I think life changes when you have that one person, who completely believes in you, says Sydney-based photographer Grace Alyssa Kyo from Besotted Grace, recalling the moment her best friend Carin Olsson from Paris In Four Months passed her a camera. She said Grace you have the eye and handed her big camera over. My passion for photography literally started from that moment. I never looked back. Olsson was right – she has an incredible eye and sees beauty in everything. It was after living in Paris for a year that Kyo moved back to Sydney and gave birth to a baby boy, Sebastian, 1. Sebastian is the reason my photography blossomed into portraitures, because I was able to tap into emotions, she says. The talented Kyo is also behind many of the gorgeous shoots you see on The Grace Tales (and a lot of fun to work with). She was recently back in Paris with her son, where her friend Carin shot this gorgeous story for us
“Before Sebastian was born I lived in Paris for a little over a year
My dreams led me there. I had that yearning to get out there, to know more and to travel. I took Sebastian back recently and loved spending time with him in the gardens: Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin du Palais Royale. There are the most beautiful parks and open spaces for children to roam around in Paris.
Photography was something that I never thought would be a part of my life
I created an Instagram account (@besottedgrace) when I lived in Paris to compliment my blog diary and just began by posting simple photos. Gradually I learned to notice deeper aspects of photography. I began to distinguish which type of images inspired me most. Then one day, my best friend in Paris (who is an amazing photographer!), asked me to shoot her for an interview.
Living in Paris and Sebastians birth changed the way I view life
Living in Paris taught me to slow my pace, to enjoy and love breakfast, to live the way Parisians live, appreciate art and to see beauty in everything. Arriving back in Sydney after an amazing year in Paris and getting through nine months of a hormonal pregnancy really placed my creative mood (and general mood) in idle mode. But the pieces started to come together after Sebastians birth, and he taught me to relive Paris, with him, in Sydney.
I remember holding Sebastian shortly after he was born
Nothing could ever prepare myself for that experience of love and emotions. That overpowering feeling of wanting to protect and love something that is so immensely precious, more than life. I find myself more motivated than ever to be the best person and mum I can be. Sebastian makes me feel like Im the most important person in this whole world. I secretly love that Im the only one who could calm him down. I feel so blessed and grateful.
I used to be a makeup hoarder
Experimenting with lots of looks just because I had the time. Lets just say that nowadays, whenever I see a product that says glow, radiance, anti-fatigue and anti-aging on the label, its in the shopping cart! After applying cleanser (Aesop), moisturiser (Nivea) and anti-aging serum (Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair). These are my daily makeup favourites: Dior Skin Flash Primer, Diorskin Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Booster Blush, Dior Addict Lip Glow Balm and Dior Addict It-Lash Mascara.
Remind your partner
that your love for each other is ultimately what created parenthood for the both of you. Concentrate on that love.
I usually try to sneak out of the house at sunrise
Before my husband goes to work, just so I can have time for myself for my favourite stroll and to sit down somewhere to enjoy breakfast. I head home and we tag team. On days that I have shoots, my mother kindly looks after Sebastian. When Sebastian sleeps at night, thats when Im glued to the laptop and work on everything else, like updating my blog and editing shoots.
When it comes to fashion, I really love to mix and match
TopShop, Zara, Country Road, Seed, Witchery are my comfort favourites. I live in skinny jeans, loose sweaters and flats (and a hat to hide my no time for roots touch ups!). In summer I love shift dresses.
Its the small simple things like sitting together for dinner at home
Just babbling away with Sebastian. He loves eating with us.
The first few months after birth is going to be the most challenging period of motherhood
No books or parental class can help you understand what youve got coming until you live through it. Ask for help and accept all help offered, its okay to need and want help. Get educated on breastfeeding. Organise for a private lactation consultant to be there with you the moment youre about to breastfeed for the first time. Most importantly listen to your heart, only you know whats right for you and your baby.”
Sebastian wears an Atelier/Child sweater, $158.99
Graces little list of loves:
I love mornings in bed with Sebastian. When he wakes up and all he wants is more cuddles.
Long strolls with my husband and Sebastian.
Soft serve ice cream.
Copious cups of Mariage Frères tea at any time of day.
Dior Skin Flash Primer.
Watching movies in the cinema – alone.
Breakfast the day feels calmer after a good, simple breakfast.
The song Jeune by a French singer called Louane.
A huge bouquet of fresh flowers from the markets.
Golden hour strolls along the beach, at sunrise and sunset – I find that the light in Paris and what we get in Sydney are very different. In Paris, the light is always so soft and diffused most of the time. To see that kind of amazing ethereal light in Sydney, you really have to aim for that golden hour – within an hour from sunrise and within an hour until sunset. Im very fortunate that my husband is very understanding and he looks after Sebastian when I really need time to recharge on my own.
Motherhood often drives women to make a career change. In the case of the inspiring Nicolle Sullivan, founder of Cultiver and mother to Maya Juliet, three and a half years, and Katarina Eve, seven months, having children made her completely re-think her occupation. Shed spent over a decade working in global investment banks. I loved it, but I didnt want to continue after starting a family. After I took a break to have my daughter, I started thinking about trying something new and hatched the idea of Cultiver, she recalls. Founded in 2012, Cultiver was inspired by the idea of everyday luxury and initially started with a range of classic, high quality, linen bedding, and quickly grew into a beautifully edited collection of designer rugs, cushions, candles and more.
Sullivan knew exactly what she wanted to achieve: I wanted to offer the type of products that I had become passionate about shopping online for: high quality, well sourced and well priced. I joke that I had to find an outlet for the years I had spent online shopping. I had no experience in importing, retailing or online business. I just thought Id give it a go until I came to an insurmountable hurdle, and have managed to get where we are now without one so far.
Sullivan and her family live in Sydneys lower north shore in a immaculately decorated home that clearly reflects her love of interiors. Ive always loved interiors, she says. Ive been restyling my surroundings for as long as I can remember. I really enjoy creating spaces that are comfortable, functional and visually appealing.
Motherhood, says Sullivan, has ultimately taught her the true meaning of multitasking. I had no idea! It has also reinforced the importance of having friends and family around, to share the joys and struggles.
Nicolles little list of loves:
Reading. Everything from blogs to magazines to fiction.
Watching an engrossing television series. I cant wait for House of Cards to start again.
Next Issue – an iPad app that gives you access to 70+ US magazines.
The Jerzy Michalski painting that my husband gave me for my birthday.
Watching my daughters play together.
Photography: Julie Adams Words: Georgie Abay
Even before becoming a mother, Lill Jenner had mastered the art of looking effortlessly understated. It’s no surprise, then, that even though Jenner is now the mother to 10-month-old twin girl’s, Essie and Billie her style hasn’t changed a bit. Today, the Bondi-based fashion designer whose personal aesthetic perfectly echoes that of the swimwear label Anna & Boy, which she co-designs with Anna Hewitt, is in a pair of leopard print cigarette pants, an A.P.C white T-shirt and bare feet. “Anna & Boy is pretty mum friendly. Most days, I’ll wear a printed cigarette pant, a T-shirt, Converse and a trench coat. In summer, I wear lots of shorts and dresses.
On motherhood, Jenner says: “Although often challenging, motherhood has been the most rewarding and beautiful experience of my life. It has calmed my soul and given me a greater purpose. I have always been a very optimistic and happy person but motherhood has made me wake up bright and early each morning with a smile on my face.”
Given both Jenner and Hewitt are now mothers, you can’t help but wonder if childrenswear is on the cards? We will definitely launch childrenswear one day. It won’t be too far away because we need pretty clothes to dress our girls in!”.
Lills little list of loves:
Looking at my babies sleeping.
Going for a run or yoga.
A big cook up with my husband we both love to cook.
Earl Grey tea.
Designing Anna & Boy a good balance to all the mum things I do!
Life drawing classes.
Watching my husband play with the girls he gets them into hysterics and it’s so great to watch.
Hendrick’s gin & tonic (Mummas milk! Is that wrong?).
Hanging out with both my sisters. We are very close and they are amazing aunties.
Reading a book or a good magazine. A luxury but when it happens it’s great.
Going to Byron Bay.