website I went to made me feel like the minute I became a mother, I'd be destined to tracksuit pants and cardigans for the rest of my life. And while I still spend a lot of time in both of those, I also like the stuff I used to like before I became a mother. I might be a mother, but I'm still me inside.

But back to goals – I've never been one who writes my goals down and looks at them every day or every week. I've tried it before but the piece of paper always got lost or I forgot to look at it. I guess I keep my goals and my dreams inside my head. Turning The Grace Tales into a business became a goal when I realised my days in corporate were numbered – I craved more flexibility and found I needed more creativity too. Slowly, day by day, The Grace Tales turned into a business. I've put one foot in front of the other for six years now, and here we are.

This year has been our best yet. We launched our first coffee table book, Grace Mothers. What was one of the most exciting parts of that launch – aside from actually publishing a book, a dream my young journalist self would never have believed would have happened – was that my favourite store in the world, Liberty London, decided to stock it. Being stocked in Liberty was a little goal I had in my mind and when I walked into the store in London with photographer Julie Adams, who I authored the book with, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

We've hosted events around the world with brands I adore – Bonpoint, Hatch, Anthropologie, Bally. Our GRACE Collective community has grown. It was a really bold move to switch to a subscription platform but I'm not afraid to admit that publishing is hard and while digital began as something that was free, it won't be forever, because publications like ours – premium publications – who produce exclusive content from scratch, won't survive.

And finally,the reason I'm writing to you today, the launch of our first printed edition of GRACE. GRACE began as a digital publication – it was another channel of our brand and a very important one. Magazines still have their place in the market and while we will never publish GRACE monthly, it will be a bi-annual print and digital product. As someone who loves print and started her career in print, I couldn't be more excited to finish the year with this exciting launch.

Our cover star Zoë Foster Blake is someone you'll all recognise and when we were brainstorming who we'd put on the cover, we knew we wanted someone real, funny and relatable. Having photographed Zoë before, she's as funny in person as she is on her Instagram feed. And she's an incredible go-getter and a big inspiration to me and our readers. The magazine is beautiful, but it's also full of heart, which is so important to us.

Now before I stop rambling, I want to thank the women behind this issue. When you run your own business, there's a lot of self-doubt. Is it good enough? Am I good enough? It's sometimes hard to snap yourself out of negative self-talk. Which is why surrounding yourself with positive and talented women is so crucial to running any business.

Our editor-in-chief Amy Malpass Hahn. Amy returned to work when her son Henry – her third body – was three months old – he's now around 5 months and I couldn't have done what we've done this year without her. Now, before I met Amy, I thought I was quite an efficient person, but when Amy came along and I suddenly realised I needed to up my efficiency game. She is something else. And she's always got a smile on her face (despite being severely sleep-deprived). This magazine and everything we've done would not have been possible without you. Also, thank you to Marisa Remond. I've lost count of how long we've worked together because I just love collaborating with you – you're insanely talented and I am certain my wardrobe is in a much better state because of you. More than all the work stuff, you're just a lot of fun to be around. And Jenny Guo. Jenny is the only member of our team who doesn't have children and I just really hope we haven't put her off them entirely – we do tend to say it how it is and a lot of mornings will start with a rundown of the shit show that went down at home before we arrived in the office.

Also to the photographers who shoot for the site: Julie Adams who shot our cover and most of our inside stories, Grace Kyo and Bridget wood. The site wouldn't be what it is without your beautiful images.

Emily Armstrong who is based in Singapore. A dear friend to me, she's an enormous part of the business and her creativity energy, drive and ambitious has helped to get us where we are today. Claire Brayford, who is based in London. I've worked with Claire for many, many years now and not only is she a fantastic writer, we always have a great giggle when we get together. And finally, the women who designed the magazine – Inga Campbell who is here and Racquel Thomas who is taking a much-needed break in Byron this week! Thank you for making the design process such a pleasure!

I hope you enjoy the magazine. It nearly caused both myself and Amy a nervous breakdown so even if you don't like it, please just say you do. No, but seriously, I'm super proud and I don't say that often. I hope you guys love it!

Georgie Abay, founder


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"I ended up tandem feeding my two children until my daughter turned 4.5 years old," says British mother of two and model Jess Bowen.

As it happened, tandem feeding was never part of the plan and it was only after reading about it online that she knew it was possible. Jess now shares her story online too, through her blog and Instagram account @modelmother, in the hope that it'll inspire others, just as she was once inspired. "I'm still breastfeeding my son who has recently turned two and we are both happy with how it's going although the plan is to night wean him as soon as his final tooth is through because mama needs some rest!"

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Smoosh Founder Mim Gascoigne
Do you cleanse your face properly?

For so many of us, the answer is probably no (and it doesn't help when you have a small child at your feet trying to get your attention). Which is why we like to keep our skincare regime simple and effective, and also why we opt for oil-based skincare.


Enter Smoosh, a fuss-free, natural skincare range based on the hydrating power of oils, created by Sydney mum of three and teacher Mim Gascoigne.

"Cleansing is such an important step in your routine. If the cleansing step is too harsh and dries out the skin, you are a few steps back and you've only just stepped onto the starting block," she says, referring to that feeling of dryness that can come after cleansing if you've stripped all the hydration out of your skin. She set about solving that skincare dilemma. Smoosh's Silky Cleansing Oil, contains six organic and natural plant oils, including camellia, peach, jojoba, watermelon and passionfruit and leaves your skin feeling soft, supple and hydrated (the opposite to the aforementioned dry, tight state).

Next in the Smoosh skincare regime is a serum, and there are three in the range, so there's something for all skin types. "Pregnancy, menopause, hormonal changes, illness, travelling, seasonal changes, stress, shaving (men love our Soothing Balance oil serum) are just some of the things that can change how skin is behaving and its specific needs," she says. "I wanted to offer three multifaceted organic and natural face oil serums, free from fragrance and essential oils, that would offer nourishment and visible results to skin during the different phases life throws our way." As for what serum actually does (i.e. how it'll help us glow), she explains that a serum is that extra step after you cleanse and before you moisturise, that will deliver a concentrated dose of vitamins, antioxidants and/or actives to your skincare routine. If your skin still feels dry after you apply serum, Mim advises you to keep your skin damp when you apply: "our oil serums absorb quickest when skin is damp. after cleansing or misting is a great time to smoosh. Three to four drops massaged into damp skin should leave skin supple, bouncy and moisturised never greasy."

Her passion for plant-based skincare products came from her mother, who is a GP and studied naturopathy. "She has a real passion for research so was great at teaching me, from a very young age, all about plants, their great benefits as well as their contraindications," says Mim. And as for the name Smoosh, it was inspired by the feeling you get when you see chubby baby thighs. "You really want to 'smoosh' them," says Mim. "Whatever age you are, healthy skin has that beautiful glow and softness that brings about the desire to touch and smoosh it."

Here we talk to Mim about how she got her business off the ground (and the ups and downs of that journey), the key ingredients in her products and why your skin will love them, practical time management tips for the working mother, and most importantly, how to Smoosh.

Go to www.smooshskin.com

Smoosh Silky Cleansing Oil

Smoosh Silky Cleansing Oil

www.smooshskin.com

Smoosh skincare

Smoosh skincare

www.smooshskin.com

Smoosh Nourish oil serumSmooth Soothing Balance oil serumSmoosh Radiance oil serum

Smoosh's range of serums

www.smooshskin.com

There are so many cleansers in the market, why did you decide to launch an oil cleanser and what are the benefits of oil cleansers?

So many cleansers, yet I still felt like I hadn't found my perfect one. Personally, having such sensitive skin I really wanted to create an oil cleansing blend that was free from essential oils and fragrance, yet was also light and silky enough for all skin types. A cleanser that is gentle yet thorough is crucial. This is where an oil cleanser shines, it has the ability to cleanse away the most stubborn makeup and sunscreen yet leave your skin soft, hydrated and your skin barrier healthy and intact. I also had customers asking for me to create one.

What skin types would this product suit? For example, should oilier skins steer clear?

All skin types can benefit from our Silky Cleansing Oil, each plant oil in the blend has been thoughtfully chosen to provide just the right amount of slip for a beautifully smooth massage and cleansing ritual, without overloading the skin. Once massaged in and gently removed with lukewarm water and a soft cloth, your skin will be perfectly cleansed, super smooth, nourished and glowing. No greasy oil slick in sight.

Smoosh has three different serums. Firstly, what role does serum play in our skincare?

A serum is that little step that will deliver a concentrated dose of vitamins, antioxidants and/or actives to your skincare routine. Our oil serums can be used alone or added to your moisturiser. Luxurious, potent and brimming with goodness each of the three oil serums is loaded with omega fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants to help nurture and bring about healthy and glowing skin.

What is the difference between the three serums you offer - and how did you settle on three?

I settled on three, as I feel within the trilogy, all skin types can find a a blend to support them. Whatever skin season they are having. Pregnancy, menopause, hormonal changes, illness, travelling, seasonal changes, stress, shaving (men love our Soothing Balance oil serum) are just some of the things that can change how skin is behaving and its specific needs. I wanted to offer three multifaceted organic and natural face oil serums, free from fragrance and essential oils, that would offer nourishment and visible results to skin during the different phases life throws our way.

Radiance oil serum is a nectar-like oil serum, deeply moisturising so wonderful for very dry and/or mature skin. It turns around lack lustre skin really quickly and it's also wonderful in cold windy weather. Soothing Balance oil serum is for all skin types, especially those prone to breakouts, it's silky and light yet still provides beautiful moisture. It's calming on inflammation and brings clarity to confused skin. Nourish oil serum is a satiny, berry packed oil serum, it gives dewy hydration, nourishment and is really rejuvenating for normal to dry skin types. It's a bit like a super berry smoothie in a face oil!

Natural skincare has always been part of your life - tell me how your mother influenced your skincare decisions and how you approach your skincare regime?

My mum is a GP and also studied naturopathy so I was surrounded by tinctures and natural skincare products from a very young age. She has a real passion for research so was great at teaching me, from a very young age, all about plants, their great benefits as well as their contraindications. She was also instrumental in teaching me about the benefits of nutritious healthy food, the benefits of having a healthy lifestyle and how both can impact skin health for the better. She was into bone broth long before it was trendy!

Smoosh skincareSmoosh Nourish oil serumSmoosh Radiance oil serumSmoosh Soothing Balance oil serum

www.smooshskin.com

Smoosh skincareSmoosh Radiance oil serum

Skincare has changed a lot over the years, what are some ingredients or products which have stood the test of time?

I think face oils have been around for a long time but have definitely become more mainstream which is great as I think they are really transformative. Oil and balm cleansers have been used by actors and stage performers for decades to remove heaving makeup so their credentials are pretty good too. Weleda Skin food is a great classic as is Dr Haushka Rose Cream. Lanolin is another ingredient that has stood the test of time, Lanolips 101 ointment, is such a great formula. Glycerin is a bit of an underrated ingredient, it's been around for ages and is so healing for dry skin. It seems to be having a bit of a resurgence though!

The term "clean beauty" is very trendy - how would you define clean beauty?

As there is no official definition for the term, I feel the term can sometimes be confusing. One brand's clean list can vary from another. I would say Smoosh Skin is a clean beauty brand insofar as it is organic and natural, plant-based, free from added fragrance, vegan and cruelty free.

What are the hero ingredients in your products?

This is a hard one; we source 26 of the highest quality organic and natural plant oils and create all our formulas in small batches so they are fresh and vibrant. They all play an important role, but special mention to the luminous coral red of the organic Rosehip fruit oil, and the dark vivid green of our virgin Hemp seed oil, however, they are all such a delight to blend and work with.

Where do so many of us go wrong when it comes to skincare?

I think trying too many new products, all at once can often send skin into a spin. I speak from experience in this area! Adding one new product to your skincare routine at a time and using it for a few days before adding the next, is the best way to see if a product is working for you. Also, when using actives like retinol and acid toners it makes you even more susceptible to sunburn so it's so important to practice good sun safety.

Smoosh founder Mim Gascoigne

What lead you to launch your own business - was there a defining moment where you made the decision?

I'd thought about it for many years, however, once I started having babies it took a back seat. Once I had my third child, I somehow felt ready to start a new chapter and had the confidence to jump in. I've always been naturally driven by creative projects and have a genuine passion for skincare so it helps to have a real love for what I'm doing.

The beginning is often a stumbling block for so many women when it comes to launching their own business. Where did you start and how quickly did you launch?

Much of the product line is a culmination of decades of my own research and experience so developing the products has taken years. However, once I decided to go for it, building the brand and business itself, took about six months to solidify. I drew on a bit of knowledge I had from some marketing subjects I did at university. My husband works in marketing so he offered to give me a framework to build the business from i.e. key steps to follow in launching the business, which was very helpful.

What has been the most challenging part of starting a business?

The most challenging parts have been sourcing packaging, labelling and suppliers. Some of our oils have been very hard to source. Covid-19 social distancing and restrictions hit just as I was launching, which brought new challenges as many of our oils were suddenly out of stock. Lastly, being from outside the skincare business, it is a challenge to build brand awareness as a small start-up as it is a crowded market, so that is our biggest challenge right now.

What about the most rewarding?

Customer feedback. Seeing our customers' skin transformations from our products. Having sensitive skin myself and dealing with eczema and more recently rosacea, I know how hard it can be to find a product that works and supports your skin. I genuinely love that we can help our customers get relief for their skin condition and attain healthy, happy skin.

www.smooshskin.com

Now, how do you manage your time between your children and your business?

It is a constant juggle, especially as many of the aspects of starting a new business are completely new to me, so I feel like it takes me more time than the next person, I have to do more research and this comes with more frustration! I have three kids, 9, 7 and 2, so working with them around makes any task infinitely longer! When possible, I plan ahead and carve out pockets of time to work when they are otherwise engaged. I have moved into a casual teaching role which gives me more flexibility to work on the business too.

How do you look after your skin daily? What products do you personally use?

I cleanse every night with our Silky Cleansing Oil and a soft cloth. I then use one of our three oil serums depending on how my skin is feeling.

In winter I mostly reach for Radiance oil serum in the evenings, it's so deeply moisturising and wonderful for dry winter skin. I then often choose the lighter, Soothing Balance oil serum in the morning. In the summer it's more often Soothing Balance in the day and Nourish oil serum at night.

I don't cleanse in the morning unless I've used a mask overnight. Skipping the morning cleanse has been really helpful in calming rosacea flare ups.

Every 7-10 days I use the Allies of Skin retinal and peptides overnight mask. I also use a pure white french clay mask mixed with one of the Smoosh oil serums if I need a soothing mask.

Other loves…….
Mother SPF
Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturiser and RMS Un-Cover Up
Baby Cheeks Blush Stick by Westman Atelier
Tubing mascara as I have hooded eyes and no mascara stays put!
Lanolips 101 Ointment

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.

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