Phoebe Ghorayeb Models Our Favourite Festive Looks
Ahead of the festive season, we've rounded up some of our favourite frocks and jewels to dazzle in...

We also spoke to model Phoebe Ghorayeb about her career and motherhood journey.

Photography: Julie Adams | Hair and makeup: Isabella Schimid


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Phoebe wears Ephemera Bloom Bustier dress, $695. All jewellery by Pandora: Pandora Shine Small O Pendant, $89, with Pandora Shine Sliding Clasp Necklace, $199; Pandora Shine Reflexions Bracelets, $299 each, with Pandora Reflexions Clip Charms, from $39 each; Pandora Shine Sliding Bangle, $249, with Charms, from $89 each. Valentina wears a
Zara dress.

Tell us about your motherhood journey...

Motherhood has been incredible. It's everything and nothing like you expect it to be and what you think will be easy is the most difficult and what you think will be difficult is surprisingly easy. In terms of ups and downs, everyday is different. If I've had a great night sleep and woken feeling like Supermum then the tantrums, heavy lifting, housework and general mumming don't phase me, however, catch me on a bad day and just thinking about what to feed Valentina for breakfast can seem like the most mammoth of tasks. I have absolutely loved watching Valentina grow into her own little person, she is full of such sass, loves her own reflection, knows what she likes and what she doesn't (and won't hesitate to let you know about it!) and it an absolute chatter box. She is mine and my husband's best friend so anything that motherhood throws at me (which at times is a lot) is all totally worth it.

How has your second pregnancy differed from the first?

To be honest it hasn't really been that different. I suffered with morning sickness during both from about two to four months, I held very similarly, my food cravings were pretty much identical and I popped out another girl, so even the end result was exactly the same. The only issue I had this time around was a major depletion of my iron levels. I was taking tablets but they weren't enough to get me feeling human again so I opted for the infusion which thank goodness worked wonders.

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Phoebe wears ARTCLUB Hanaikada dress, $1,200. All jewellery by Pandora: Pandora Shine Reflexions Bracelets, $299 each, with Pandora Reflexions Clip Charms, from $39 each. Valentina wears Zara trousers and top.

You called your platform Model Appetite - where did the idea come from and tell us about the name? What message do you want to spread?

My blog first and foremost began because of my undying, unwavering love of food. It's something I'm incredibly passionate about and the best thing after eating it, is talking about it. I also wanted to build in my story and background as a model, with almost 16 years of work under my belt and having played such a significant part of my life it made sense to bring the two together. There are a lot of models writing food blogs but they tend to focus on the healthier side of spectrum, which is no bad thing. I mean a model needs to look after herself. However, for me it's about embracing everything food has to offer, the healthy, the not so healthy, food from around the world, hidden gems, the good, the bad and the ugly. Food for me should hold no boundaries, it is one of life's absolute pleasures and I suppose one of the messages I wanted my blog to convey was that you can enjoy a successful career as a model without having to restrict everything the culinary world has to offer. I brought my love of food and fashion together and as a result Model Appetite was born. Having a healthy body is one thing but having a healthy mind, attitude and outlook is something much more powerful.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about models?

I'm not sure if there are any misconceptions about models anymore. There definitely used to be. Models don't eat, models are dumb, models are self centred etc etc. However, I think these stereotypes and misconceptions have been challenged over the years, especially since the rise of social media, and models have a platform to speak much more openly about themselves and the industry. The discussion around body image is huge, a lot of models have opened up about their eating disorders and how they've overcome them, the plus size industry is making waves and is helping to deliver a more body positive and body inclusive message. In terms of being dumb, I know plenty of models who are incredibly intelligent and have gone on to pursue careers as lawyers, politicians, entrepreneurs, chefs or have committed themselves, their time and money to charity work. I have met some of the most incredible and wonderful girls and guys on the modelling circuit. Down to earth, kind, humble and generous people. Modelling is a job and it definitely does not define any one of them.

What’s the most challenging part of the industry?

These days you need to be more than just a model. The social media platforms have been a game changer in the modelling industry. It's no longer enough to be a pretty face, you need to be on some level an influencer, ambassador, charity goer, fitness guru, health expert, actor, singer, comedian, entertainer, entrepreneur, socialite, fashionista or activist. Audiences are getting smarter, there's more information, they know what they want and they know when they're being sold a lie. The industry are looking for models with more depth, something that makes them different from the rest and unfortunately being an attractive model doesn't make you that much different from the next attractive model. Continuously elevating and evolving your personal brand is a challenge and with so much competition popping up all over social media it is a huge task to make sure you stand out. It's about offering your audience more than just a perfect smile, even the big brands are recognising this and long gone are the days of them looking at your comp card or agency website portfolio. They're looking for someone their audience can relate to and be inspired by. Plump lips and long lashes alone just won't cut it.

And what about the most rewarding part?

The people you get to meet. Yes travelling, the beautiful locations, the amazing accommodations, the once in a lifetime experiences are definitely up there, but if you're doing it with people who aren't that great, then none of the above is all that fun. I've had jobs that are not the most exciting. Standing in studio for eight hours against a white background, wearing up to 100 outfits, doing a front, back and side shot is not the most inspiring work, however, if you have a team who are fun, interesting, talented, personable, hilarious and all round nice human beings then those eight hours can seem like minutes. When I receive a call sheet the first thing I look at is who I'll be working with and from that I'll know if it's going to be a good versus an amazing day.

How has becoming a mother changed the way you approach your career?

I'm not sure if it has. I've always loved modelling, I've been doing since the age of 13 so it's such a "normal", everyday part of my life. I knew I was never going to be the next Kate Moss, so I just enjoyed the journey and was grateful for any work and experiences I got as a result. My mentality towards it is still the same after having children but of course my girls will always come first. If a job comes up, I'll do what I can to make it work but if not it's not something I dwell on. Motherhood has however been a bit of a driving force in my wanting to start up my own business. My incredible friend Joanna Burgess and I have started the ball rolling on a new business venture, Ma Quelle. It's still very early days but we are entering the baby market (obviously) in the hope of designing and creating a super stylish nursery/homeware brand. I guess having the opportunity to work from home and earn money while still being able to commit time to my children is the ultimate dream.

What is one of your most vivid memories of motherhood so far?

To be honest motherhood has been such a blur so far. They tell you it goes quickly but you don't know until… you know! I suppose my most vivid memory would be giving birth. Sounds like an unlikely thing to remember as they say that your brain releases a hormone or chemical that makes you forget the experience and the pain. Otherwise we'd all stop at one baby. However, I have very vivid memories of both my births and remember even the smallest of details. I still very much remember holding them both for the first time, the overwhelming feeling of having just brought life into the world and the instantaneous feeling of unconditional, unimaginable love. I hope I never forget.

What are your time management tips - how do you get it all done?

I got Valentina into a relatively strict sleep routine and because of that she's a solid sleeper. It also helps that she has my sleep genes. I've been known to sleep through fire alarms, floods and even crying babies (thank goodness Georges doesn't share this same genetic miracle). She can sometimes sleep up to three hours in the middle of the day and that's when I get it all done, the cooking, cleaning, life admin, phone calls and of course most importantly, catching up on my favourite shows. When Valentina is awake she doesn't give me a minute so her rest time is my rev time. Although, one practical tip I can give, is to prepare and perhaps finish cooking dinner during her daytime nap, that way when it comes to her bedtime in the evening, I have a lot more time to catch up on anything I wasn't able to get done during the day. I also try my best to get her involved in any housework I need to do, for example helping me to "fold" clothes, or hanging onto the hoover while I quickly whiz it over the house, or throwing her a few kitchen utensils so she can "assist" me while I cook. Keeping her busy is the key.

How do you approach maternity dressing - what’s a typical look for you?

Comfort, comfort, comfort. Being pregnant can be difficult at the best of times, sore back, aching legs, feeling sick, swollen ankles, headaches, tiredness and hot flushes don't make for the most comfortable of situations so when it's something I can control, like dressing myself, I make sure that my clothes help to counteract any discomfort I may be feeling. It doesn't mean that looking relatively fashionable and well dressed can't also play a part but let's just say tight trousers and high heels very rarely made an appearance. A typical look for me consists of a pair of black bike shorts, oversized white shirt and white sneakers, or a button up maxi dress with a pair of cute, wedge sandals, or my pyjamas. I kept pretty close to my regular style and way of dressing. I find that a lot of maternity brands are not that exciting and are all quite similar so I would just buy what I usually would but in a bigger size. It also means I can probably still get away with wearing it even after I've had the baby.

What about your beauty tips - what products do you use daily?

Soooooo I'm probably the last person you should ask about beauty tips. My "beauty" regime is extremely simple and I'm make up free about 90% of the time. When I do decide to make some sort of effort it usually consists of tinted moisturiser, a bit of blush and highlighter, mascara and a quick brush of the eyebrows. If I'm feeling really risky I'll wear eyeshadow and maybe even slap on some lippy. My skin care routine pretty much falls along the same lines. To remove my make up I use the Face Halo Make Up Remover, a soft sponge with water, but seeing as though that is never normally the case then I usually just splash my face with water, spritz on a bit of toner and finish off with some moisturiser and lip balm. My go-to skincare brand is Mokosh. They are a Melbourne-based company, all organic, cruelty free, eco friendly and just all round amazing products. They are so pure and chemical free I can even use them on my girls to clear up dry skin and nappy rash. I also recently discovered Ultra Violette. the most beautiful sunscreen. Perfect matt finish, not at all oily and zero white residue.

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@modelmother

Jess Bowen
"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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Rebecca Ritman with her son Sonny

Pepita Fernandez
From rubber rings to earth-shattering epiphanies


Ever since my son was five weeks old, when I felt like I had just woken up from a very long and very intense dream involving repeatedly putting cold cabbage leaves on my nipples (nature's balm for that brutal early breastfeeding soreness), I have been mentally amassing a list of all the things that really, really made a difference. The moments that, whether psychologically or physically, gave me the fresh legs I needed to keep on going on my own new-baby marathon. Or the things I didn't do, that I would have done, had I known about them ahead of time.

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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.

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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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