Hands up if you've seen enough gorgeous mothers and children on your Instagram feed to prompt serious talks of a move to Byron?
Turns out you’re not alone. The sight of these stylish, organic, slow-living women and their adorable broods are enough to make even the most committed city-slickers consider a sea-change to the town on the top of everyone’s wish list, Byron Bay. Jayde Couldwell – of LondonxBoston – is one of these mothers in question, whose dream-like life is chronicled for the rest of us to marvel at. A talented photographer and mother of two (almost three!) girls, Jayde is as style-focused and relaxed as they come. But what sets Jayde apart is her uncompromising honesty and the down-to-earth approach that sees her tell it like it is. With an “everything in moderation” philosophy, hilarious captions and a refreshingly realistic approach to raising children, Jayde is certainly encouraging us to move to Byron … As long as we can hang with her. Photography by Bridget Wood | Girls dressed by Mini Marley
Tell us a little bit about who you are and who makes up your family...
I go by the names of Jayde, Jaydey, mum, mama and my favourite … “Worst mum ever!” (That special one was created by my five-year-old daughter, Mia.) My husband, Nick, goes by the names of Harry, Haz, Nicky and Nick the d***! (That one was created by me, used at any time of day, because… Men.) 16 months after we had Mia, our next daughter Billie was born and we instantly had two under two. (Insert my mental breakdown here.) The first year was hard work, but it has most definitely paid off. They are inseparable, the best of friends and their own worst enemies. I remind them everyday how nice I was to give them each other. I am an only child, so I have always wanted to create a bigger family. And that’s why I am six months pregnant with our third… daughter! (Sorry, daddy!). We couldn’t be happier!
Your children are among some of the most organically stylish on the internet. How do you go about selecting their outfits?
Thank you! I like to support local brands and mothers who are making a living while doing the mum life! Style-wise, we keep it simple. Comfort is everything to me, so any style and fabric that allows them to be kids is a winner to me. They pull out any item that is soft, which is mainly Millk!
Tell us about life in Byron...
It’s a postcard kind of life. You have beautiful weather all year round, beaches and markets, so most of our time is spent outdoors until we get home.
How do you embrace the slow life? Particularly with two (nearly three!) small children?
The benefit of living in Byron Bay is that there is no real rush for anything! Except to be the first person in line at the organic doughnut stand on market day. It’ll be the best $5.50 x 10 you will ever spend, I promise. We have just moved into a new home with lots of land, so we wake up and let the chickens out, pull out some weeds from the veggie garden and pick all the strawberries we can find. The girls like to make ‘salads’ in their mud kitchen to feed their dolls and explore the surroundings with their gumboots on.
Do you incorporate meditation or mindfulness into your everyday?
It’s funny you ask! I was at my 28-week check up recently and told my doctor I am finding it hard to relax; I just can’t stop cleaning and setting up the house. I have been ordered to take two hours off in the middle of the day to relax/meditate. I’m not sure if she realised I have two kids who ask for snacks every 15 minutes!
What about with your children? How do you encourage mindfulness?
We are encouraging mindfulness and responsibility in our new home. There is much more space and land and with that comes more responsibility, so the girls have been taught to open and close the gates so cows and chickens don’t escape. We’re also teaching them where fruit and vegetables come from and the time it takes for them to grow. So the next time they think about piffing their half-chewed apple, hopefully, they will be mindful enough to finish it or pop it in the compost bin! Hopefully, anyway.
What’s your approach to mealtimes in your family?
I love cooking. I grew up cooking up a storm in the kitchen with my mum and nan. From Bircher muesli to dumplings, food is life! As long as it’s a substantial breakfast, the girls can have whatever they want. Sadly, since moving house, it’s been mainly Weet-Bix and peaches, because waiting for oats to boil or pancakes to flip is too time-consuming right now. As for the rest of the snacks and meals, I have an ‘everything in moderation’ policy!
As a photographer, do you have any tips on capturing beautiful pictures of children?
I own a range of cameras but the main one I use is my iPhone. Children are spontaneous and I love catching them in the moment. The quickest and most efficient way I can do that is with my phone, it’s light and ready to go!
How has motherhood changed you?
It’s a surreal moment when you are handed your baby for the first time. You spend nine months preparing and planning for a role you can’t fully comprehend until you’re in it. From the moment they take their first screaming breath, they are yours to love and care for, for the rest of your life. You have no bloody idea what to do, but you do it, every day, every night, as sleep deprived as you may be, because the rewards of their first smiles and milestone moments make even the hardest of days worth it. Being a mother will always be my proudest role in life.
What are your little list of loves?
In order …
- Magnum Egos. My pregnancy craving!
- Watching my girls play ‘mums and babies’ – but throwing the babies off the trampoline wasn’t taught by me. Although, it may have been threatened.
- The label maker my nan got me for Christmas. I will go overboard.
- My husband. He annoys me 99% of the day but he is the most beautiful father to our girls. (He can’t believe he’s fourth on this list.)
- Teddy bear biscuits from the fridge.
- Watching my dad teach the girls about the veggie patch!
- My Blundstone boots.
- The thought of a pregnancy massage.
- My tiny, blind, nine-year-old pug, London. Bless her heart.
- The beautiful new addition rolling on my bladder that will be in our arms in a few short weeks.