Here's a truth bomb, pregnancy is not all insta-perfection, with green smoothies and baby bump selfies...
It's a time for all sorts of new experiences and, unfortunately, waddling around with back pain is a common one. This is a subject close to my heart, as it's a condition I treat frequently, as well as something I've experienced firsthand with both pregnancies. I had to be especially vigilant looking after my back with my second pregnancy, where I was carrying out physical work both at home with a mischievous toddler and in my clinic treating.
MAIN CAUSES<p>The anatomy of the female pelvis is uniquely designed for childbirth. The hormone relaxin causes ligament laxity around the pelvis to help prepare the body for birth. This, however, can cause an imbalance e.g. Symphysis pubis dysfunction. It's important to keep a strong core to counterbalance this increased mobility.<br> <br>As the uterus grows, abdominal muscles can separate causing problems in the lower back, known as Diastasis Recti. Specific postnatal exercises can however help this to heal.<br> <br>As mentioned, pregnancy can be a stressful period. There is a direct link between emotional wellbeing and back pain. Part of the body's stress response is to tighten muscles e.g. in the lower back. Make sure you incorporate some relaxation/meditation when you can.<br> <br>As the baby grows, the lumbar spine can be pulled forward forming a hyperlordosis. This changes the distribution of forces through the spine, causing symptoms.</p>
TREATMENT<p>The good news is that, depending on the presentation and severity of complaints, most symptoms relating to lower back pain will disappear after the birth. In the meantime, here is how you can help yourself.<br> <br><em>Try and avoid the following:</em><br> <br>Lifting<br>Pushing heavy loads<br>Carrying on one side<br>Staying in one position (sitting or standing) for long periods of time<br>Holding a twisted position.<br> <br><em>Best exercises to relieve pain:</em><br> NB<br>– It's a good idea to have a consultation with a physical therapist.<br>-Be careful lying on your back after twenty weeks as this may affect the blood supply to the baby.<br>-Only do what feels comfortable for you and your baby.<br>-For each exercise-5 breaths inhale/exhale through the nose, repeat x 2/3<br> </p>
Flexion over chair
Squeeze the gluteus muscles away from the thumbs, together x 10, individually x 15.
Engage the pelvic floor by drawing in the deep muscles above your pubic bone up to the navel, squeeze x 5 seconds, repeat x 10
Particularly good if you’re suffering from any sciatic pain.
Tilt the pelvis as if you were lifting it off the floor, then tilt it back down x 10
Gentle knee hugs
Rest and restore
Other top tips<p>-Pelvic brace</p><p>-Keep moving-swimming and walking are great<br>-Postural improvements- tuck your tail bone under and keep legs hip-distance apart. Make sure you squat instead of bending through the back.<br>-Pregnancy pillow</p><p><em>Words: Carla Pozner | <a href="https://l.instagram.com/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cpholistic.com%2F&e=ATPhMFAlJXCIxU2HP26CHIkjeKLAi55eaG8Jlajy6XBrrZgs7_YSOdJQXaKWYG5hHiqXhS55b5SLVHptOVvokmkxGbUwKVZkUezJVg&s=1" target="_blank">www.cpholistic.com</a> | Follow <a href="https://www.instagram.com/carlapozner/" target="_blank">@carlapozner</a></em></p>
When London-based Laura Roso Vidrequin - a senior buyer at Harvey Nichols and mother to baby boy Albert – became a mother for the first time, she noticed that while there were changes in the adult market, the circular economy for children's garments remained largely the same...
She also noticed that second-hand clothes had been deemed as "dirty" for a long time. "Consumers are used to associating second-hand with thrift shops, that are not always taken care of and are often full of old, discarded items that have not been cleaned or organized," she says. It inspired her to launch Kids Oclock, a fashion resale platform where you'll find the best of pre-loved for your babies and toddlers (sizes go from newborn to three years old) and where you can sell, rent, or buy clothes. Because as Laura recently posted on her Instagram account @kids_oclock, there is no planet B.
Let’s start at the beginning – talk us through your career as a buyer and what are some of your favourite moments working for companies such as Net-A-Porter and Moda Operandi?<p>Let's start at the beginning –talk us through your career as a buyer and what are some of your favourite moments working for companies such as Net-A-Porter and Moda Operandi?<br> <br>Born in Paris and raised there, until I moved to NY for my first real job – which was on the other side of buying, I was a wholesale assistant for a French-owned NY-based showroom representing Joseph and Balmain at CDNetwork.<br> <br>To this day, I continue praising the importance of understanding sales before buying. I have joined then many different retail spaces, Moda Operandi, Ralph Lauren/Club Monaco, and more recently Net-a-Porter. I have learnt so much in each of these companies, thanks to the incredible bosses and women I was working with. <br> <br>Moda Operandi was known and built, at the time, 2013, on the trunkshow business mode. When I joined, Lauren Santo Domingo had decided to add the boutique or buy now wear now to the platform. We were a very small team dedicated to source, and purchase collection for that purpose. <br> <br>I am very thankful for all I learnt during my time there, we were a small team, very hands-on. Lauren Santo Domingo was always involved in all decisions which, for us, was an amazing way to learn. <br> <br>To this day, the original modettes are still my closest friends, is it because we all worked so closely and late together? Or is it because we were taught in the same school? Not sure. However, I know they are the most hardworking girls, with the best taste one could have. <br> <br>One of my favorite moments at <a href="https://www.modaoperandi.com/" target="_blank">Moda Operandi,</a> came from we were tasked with building a shop for the 2013 Met Gala, 'Punk: Chaos to Couture'. We had to source all sorts of punk-inspired products from all over the world; mostly from non-fashion vendors. This experience made me feel like a true buyer; we were sourcing unconventional products and displaying them in a way that made them desirable to the fashion community, as opposed to going into a showroom and picking pieces displayed right in front of us. <br> <br>Net-a-Porter on the other hand was already very established when I joined, the impression of building or creating something was a little bit more complicated to achieve. However, the team and Elizabeth (buying director) were amazing at trusting their juniors and let us lead our respected categories. I have learnt so much about communication, trades, and processes. Both experiences are absolutely perfect together, and to me, helped creating the yin and yang of a buyer. </p>
What changes have you seen over the last few years in the circular economy around children’s garments?<p>I don't believe there have been any changes regarding children's garments. I have seen strong brands promoting seasonless garments, or "organic" production. I don't think it is enough. I don't claim to be an expert on sustainability, I am just a buyer with 10 years experience and a mom living in a city where I am exposed to a lot of cool brands. And I think they should lead and give the example. They should be more proactive. </p><p> <br>I have seen many companies use greenwashing, organic, sustainable as a way to position themselves at the center of the environmental conversations within the fashion industry and think that we have to be cautious in the way we use those terms. A marketing tool should not be used by a brand/a retail unless it is an actual adjective of their mission.</p>
How will this pandemic change the fashion industry?<p>I think the fashion industry has already changed since the beginning of this pandemic. The way everyone is having to speak on the issue is great because it will be environmentally impactful and force everyone to take a look at their own habits and practices. <br> <br>The industry doesn't need six collections a year, and the impact that the preconceived need to fly out every buyer, model, and hair or makeup artist to every show in all major cities this many times a year does not help anything, whatsoever. I am in for creativity, conception, imagination, but not at any cost.<br> <br><a href="https://maisoncleo.com/" target="_blank">MaisonCléo</a> is mastering the local creativity. I hope the biggest player will begin to move towards more local resources, using talent around the shoot locations rather than flying in a huge team like we've seen before. <br> <br>It has to start somewhere, brands need to show the responsible way, but consumers should too. Refuse to purchase when there is a lack of transparency in the production chain, or focus their spending on something more sustainable. </p>
Why is there the belief that secondhand clothes, especially in the kids’ category, are dirty?<p>Second-hand has been deemed as "dirty" for a long time. Consumers are used to associating second-hand with thrift shops, that are not always taken care of and are often full of old, discarded items that have not been cleaned or organized. It doesn't have to be dirty, it is actually a mine of gold. There is also a distinction to be made between vintage and pre-loved/ second hand. Vintage falls into silhouettes from the past, items from previous decades. Pre-loved doesn't have to be vintage, while vintage is, by nature, pre-loved. <br> <br>Kids Oclock has been created on the basis that kids' clothes should be worn more than once, but also, built on a trustful community of mums, which, I hope will help eradicate the stigma.</p>
What are some tips for women wanting to make changes to become more sustainable?<p>I am not an expert, but I believe every tiny change can make a difference. When you go grocery shopping, bring your own bags, drink filter tap water if you need to, buy local as much as possible. In London, there are now a lot of local shops that deliver such as <a href="http://farmshop.london/" target="_blank">Farm Shop</a> for your proteins and <a href="https://www.oddbox.co.uk/" target="_blank">Oddbox</a> for your veggies. In regards to living towards a more sustainable closet, few rules. Don't be a keeper, (donate, refresh or sell) what you do not wear. I use<a href="https://www.vestiairecollective.com/" target="_blank"> Vestiaire Collective</a> a lot, whether as a seller, or as a buyer. It is simply a habit to get used to. Take care of your pieces, they will last longer.</p><p>I have three main tips for women who want to become more sustainable:</p><ol><li>Don't be a keeper – get rid of and donate the clothes that you or your children aren't wearing of or have grown out of</li><li>Only buy what you really need and think harder about buying the things that you really want, and be okay with the clothing movement – accepting that fast-fashion has detrimental effects on the industry and our environment</li><li>Start investing in pieces that are slightly more expensive, but made ethically.</li></ol>
What are your thoughts on fast fashion stores such as Zara and H&M?<p>Zara proves to be strong in terms of their imagery and online marketing of their products, but it's a shame that their inspiration derives from many small designers trying to build their brand and create recognition just to create excitement around new trends that are affordable and able to be produced what seems like almost immediately. They are absorbing small designer's creativity without recognizing how impactful it is on their businesses, and I believe they should be more transparent about the realities of production in emerging countries and should be creative when it comes to making real-life changes.</p>
Tell us about your Mums O’Clock category?<p>Mums O'Clock was created as a platform to showcase the women that are the foundation of our community. We post a handful of mothers per month, where they are able to show their lifestyle, with each question asked by us being tailored to their individuality. The goal being to feature their creative input, their lives as mothers, and come up with productive conversation. </p>
What’s life in London like right now?<p>We got extremely lucky during the pandemic as our neighbourhood feels like a village. We have a farmer market every weekend –with strong COVID health and safety guidance – our favourite local food shop remained open, and Hyde Park was open for us to go for a walk. The weather was stunning throughout the whole quarantine so we enjoyed the outdoors as much as possible, which never happens in London. </p>
What has been the most challenging stage of motherhood for you?<p>I think it was the transition from Albie being a newborn to being a baby, around 4 to 8 months. You are no longer a very young mum, so expected to have it together, and I didn't. I realise now I was quite tough with myself, wanting to have it all, a sleepy, yet dynamic baby. I wanted to have my 'me time' back, but would not miss a second of my day without him. I was completely torn all day long between being myself and looking at the situation, which taught me one thing. A baby will not want a perfect mum, but a happy one. I had to teach that concept to my husband too, Mr. Perfectionist, and to make him learn spontaneity and flexibility are keys in parenthood. He is now much more comfortable with the concept, but we had a tough year of learning. Each family gives birth and goes through the first year their own way, but I wish I had been given more warning.</p>
What are some practical tips you can share around time management?<p>I am an early riser, so I do get a lot done in the morning, which is a huge part of mumentreprenurship. I also have baby-proofed the house. 18 months is a challenging age for a baby to be around when launching a business at home. But I really am trusting we should give their responsibility as early as possible, granted there is no danger in the house. So I let Albert play and explore, I put some of his toys out for him to access and he usually can last an hour during the day.</p>
What has kept you sane during this pandemic and what lessons do you hope we will learn from it?<p>I now am sure I can live with my husband and baby, just the three of us, without anyone losing it completely ha. So many good lessons, first of all, I didn't realise I was living a memory until it became one, so will teach me to cherish more the present and the instant. Then I think a big part of this pandemic has been to learn how to let go, not be on top of them, myself nor the schedule… we were happy just going with the flow, but going with it is an art or a sport, and it has to be taught.</p><p>The last thing I learned, which was a big wake up call, is to care, every day, all the time, for others. Since slow life hit us, we're now much more capable of taking time to reflect, and to care for everyone around us – start with a smile, you'll realise how big an impact this has. Look around you, a charity, an elderly person in your building – the crisis has hit hard and every little bit counts.</p>
In a few minutes you can learn a lot from contemporary textile artist Nikita Sheth, namely the importance of quality family time. When she was just two year's old, her family home was burnt down.
Luckily, no one was hurt but it meant she was raised in a home where material possessions came secondary to family dinners and spending quality time with one another. She grew up in a home with "good food and laughs". While it took time for her to embrace her Indian heritage – her dad's family was one of the first Indian (Gujurati) to move from India in the 1950's – she later realised how lucky she was to have it.
Tell us about your childhood. What are some of your most vivid memories?<p>I grew up in a very wholesome, loving family. I'm the eldest of three girls — so there was always a lot of drama (my poor dad!). I was born in Sydney, and my dad's family was one of the first Indian (Gujurati) to move from India in the 1950s. Whereas my mum moved from Mumbai to Sydney after marrying my dad. So we grew up with a real mix of western and Indian culture. It took a while for me to embrace my Indian heritage, but now I realise how lucky I am to have it.</p><p>My family home burnt down when I was two years old. Luckily no one was hurt, but it meant that my family was never precious about "things/material" possessions. Instead, there was a lot of importance placed on family dinners and spending quality time with each other. I remember my childhood home always being filled with family and friends. My mum is a great cook and dad *thinks* he's a bit of a comedian. So it was a house filled with good food and laughs.</p>
Your mother is an artist. Do you think creativity is in your blood or was it something she actively nurtured in you?<p>I think it's something she definitely nurtured in me. From a very young age, she would always take my sisters and me to visit art galleries. Mum was always creating something — attending ceramics classes, painting tracksuit tops with puff paints (ha! So 90s), sewing. And then later she did her MFA at COFA. I think subconsciously I was always watching her…</p>
Tell us a little about your journey into weaving. How did you first pick it up? Was it love at first try?<p>Well, I had a bad break-up in my mid 20's and was looking for something positive to put my energy into. I remember coming across a frame loom on Etsy. I had no idea about weaving but for some reason purchased the loom. There were no YouTube videos or weaving tutorials at the time (it was before the reemergence of weaving). So I pretty much taught myself (with the help of a friend who had studied textiles). I fell in love immediately. I love the tactility of it. And the way it quietened my mind. When I was weaving I couldn't check my phone or do anything else with my hands. It offered me a pause in an emotionally turbulent time of my life. Sounds super cheesy, but I always say: "weaving found me". Since then, I've learned how to use a Japanese Saori loom, which has opened up a lot of creative possibilities as well.</p>
After you had started to teach yourself to weave, your grandfather told you that you are descended from a long line of weavers. Tell us about that?<p>Yes! It was so bizarre. One day my Papaji (my grandfather), came to my mum's house for dinner. I was sitting on the couch weaving. He sat down next to me and started rattling off facts about "patola" weaving (a double ikat woven sari, usually made from silk that originated from Gujarat, India). He then said, "you do know your ancestors were weavers, right?!". I had NO idea. It was a truly bizarre moment. But in a strange way, it also made sense… it perhaps explained why weaving feels so familiar to me. Maybe I did in a past life?</p>
What do you love about weaving?<p>The tactility. I feel like as humans, we're always tapping, swiping, clicking, pressing… it's almost like we're losing our sense of touch. I love the way the thread feels as it runs through my fingers. Or how the finished piece of cloth feels as I run my hands over it. My favourite tools are my hands. I also love how it quiets my mind. When I'm weaving, I can't do anything else with my hands.</p>
What's the most challenging part about it?<p>Time. Warping a loom takes a lot of time. Something which I don't have as much of as any more. It's a bit of an emotional and mental challenge. Last month I had to re-warp my loom three times… because I kept stuffing it up (mainly because I had to keep starting and stopping). It ended with a few (too many) tears of frustration.</p>
You have two young children - did you always know you wanted to be a mother?<p>Yes, I've always wanted to be a mother. I have a beautiful and very special relationship with my mother. And I've always wanted to create the same with my own children. My babies are my best creation. It's a privilege to be their mother. Something I don't take lightly. All I really want is to raise good humans.</p>
How did you find the transition into motherhood? What was the postpartum period like for you the first time?<p>Within 18 months — I was engaged, married, and pregnant with my daughter. She was a wedding night baby and we found out on our honeymoon when we were trekking in Patagonia. Turns out it *wasn't* a bad empanada, but actually morning sickness! I went from being footloose and (very) single to a wife and mum-to-be very quickly! The transition into motherhood went quite smoothly, but only because I have a great support network of family and friends. Adjusting to the new demands took a bit of time, but I quickly learnt that I can't do everything. During my postpartum period, I taught myself to rest. Something, which doesn't come naturally. I'm always doing 101 things at once. I also never read any pregnancy or baby books — so I really depended on my intuition to guide me. Allira was a very happy, easy-going baby too, so I think I got lucky there. </p>
How is life with two?<p>Well, we've actually just found out we're expecting another baby. So next year, I'll have three under 3.5 years. It was a "happy" surprise, very unexpected, and definitely NOT planned. But as my mum says: "this little soul is eager to join your family….". Life with two is a lot of fun but has been a real adjustment. The jump from one to two little people is a big one. I've always loved my "me time", something which is pretty non-existent these days. But, I'm lucky to have married a very domesticated man who is an absolutely amazing (and very present) dad. We're a good team. </p>
You often talk about snatching pockets of nap time to weave and be creative. How do you juggle your art with little ones under your feet? Do they like to try their hand at the loom?<p>I believe creativity is a muscle. One that you can train yourself to activate when needed. When I do get tiny moments, I launch into my creative zone. No time for procrastination. I always keep my weaving tools ready. So if I do find myself with some time during the day, I can get to work straight away. I've always been a morning person. But these days, my starts are getting earlier and earlier. I often jump on my loom at 4:45am. I love the darkness. The quiet. We live right on the bush, so it's quite magical watching the sunrise and the morning light come down on my loom.</p><p>I've also found a way to include Allira (2.5yrs) and Mason (1yr) into my creative process. We go on little bushwalks and make sculptural arrangements together or I cut up pieces of wool and let them play whilst I weave. One of the best parts of motherhood is watching how my kids see everything with a beginners mind. Their excitement. Awe. Curiosity. At the tiniest things. </p>
What role does your Indian heritage play in your approach to weaving? You work with a lot of sari fabric - is it purely aesthetic or do you like the metaphor of weaving culture into your work?<p>It's a bit of both, but primarily it's a symbolic nod to my maternal lineage, ancestors and culture.</p>
You also write poetry and bring textiles into your poems. Have you always been drawn to different mediums?<p>I've always loved writing. And one day it's my dream to bring both my poetry and artwork together. I'm not sure how yet. I'm fascinated by the way so much of our language is tied to textile metaphors. My poems are a way for me to communicate my ideas, stories and emotions. Often my poetry informs and is the starting point for my work.</p><p>This was especially true in my recent joint exhibition with my mum — "Storing & Remembering".</p>
We live in such a digital age. Do you think there's something special about preserving an ancient and very manual art like weaving?<p>Yes, completely. I love imperfections and celebrate flaws. Such imperfections embody the human hand. Something which I believe machines and technology can never truly replicate. </p>
What does an average day in your house look like?<p>Every day is different. But a common thread is it is total chaos. By the end of the day, it looks like someone has robbed our house. But my rule is, at night all toys are to be packed away (so they can't be seen). After 7:30 pm, I want an "adult-space" as it gives me mental space too!</p>
What's on your list of loves?<p><a href="https://books.google.com.au/books/about/A_Slow_Childhood.html?id=d3DLtAEACAAJ&redir_esc=y" target="_blank"><em>A Slow Childhood</em></a> by Helen Hayward (the only parenting book I've ever read and re-read. It is so honest, raw and powerful).<br><a href="https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/ladies-we-need-to-talk/id1277424411" target="_blank">Ladies, We Need To Talk (Podcast)</a><br><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8089592/" target="_blank">Little Fires Everywhere</a> (TV show – based on Celeste Ng's book)<br>Oatly milk (I'm obsessed) <br>Homemade hummus (I LOVE hummus… all day, every day)<br><a href="http://www.paulgraham.com/vb.html" target="_blank">This beautiful essay by Paul Graham</a><br><a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41552704-the-art-of-noticing" target="_blank">The Art of Noticing</a><br><a href="https://onbeing.org/series/podcast/" target="_blank">On Being with Krista Tippet</a> (Podcast)</p>
We're officially at the half way point. And this has been one of the first winters where I haven't wished it away.
Maybe because we've had no choice but to get nice and cosy because of COVID-19 or because I've made my home more of a retreat, but I'm enjoying these colder months far more than years past.
"My sister, Rebecca, and I are extremely close. We must speak to each other about five times a day. She has four children as well and her boys are a few years older than Henry. She is my best friend, my go-to for just about everythingSometimes I feel like she's the only one who truly gets it all," says Sydney-based mother of four Louise Manning on her bond with her sister. She grew up in a busy household, and a big family of her own was something she always dreamed of.
Louise studied fashion design and went on to work for Eva Galambos at Parlour X throughout her early 20's. She studied interior design before her son Henry arrived. "I knew that, if it were possible, I wanted to be at home with my children, so I feel lucky that I'm able to do that. My family is my work and I'm extremely proud of them. I don't take it for granted that I can stay at home. I still love interiors and fashion and I will pursue something in that space down the track but at this moment I'm so happy and grateful to be doing what I am doing," she says.
What was your own childhood like?<p>I grew up on the northern beaches of Sydney in a big family with my mum, stepfather, sister, brother and step sister. My father also has two daughters with his second wife so I have two half-sisters as well. It was happy and busy and sometimes complex but I wouldn't change it. I'm really grateful for all of my siblings and parents. My sister, Rebecca, and I are extremely close. We must speak to each other about five times a day. She has four children as well and her boys are a few years older than Henry. She is my best friend, my go-to for just about everything, and sometimes I feel like she's the only one who truly gets it all. I felt very prepared when I had my first child and I have her to thank for that. Because of the age difference with our boys, if I ever have a question about something it's very likely she's worked it out a couple of years earlier. My sister, Jennayah, has three girls too so there are 11 cousins in our big and blended family so far. Getting together with everyone can be hard to coordinate with all of us but we try and get back to my parents' house that we grew up in as much as we possibly can. When everyone is there together it's really special and we feel like it keeps us grounded and connected. </p>
Did you always want to be a mother?<p>Always. I never dreamed of doing anything else. I knew I wanted to be a mother and I always hoped for a big family. I've known James since high school and we got married when we were 26. Henry was born a year after that and Lola our fourth child last year. Having children was always my priority and today, I feel so lucky to be doing this.</p>
What did life look like for you before becoming a parent?<p>I studied fashion design briefly and realised I loved fashion but designing was not the path for me. After that, I was lucky enough to get a job working for Eva Galambos at <a href="https://www.parlourx.com/" target="_blank">Parlour X</a>, which was like a family. I worked there through my early 20's, had so much fun and learnt so much about the various parts of the industry. I worked in fashion for a few years after leaving Parlour X and then studied interior design just before I had Henry. </p>
Did becoming a mother change the way you viewed your career or your ambitions?<p>Not really. I knew that, if it were possible, I wanted to be at home with my children, so I feel lucky that I'm able to do that. My family is my work and I'm extremely proud of them. I don't take it for granted that I can stay at home. I still love interiors and fashion and I will pursue something in that space down the track but at this moment I'm so happy and grateful to be doing what I am doing. </p>
What do you remember about the early newborn days?<p>The early days are my most treasured. They are pretty magic. I could do the first 6 weeks over and over again. Breastfeeding has never come naturally to me. I breastfed Henry for a year and each subsequent child got less and less until Lola who only got three weeks! I find it the most challenging part of having a new baby. The pain (and bleeding nipples) is real. For me it's also a really beautiful way to bond so it was sad to stop feeding Lola so early. It was the best decision for us though. I made up for it with loads of skin to skin and I wore her in a wrap or carrier as much as possible. There's nothing quite like having your baby that close to you while they sleep. </p>
What surprised you most about motherhood?<p>I knew the love would be there. I understood how enormous that feeling would be. What I wasn't expecting was the anxiety that came along with it. It's one of the hardest parts for me. Watching my big kids grow up and become more independent is at once beautiful and terrifying. I'm so proud of who they are becoming and I want them to experience everything this life has to offer but at the same time I would like to keep them safe at home with me for the rest of our days. It's a tricky one to navigate. It also took me a long time to accept that I wasn't going to love every minute of being a mother. Like all other aspects of life, there are good days and bad. Parts of the job we love and parts that aren't so fun. Parenting is no different. Once I realised no one loves every single aspect of their work I found a great deal more confidence in my role as a mother. </p>
What does a typical day look like for you today?<p>My boy wakes up at 5am every morning and potters about the house playing LEGO or drawing before anyone else is up. Listening to him have the house to himself is the best way to wake up. I can hear him downstairs making his own breakfast and lately he's been trying out the new piano. I love the idea of him being downstairs with no interruptions, just being himself. In a family like ours being on your own is rare so hearing him like that every morning is joy. I get up soon after him and get the day going. James leaves for the office at about 6.30 and then I leave with the kids at 7.30 to start the school run. We have some glorious slow mornings with cuddles in bed, cooked eggs for breakfast, everyone's teeth brushed without asking and time to stop for a coffee on the way to school. We also have some pretty hectic ones where breakfast is a piece of fruit eaten in the car and one of the big kids giving Lola her first bottle of the day while I silently curse Sydney traffic. One thing we always do is have songs on in the car. I turn the music up and take requests from the kids. No matter how stressful getting out the door was it puts everyone in a good mood by the time we get to school.</p>
How do you approach dressing each morning? Do you subscribe to a uniform?<p>Yes. Simplicity is key for me. <a href="https://www.pippaholt.com/" target="_blank">Pippa Holt Kaftans</a> and jumpsuits and <a href="https://lucyfolk.com/collections/boiler-suits" target="_blank">Lucy Folk boiler suits</a> have saved me recently. They keep me cool in the summer months and are quick and chic with my limited time in the morning. I tend to dress very casually so I love Golden Goose or Chanel sneakers to keep things fun. In winter, I will most definitely go back to my <a href="https://www.wardrobe.nyc/" target="_blank">WARDROBE.NYC</a> staples. Everything in their edits are black or white and work back with everything else in my closet. I live in their zip front leggings and have three of the same pair. I don't wear jeans often so these are my staples with a white shirt or T-shirt and a black merino sweater. This season I might pair them with combat boots to keep it current but I'm pretty straightforward when it comes to winter dressing. </p>
What about beauty and skincare?<p>I've been using <a href="https://www.rationale.com/" target="_blank">Rationale</a> for about four years. It's the first time I've ever used anything religiously as It was only once I was in my 30's that I started to think about skincare. I also have a facial with Lowry at <a href="https://allsaintsclinic.com.au/" target="_blank">All Saints Skin Clinic</a> in Double Bay every six weeks or so. I get my brows done at <a href="https://www.kristinfisher.com.au/" target="_blank">Kristin Fisher eyebrows</a> in Double Bay and my cut and colour by Ash Croker at <a href="https://thesalonbyashcroker.com/" target="_blank">The Salon in Clovelly.</a> I walk outdoors every single day so I use <a href="https://ultraviolette.com.au/" target="_blank">Ultraviolette</a> sunscreen on my face and I always try to remember to wear a cap. </p>
Do you feel mother’s guilt? If so, how do you work through it?<p>Of course! Guilt is a normal if not entirely useful part of the human condition. I'm not a perfect mother. I'm not always as calm as I should be and often I feel stretched between these four little people and their needs. How to work through it? I just keep it in perspective and look at the big picture. When I watch my children and speak to my children, they are happy, they are kind and they feel safe. As long as we've got that going, I know I'm doing my job well. In other words, I don't sweat the small stuff! </p>
What do you do to make time for yourself?<p>I walk every day. It's my version of meditation. I have three kids at school and one baby who is an excellent sleeper so at the moment there is some downtime in school hours. What I find harder but so important is finding time for James and I. It's so easy for that to come second when we have work and babies to think about but I always want to feel excited to go on a date with my husband! If we're lucky in life and health we'll get to grow old together but it takes work so I make our relationship a priority. We usually leave the big kids with a babysitter on Sunday afternoons so we can have a meal together or just walk the dog and chat. </p>
What type of mother do you aspire to be?<p>I hope that my children look back at their childhood and feel they were loved unconditionally, that they were heard and respected, encouraged to work hard and guided through challenging times. So, I work on being a gentle, compassionate person with the tools to be firm and kind when they need it. I try and parent together with James as much as possible. When we are on the same page it's so much easier for the kids. </p>
What does a typical dinner look like in your house?<p>James tries to get home for dinner a couple of nights a week and these nights are my favourite. We all sit down together (even Lola joins us in the bouncer at the end of the table) and talk about our day. What was the best/funniest/yuckiest thing that happened today? It's amazing how much you can get out of them with a few simple questions like that. I love cooking and I generally cook one meal for the adults and a simplified version for the children. Friday night is usually pizza on the couch and a family movie. </p>
How do you stay organised and on top of things? Do you have any mum hacks?<p>Lunchboxes completely packed the night before. Uniforms laid out. All the various sports bags packed on a Sunday night. Proper schedules for each child. It keeps me in control when I can glance and know exactly where each child needs to be that afternoon. The biggest 'mum hack' I have is saying yes to the genuine offers of help. I'm still learning to let go and let other people help out but it's lovely to know we are part of a network of friends so willing to help each other. And obviously the most important thing is knowing the best laid plans can fall apart and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. </p>
What’s currently on your list of loves?<p>A <a href="https://row.pjt.com/pages/femme" target="_blank">PJohnson Femme suit</a>. I ordered one in dark red silk. <br><a href="https://www.happiestbaby.com/" target="_blank">The Snoo</a> – the most high tech baby bassinet on the market. It rocks all night to encourage sleep. I was sceptical but it has proven itself the MVP baby item in our house. I wish I'd had it for all my babies. <br>My <a href="https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=Artipoppe+baby+carrier&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8" target="_blank">Artipoppe baby carrier</a> – Like an ergo but chic!<br>Home cooking – currently I'm using all the recipes from<a href="https://www.thehostess.com.au/about/?doing_wp_cron=1594879899.4941120147705078125000" target="_blank"> Stephanie Conley's cookbook</a> 'At home with The Hostess'. Yummy simple to make dishes. I love to cook but baking is a skill I'm still perfecting so I'm happy to report all of the baking recipes from this book have been a success for me so far!<br>Centennial park – during the week I love to walk there with Lola and our dog Wolf. On the weekends there are so many different areas to explore with the big kids.<br>My two favourite restaurants in Sydney are <a href="https://merivale.com/venues/berts/" target="_blank">Bert's in Newport</a> and <a href="https://www.bistroboulevard.com.au/web/" target="_blank">Bistro Boulevard</a> in Avalon. I dream about moving back to the northern beaches full time but visiting as much as we can keeps it a really special place for our family. <br>Magazines. Real paper magazines. Architectural Digest, World of Interiors, Habitus, Elle decor, Vogue Living and Belle are my favourites but I love them all. <br>Succession – James and I love a good television series. This does not disappoint.<br>Monogrammed items. Pouches from <a href="https://www.cubandscout.com/" target="_blank">Cub and Scout</a> and towels from <a href="https://themonogrammode.com/" target="_blank">The Monogram Mode</a> are scattered throughout my home and keep it feeling chic and organised.<br>My new iPhone 11 – for photos of my children, staying connected to friends and news. I love Instagram, I mainly follow my close friends, interior design accounts and news publications. <br>Bottega Veneta or The Row combat boots – these are high on my winter Wishlist and hopefully my next purchase. </p>
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.
Georgie Abay On Friendship, New Year Intentions & The Clarins Extra-Firming Neck & Décolleté Cream She’s Adding To Her Skincare Regime
It takes a village to raise a child. If I were to reflect on my journey as a mother, this rings truer than anything else. We all need help. We all need a village. We all need a friend who we can do a drive-by and drop off our kids for our hour while we regain our sanity...
We've all experienced the isolation that can come from becoming a mother for the first time. Those feelings of being disconnected from the rest of the world. For mothers, community is our lifeline. Creating a modern village is what makes us happy parents.
I met financial planner, best-selling author (her new book Mindful Money is out now) and founder of Sugar Mamma Canna Campbell many years ago. We actually went to school together, but being in different grades, we never connected. It wasn't until years later, through a mutual friend, that we really got to know each other. Fast-forward 10 or so years and I couldn't imagine life without her. We've been in the trenches together (we still are) and we've seen the best and worst of one another. We've watched one another start businesses, write books, have breakdowns over the stress of new motherhood and we've leaned on one another constantly. We've shared everything from skincare secrets to sleepless nights and more.
" We've watched one another start businesses, write books, have breakdowns over the stress of new motherhood and we've leaned on one another constantly. We've shared everything from skincare secrets to sleepless nights and more "
Canna Campbell On The Clarins Extra-Firming Neck & Décolleté Cream She's Adding To Her Regime<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dede4f234edf91a3d38accc37713ee13"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wLQR3uPVJ9o?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Zoë Foster Blake, former beauty editor, skincare guru and GRACE magazine cover girl, famously said: “your face stops at your boobs". It's true – the delicate...</p><p>The skin of the neck and décolletage is fragile. With the constant movements of the head, the skin of the neck is stretched and creased throughout the day (especially if you're tucking your chin in to stare down at your phone or computer screen for long periods – guilty!), encouraging wrinkles and lines to form more easily.</p><p>And while I always imagined ageing gracefully, the reality of coming face to face with pigmentation spots, wrinkles, skin sagging and altogether not-so-bouncy skin in the mirror was more confronting than I'd been prepared for. Any mother will confirm that motherhood accelerates ageing at an alarming rate. The combination of approximately 29,000 hours of lost sleep (an estimation, but probably not far off), non-existent time for self-care, and the added stress of tantrums, childcare fees and general mum-guilt, creates a perfect storm for ageing to really make itself at home on our faces.</p><p>Thanks, then, to the clever team at Clarins, who took inspiration from the movement of the sunflower stem (genius!) to develop <a href="https://www.clarins.com.au/extra-firming-neck-decollete/?utm_source=gracetales&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=29/01/2020-2020_efneck&utm_content=article-link" target="_blank">Extra-Firming Neck & Décolleté.</a> Sunflower extracts in the formula improve the elasticity and firmness of the flexible neck and décolleté area, boosting the skin's resistance to daily bending and rotating while protecting against harmful indoor and outdoor pollutants. The combination of anti-ageing powerhouse ingredients Kangaroo Flower and Organic Mitracarpus plant extracts helps smooth lines, firm, and lift. Organic Desert Date plant extract targets dark spots for a more even skin tone (goodbye, pregnancy pigmentation that never quite departed). And boasting a heavenly sounding combination of Organic Oat Sugars plant extract, Leaf of life and Shea oil, the melting cream formula applies with a lightweight and surprisingly non-oily finish.</p>
Canna Campbell using Clarins Extra-Firming Neck & Décolleté, $112
So, together with Canna, I'll be firming up my skincare range this year. Because as Nora Ephron writes in her collection of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck: "Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth. You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn't if it had a neck." If only someone had told Nora about the Clarins Extra-Firming range. I also won't be taking my village for granted. Because while friends enrich every stage of our life, friendships during motherhood are what keeps us sane, they're what keeps our head above water.
We've heard that so many of you delight in reading the stories of our members across the world, and we know this week's subject will be no different.
As the founder of Luxuosa Residences, the wonderful Joanna White may soon be your go-to woman when it comes to booking luxurious, family-friendly holidays. We were delighted to speak to Joanna about her road to becoming a business owner, how she manages the work-life juggle and of course, her top travel picks. We're ready to pack our bags and come right with you, Joanna!