Trusty linen blouses from Worn Store, cosy knit pants from St. Agni, cashmere jumpers, bassike cotton jersey pants…
Ella McCabe Barton is listing her maternity wear staples (and we're taking note). The mother-to-be grew up in England and moved to Australia three years ago. She met her partner and that was that – Australia is now home. After deciding that she didn't want to just holiday in Byron Bay – she wanted to call it her home – she tapped into the creative community and landed a job at Tigmi Trading (one of our favourite home goods brands). Here, we catch up on everything from how she's navigating pregnancy to her love of swimwear brand Hakea Swim (worn throughout this story).
What are some great pregnancy resources you can share?<p>Self-care and making time each day to connect in, in whatever capacity that may be. I have had a daily yoga practice since the age of 18 and it has been the greatest gift and resource in my life. Having the time to connect in daily and be an observer to this wonderful life unfolding feels very important. My practice has evolved considerably over the years and now is less focused on the physical and more so on meditation and breath.</p><p> There are many wonderful support networks and resources available and at the beginning I found myself listening to many podcasts and talking to other women about their experiences. However, as my pregnancy develops, the inclination to go inward feels more and more important. I feel incredibly privileged to be a woman transitioning through this rite of passage into motherhood and trust that if I nurture from the inside – mother nature will allow things to unfold just as it should.</p>
How has your pregnancy been so far?<p>So far, the pregnancy has been a wonderful experience. The pure joy of coming to realise that you have created a new life and that your body is creating space to nurture is quite incredible. I have definitely allowed myself to surrender to whatever it needs – mostly sleep! I did get a little nausea which started around week 7/8 and dissipated around week 12 and since then I have been feeling great. </p>
How did you feel when you first felt your baby kick?<p>The most surreal and amazing experience! It took me by surprise. I had just sat down to have my tea one morning (at about 18 weeks) and all of a sudden there were 2-3 large thumps in my lower abdomen. I giggled to myself and then found myself talking to my belly. It was a couple of weeks until my partner felt it moving and when he finally did, it was incredibly special.</p>
Any food cravings?<p>The first trimester I was off a lot of foods and definitely craving more carbohydrates, however I haven't really strayed too far off my normal diet. I did, the other day, get a very strong craving for liquorice!</p>
What beauty products have you used throughout your pregnancy?<p>I have always kept a fairly simple beauty regime and I haven't changed anything during this pregnancy. I use <a href="https://www.dermaviduals.com.au/" target="_blank">Dermaviduals</a> on my face and I enjoy regular facials at <a href="https://www.aestheticabyronbay.com/" target="_blank">Aesthetica</a>, here in Byron Bay – it always leaves by skin feeling nourished, especially in winter! I truly believe that beauty starts from within and that what you put in will also transpire on the outside. I always start my day with a hot lemon drink and supplements where needed.</p>
What self-care rituals do you have in your life?<p>Self-care for me comes in many forms. In addition to my daily yoga practice, it is important for me to be in nature daily. Whether it is a walk, a swim or a surf, taking time to connect makes such a difference to how I feel.</p>
Has your approach to diet and exercise changed since you fell pregnant?<p>I have definitely slowed down. Exercise is still part of daily life, but I have modified my practice and I am continually tuning into what my body needs. When it comes to diet, I find myself often walking around our local markets or grocery stores to just buy what I feel like eating that day.</p>
Tell me about your work with Hakea Swim?<p>Casey has become a dear friend over the years and I absolutely love working with her and <a href="https://hakeaswim.com/" target="_blank">Hakea</a>. Her swimwear feels amazing (especially in the surf) and her creative input behind the brand makes it even more special. They are timeless pieces that wear incredibly well and fit all shapes and sizes. We are all big fans in my family!</p>
If you could write some words to your unborn child, what would you write?<p>You are surrounded in love, having come from infinite love, you are one of the many individual expressions of that infinite love, you are simply love in action journeying back to infinite love.</p>
How have you approached maternity dressing – what brands do you gravitate to?<p>To be honest, it took a little while for a bump to make an appearance and I managed to get away with wearing most of my clothes for quite some time. Now it has become trickier, but I do have some key pieces that are getting a lot of wear. We are very lucky to have some great brands on our doorstep here in Byron Bay! I have a few trusty linen blouses from <a href="https://wornstore.com.au/" target="_blank">Worn Store</a>, cosy knit pants from<a href="https://www.st-agni.com/" target="_blank"> St. Agni </a>– these layered with a cashmere jumper seem to be my staples these days. Oh, and also the cotton jersey pants from Bassike.</p>
How would you describe life in Byron Bay?<p>It really is a wonderful life here. Having moved from London three years ago, transitioning from a busy life working in the interiors industry to this… well, it doesn't compare. Here, it is possible to experience the right work and life balance that is hard to find in most parts of the world. In addition, we are surrounded by the most incredible nature and by a wonderful creative community. I have made many beautiful friends who are like an extended family and almost make up for my family who I miss dearly back in the UK.</p>
Tell us about your career path and where you are now in your career?<p>Having grown up in London and the South coast of England, I have always had a keen eye for design. I studied at London College of Fashion and at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, specialising in textile design. Having completed my degree, I started working in the interiors industry as an interior stylist and continued to do so, working on numerous editorial and commercial projects until I moved to Australia. After sometime here in Australia, I decided that I didn't want Byron Bay to just be another holiday, and I started to put some feelers out for creative opportunities when I met Danielle, the founder of <a href="https://tigmitrading.com/" target="_blank">Tigmi Trading</a>. I have now worked alongside her for more than two years, as creative producer, trade manager and product developer.</p>
What’s your favourite way to start the day?<p>I like to start my day practicing yoga or, in the summer, with a swim in the ocean.</p>
Last book you read?<p>I have a whole stack of books that I am currently dipping in and out of in the lead up to childbirth. These include '<a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-first-forty-days-heng-ou/book/9781617691836.html" target="_blank">The first forty days</a>', '<a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/ina-may-s-guide-to-childbirth-ina-may-gaskin/book/9780553381153.html" target="_blank">Ina May gaskin's guide to Childbirth</a>', '<a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/birthing-from-within-pam-england/book/9780965987301.html" target="_blank">Birthing from within'</a>, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Sadhana-Mothers-Sharmila-Desai/dp/1906756309" target="_blank">'Yoga sadhana for mothers</a>'… All are wonderful reads!</p>
Last Podcast your listened to?<p>Oh, it has been a while since the last time I 'plugged in'! I used to listen to podcasts weekly while enjoying an infrared sauna session at <a href="https://www.nimbusco.com.au/" target="_blank">Nimbus and Co</a>, here in Byron Bay. My most listened to subscription is <a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/204933/awake-in-the-world-by-michael-stone/" target="_blank">'Awake in the world' by Michael Stone,</a> a wonderful meditation teacher who passed a few years ago. His workshops were all record and each time I listen to him, his message seems to come at the perfect time.</p>
When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I remember being handed a list from a friend of the items I needed to buy for my impending arrival.
While she was (and remains) a good friend, it took most of my strength not to pop that list straight into the bottom of the box that contained my high waisted jeans and the heels that my feet would never again squeeze into.
Because this list was not only housed in Excel with multiple tabs (that should have been a giveaway), it also sent me to websites that appeared to have been built in 1990, with products that were so colourful and so plastic that my brain began to promptly shut down.
Frankly Eco Natural Sunscreen SPF 50+ Vegan<p>As a natural redhead, it goes without saying that I have had a long and complex relationship with sunscreen. And while only one of my sons inherited my colouring, I did manage to pass on my extreme skin sensitivity to all three. (They lucked out in the gene pool, didn't they?)</p><p>In fact, I'll never forget my eldest son's third birthday pool party, when his skin broke out in such spectacular hives after an application of "child-friendly" sunscreen, that every one of the grandparents suggested we cancel the celebrations. Very helpful after hours of cake decorating and with twenty toddlers ready to descend; thanks.</p><p>So, let's just say that finding a safe, effective sunscreen for the Hahn family has been a priority. Enter Frankly Eco. This all-natural sunscreen is SPF 50+, is water resistant and most importantly, doesn't contain chemical UV absorbers. The formula is gentle, smells deliciously of vanilla and coconut, and as well as providing a physical sun barrier, it nourishes and moisturises the skin. What's more, it's not greasy, goes on clear and dries quickly. Basically, it's everything I want in a sunscreen for my little people and it's a mainstay in my handbag.</p><p><a href="https://thememo.com.au/products/natural-sunscreen-1?_pos=1&_sid=5a1a95b22&_ss=r" target="_blank"><em>Shop the sunscreen</em></a></p>
Frank Green Franksters Ceramic Reusable Cup<p>We are a diehard Frank Green family – my coffee keep cup is never not by my side, and my husband proudly presents his monogrammed version at our local café every morning.</p><p>Of course, whatever a parent owns, a child desires. While I'm not giving in to my children's requests for coffee just yet, an equally gorgeous cup of their own has seen us through.</p><p>These Franksters ceramic cups are as delightful as they are practical. They fit in little hands, squeeze easily into car cup holders, and are triple-walled to keep temperatures stable. As you'd expect, the cups are BPA free, with a handy drink spout and carry strap to make water-drinking a no-brainer.</p><p><a href="https://thememo.com.au/products/franksters-ceramic-reusable-cup-10oz?_pos=2&_sid=623c1fbe6&_ss=r" target="_blank"><em>Shop the cup</em></a></p>
Maeva Resort Stripe Short Set<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://thegracetales.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ4MTc1My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjQ4NzMxMH0.SHzMIINgO--cxfYRCINsmasi8Vcr0c7yBypuN1HZWSY/image.jpg?width=980" id="f55b1" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7657a3880bca18f59db91d220dfec2ff" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Ena Body Oil<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://thegracetales.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ4MTc1NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwMzY0ODI1N30.Ip3J6uCoA8C2ymJM4CLbI0ofiBOASuV0icCSqLhYthc/image.jpg?width=980" id="87ee6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fe69dbb6152229d6249bf7cb91adab63" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Peepo!<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://thegracetales.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ4MTc1NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MjMwODg0Nn0.vkGaYdU_sMX8xglHbRR6SlvLMP0O0kNYRKvJ4x5Ts8E/image.jpg?width=980" id="dff19" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e87bdae2610d5b8d4717a7bc6cdb914d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Liewood Mr Bear Four Piece Feeding Set<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://thegracetales.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ4MTc1Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzODg2MjQ5NH0.goS2AHFuwKVKm1WYM80WlocLwMe9LwGAjN_eBtDKDeg/image.jpg?width=980" id="f6af8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="69194354bd92d219829a9fe62ea6fdcc" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Dr Bronner Organic 4 in 1 Hands, Face, Hair and Body Soap<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://thegracetales.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ4MTc1Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMDMxMzcxM30.vFaLUcUn_Fw0BW90xGG28Xbb1GFFu96enD12aEtJMcY/image.jpg?width=980" id="ca014" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="de5b34c4c68493c0846078dfb0c84bf7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Liewood Sylvester Wash Cloth Trio<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://thegracetales.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ4MTc1OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NjMxNDg4MH0.v1qALRY6x97qfq9kcfnLhwSv8bmzVPH_tXtHWIgMYDg/image.jpg?width=980" id="99380" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="140f54d86ed56cae3a9403f6eb8a87a1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Cam Cam Copenhagen Muslin Swaddle Wrap<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://thegracetales.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ4MTc1OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwMjM1NTE4M30.k2JeorYO283_4EwQsc1UdXVrRaJzthibNwZ6ZkpdJT8/image.jpg?width=980" id="86538" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b20de456b5f6cc8e3b4483f3721736bb" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Jnr Life Boom Boom Oval Play Mat<p>Six years ago, when my eldest was born, I am 99% sure that there was not a baby floor mat which did not contain primary colours or a cartoon animal motif. Because if there was, I would have found it. Instead of reducing my newborn and our lounge room to that option, I opted instead for three layers of soft baby blankets for tummy time.</p><p>Parents of today won't know that same struggle, thanks to Jnr Life, who seem to have been among the first to realise that play mats can be beautiful. The mats feature a geometric pattern on one side and a grip feature on the other, with padding that is soft enough for babies, without turning your lounge room into a makeshift play centre. While it's easy to roll up to take on outings, I guarantee you'll also be happy leaving this one out and proud.</p><p><a href="https://thememo.com.au/products/boom-boom-oval-play-mat?_pos=7&_sid=e415e6530&_ss=r" target="_blank"><em>Shop the mat</em></a></p>
A final note on St Kilda Mums…<p>St Kilda Mums rehomes pre-loved nursery goods to support Victorian families in need, while saving the earth's precious resources. They collect, sort and redistribute essential nursery equipment, clothing, books and toys for babies and school age children and are now partnering with the memo. the memo will donate 5% all proceeds from gift registries to St Kilda Mums, and will also provide product donations while generating awareness of this remarkable cause. <a href="https://www.stkildamums.org/" target="_blank"><em>Find out more here</em></a>.</p>
If it feels like it's impossible to separate any form of health and wellness news without a social media plug or fad, we get it. As much as we're all on a path to live our best lives, exercise regularly and drink our bodyweight in green juice and water, the reality is often a tad different than what's perceived on a smartphone, but there's one health brand and space that truly is the real deal and so much more than an Instagram post - Bodyism…
The UK-founded club and wellness brand encompasses everything good about fitness and health minus the fluff. While the gyms incorporate the very best physical, mental and emotional wellbeing support, the supercharged supplements (which you can get your hands on via Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter) are both body and beauty-boosting sachets of magic. In short, if you're looking for an all-over holistic approach to fitness and health, this is your one-stop shop.
We caught up with Bodyism's CEO, Nathalie Schyllert, who has worked with the brand in almost every facet, from personal trainer to product development and everything in between, to find out how she incorporates health and fitness into her own busy life with two children, and were so inspired by her realistic yet committed approach to it all. From how her background in ballet has helped her role, to her relaxed yet educated take on food, exercise and motherhood, we took away so much from this chat with Nathalie and know you will too.
Bodyism is so much more than just one aspect of health and wellness, can you briefly explain all that it entails?<p>Our philosophy at <a href="https://bodyism.com/" target="_blank">Bodyism</a> is based on the four pillars of health: movement, mindset, nutrition and sleep. This is a more holistic approach to fitness and it's what sets <a href="https://bodyism.com/" target="_blank">Bodyism</a> apart from other gyms. Members of our Notting Hill club not only have our personal trainers on hand, but they also have access to our nutritionist and naturopath, as well as 'best in class' beauty treatments and massages. We also encourage members to incorporate different styles of training into their programmes. For example, if a member loves hardcore HIIT training, we usually recommend that they mix it up with low intensity activities like yoga or pilates. We find that this rounded approach is much more sustainable and enjoyable in the long term. It's so important to have both a healthy mind and healthy body. Even if you're working out every single day, you won't get the results you want if you're not sleeping properly as this is so detrimental to physical and mental health. This is why our trainers really get to know our members and are able to give them lifestyle advice in addition to their physical training program.</p>
How did you first become involved with Bodyism and what led you to your current role as CEO?<p>11 years ago I began my career in wellness as a Personal Trainer with <a href="https://bodyism.com/" target="_blank">Bodyism</a>. After a couple of years, I got involved with membership sales and started to enjoy the admin side of the business more and more. I then co-founded the Activewear range for <a href="https://bodyism.com/" target="_blank">Bodyism</a> seven years ago whilst managing the gym business. In 2016, I was appointed CEO of the business, overseeing 8 sites worldwide and our supplement range that is exclusive to Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter. I really see the value of having done so many different roles within the company. It's much easier to manage the team since I've done many of their roles earlier in my career. My role is very versatile and I truly love seeing our <a href="https://bodyism.com/" target="_blank">Bodyism</a> clients worldwide develop, becoming happier, healthier and stronger.</p>
You were once a dancer in your hometown of Sweden, how did fitness fall into the picture and do you still dance today?<p>I was in the Royal Ballet school in Sweden but I had to stop my dancing career early at the age of 15 as I had an injury in my foot that would be difficult to fix. Instead I focused on my academic education and I started to go to the gym around the age of 16. I tried a lot of different styles of exercise styles such as boxing and spinning. I quickly found out that the training styles that works best for my body were the ones using my own body weight instead of heavier weights. I found a way to tone my body more than bulking up. This was especially important to me at the time since I was modelling. It's very much what we also do today at <a href="https://bodyism.com/" target="_blank">Bodyism</a>, a mix of training that is toning the body in a more gentle way. I also started yoga regularly about 12 years ago and it has helped me in so many ways, both physically and mentally. I think my ballet background has helped me a lot in my different careers both in modelling, as a personal trainer and now as a CEO. It's helped me to not only understand my body but has also taught me discipline and hard work. I do still enjoy dancing with our amazing barre and dance/sculpt instructors.</p>
You’re a mother of two with a demanding career that includes a lot of travel, how do you fit exercise and healthy habits into your daily routine?<p>When I'm in London I'm based in our flagship club in Notting Hill, so it's easier for me to fit in exercise during my work day. I usually do 5 different classes per week and I do a mix of Barre, Yoga, Pilates and our signature Blueprint class. When I'm travelling I usually travel to one of our Bodyism locations so then I try to fit in some PT or Yoga sessions with our resident trainers. Both in Notting Hill and our other locations we offer <a href="https://bodyism.com/" target="_blank">Bodyism</a> approved food and drinks, so it's much easier to make healthy choices everyday. On flights I usually bring some salads and healthy snacks so I don't have to eat the plane food. I also usually book in for a massage for when I arrive at the hotel after a flight to reduce water retention and tension in the body.</p>
Do you incorporate any healthy habits in your kids’ routines, if so, can you tell us what and how?<p>Yes, my kids both do Kid's Yoga at <a href="https://bodyism.com/" target="_blank">Bodyism</a> and they try a lot of different activities such as football, dancing, tennis and swimming. At this age (3 and 5 years old) I think it's important to try a large variety so they can find something they really enjoy doing. Activities should be fun for children but I think it's also the same philosophy when you become an adult. You should have fun and enjoy the exercise you're doing and mix it up. In that way it's more likely that you'll stick to your routine.</p><p>I try to make healthy organic meals for my kids but I'm not obsessed. For example, I don't cut out gluten or dairy completely from their diets, I just try to make healthier options when possible. One of my kids' favourite breakfasts is banana waffles. I just mix banana, eggs, buckwheat flour and oat milk. They would never know that they are actually healthy. I'm very lucky that both my kids like healthy options, my son even said out of nowhere the other day when he had sashimi with a delicious marinade. "Mummy this is better than chocolate". I think it's important that they try 'adult food', you never know what they will enjoy or grow to like.</p>
What is one type of never-fail exercise you rely on when you are time poor or without any equipment on hand?<p>Our <a href="https://bodyism.com/" target="_blank">Bodyism</a> Exercise Bands are amazing for a quick workout on the go. You don't need a gym with fancy equipment, just a bit of floor space at home or in a hotel room. They take up virtually no space so you can pack them in your bag while travelling, even if you're just going away for a few days. They're also really versatile – you'd be surprised how many muscles you can work with just one little band! If you don't have a band though, our signature Blueprint class structure is the perfect quick workout. It's four bodyweight exercises: alternating curtsy lunges, tricep press ups, plank shoulder taps and mountain climbers. You do each move for 45 seconds and repeat the circuit for 4 rounds.</p>
How did you manage to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy and the newborn days? Do you have any advice to new mums wanting to slowly get back to moving their bodies?<p>I went for a lot of long walks most days and I also did pregnancy yoga regularly. I was feeling really sick for about 3 months at the beginning of both pregnancies so I didn't move much at all in the first trimester. I just had to listen to my body and slow down. During a pregnancy and also when you breastfeed it's not a good time to restrict yourself food-wise but you can always choose healthier options when you have cravings. For example, having sweet potato wedges instead of normal fries, homemade healthier pancakes, gluten free goat's cheese toasties or cauliflower pizzas.</p>
Good, healthy food is such a big part of the Bodyism ethos, can you tell us your favourite lunch or dinner to prepare for yourself and the family?<p>I'm usually always in a hurry so I like to prepare one tray to go in the oven for 15 minutes with all the ingredients for a full meal. One of my go-to meals is salmon fillets with lemon juice and olive oil, sweet potatoes cut into cubes, slices of red pepper and asparagus. It's also great because there's hardly any washing up to do after the meal, just one oven tray. Other options could also be a homemade gluten free pizza base and then everyone in the family can pick their own toppings. Both my kids loves black olives so I usually try to add mozzarella with a mix of vegetables and olives.</p>
Career and kids - how do you and your husband make it all work?<p>My husband is a very hands-on dad. As an example, this week he's with both kids in Sweden while I have to work. Due to his work in finance he's not able to come home until 7pm most nights, so he can't help much during the weekdays but then on the weekends he takes the kids more and I can attend a couple of classes at <a href="https://bodyism.com/" target="_blank">Bodyism</a>. Obviously my kids come first and I'm always thinking about what's best for them but it's also important to understand that as parents we need to take care of ourselves to be better partners and parents. Both of us have careers that take up a lot of time, but we feel better when we exercise so we need to prioritise that.</p><p>We try to fit in about two date nights per month and also see our friends. So on average I go out for dinner once a week. I'm trying not to book up too many evenings since I know it will affect my energy levels during the day. I need all the energy possible for work and my family and at this point in my life I have to prioritise this. We have a great nanny that helps a lot since we don't have family that live in London, but I always try to come home for dinner time and I drop the kids off to school at least 3 times a week.</p>
What is your definition of self care and how do you make time for it?<p>For me, exercise is my self care. I feel so much more energetic if I train in the morning and I can focus better at work. I also appreciate when I have time to go for a long walk with my best friend. We can catch up on all things in life at the same time getting some training in – the best combo! I try to fit in a massage or a facial every week, we have treatment rooms at <a href="https://bodyism.com/" target="_blank">Bodyism</a> so I usually do a treatment at the end of a work day.</p>
Tell us about the move into supplements - how are these best used and what do they actually do?<p>We currently have seven different powder supplements that are packed with powerful superfoods. Each one has a different function and supports your everyday health and wellbeing in a different way. For example, our Beauty Food supplement is packed with marine collagen peptides that are not only great for skin and hair, but also boost ligament and tendon strength. Serenity is great for pre-bedtime as it relieves stress, helps with jet lag and improves sleep quality. I also love the Body Brilliance which tastes really chocolatey and indulgent but is actually full of super greens and protein. In turn, all of our supplements improve your energy, reduce your risk of injury and boost your performance in your workouts. It's worth mentioning that we don't recommend our supplements to be used as meal replacers but rather as an addition to a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle.</p>
Bodyism has gone global - what’s next for the brand and any plans to move into the Australian market?<p>We just opened our first club in the UAE in Abu Dhabi at Jumeirah Hotel on Saadiyat island in January. This has taken our full focus this year. We have a couple of exciting new locations in the pipeline next year but I'm afraid Australia is not on the cards just yet. Hopefully in a few years Australia will be next!</p>
Almost a year ago to this day, I found out I was expecting our third child. Like most big life transitions, this discovery sparked a whole host of emotions, and even more questions.
How would we afford three sets of school or daycare fees? Would Charlie cope with a baby in the house? Would my pelvic floor survive another childbirth? Could my heart stretch even further for this third child? And uh oh … How on earth would they all fit into the car?
As my frantic Google and Facebook Group searching very quickly revealed, I wasn’t the first mother to have a slight mental breakdown over the question of whether three children relegated you directly to the land of the minivan.
But as I've since realised with each one of those aforementioned questions (with the exception of the school fees), I need not have worried. The heart, body and car situation all sorted themselves out in the end.
It turns out that your heart does expand, your body is remarkably elastic, your children adapt, and as well as there being a (very expensive) professional service dedicated to squeezing three car seats into your vehicle, there are actually cars (lovely ones at that) designed specifically for big families.
I had the pleasure and privilege of test driving the Volvo XC90 for a one-month period (including this trip to the gorgeous Palm Beach), and can confirm that this is the exact vehicle my stressed-out pregnant self would have designed.
The first thing I'll say about this car is this: it has an in-built booster seat. Perhaps I'd been oblivious to Volvo's innovations for years, but it had somehow slipped under my radar that Volvo's larger cars come equipped with booster seats for slightly older children. How this is not a prerequisite in every SUV, I have no idea. Because it completely changes the game.
In the XC90, this booster is in the second row's middle seat, and it transformed the experience my children have in the car. Rather than squeezing into a bulky booster sandwiched between two full-sized car seats, my eldest son had space and comfort in his spot, with a booster that activates with – literally – the push of a button.
The screams of, "He's TOUCHING ME!" and "I HAVE NO SPACE!" and "I AM NOT GETTING INTO THE CAR!" quietened to silence, and I can't begin to explain the positive impact this had on our journeys (and my mental health).
For families who regularly carpool or cart other children around to activities, this is also a lifesaver.
Speaking of space, the Volvo XC90 unsurprisingly delivers it in spades.
The car is a seven-seater, but unlike our current family car (which could barely squeeze two infants into the third row), the XC90 can actually accommodate seven adults. My 6″4′ husband sat in the third row for an entire part of our journey (much to the delight of our baby who could stare straight at him from his rear-facing car seat), and didn't once complain about the space.
What's more, even with the third-row seats, there is still significant boot space available to fit a pram or the outrageous amount of groceries that are required for a large family. Without the third row up (they fold down to be completely flat), the boot space is unsurpassed. For a weekend away with our family of five, we fit in a full Bugaboo Donkey (not a small pram), a port-a-cot, two full suitcases, toys, and food (plus perhaps a few bottles of wine) for three days. After asking my husband, "Do you think we'll need to take up another car?" while packing, the fact that there was still space to see out of the back window (and to even pack in some Avalon shopping purchases) blew my mind.
Even with its ample size, driving the car doesn't feel like manoeuvring a beast.
It's easy (a delight, in fact) to drive, even up the terrifying winding roads of Palm Beach, where we visited for this long weekend getaway. If you've ever made the drive through the streets of Palm Beach, you'll be familiar with the 180 degree turns and ski-run-steep driveways. The XC90 handled them all with complete ease, and the turning circle is remarkably wide for a car of this size.
As someone who is ever-so-slightly terrified of driving on tricky roads, I felt as safe and secure as you'd expect from Volvo's impeccable reputation.
The vehicle is also undoubtedly elegant and refined, with Volvo's distinctive Scandinavian design.
While family cars are so often a capsule of all things chaotic, the XC90 exudes a remarkable sense of calm. The interiors ooze modern Swedish luxury, and there are really beautiful details that elevate the driving experience. I was also really pleased to read that one of my favourite features – the gorgeous wood finishes – are made from carefully selected materials that are authentic and sustainable.
The features of the XC90 are also unparalleled. In fact, with the exception of the parking assist, I'm convinced I barely did them justice.
Most of the functions in the car are controlled through a large central touch screen that works exactly like an iPhone. It's sleek, responsive and clear (with a portrait format that was refreshingly simple to use) so reading information and selecting options is a breeze.
Speaking of options, the huge array of pre-programmed radio stations in the car were one of my children's favourite features. Kinderling Radio and even Elf for Christmas music (yes, it was a little too early) were on regular rotation.
While I was certainly fond of the radio stations too, what impressed me most with the car's functionality was the intuitive interaction. While all the information is available on the central touch screen, there is also a digital display that pops up behind the steering wheel with important information. It appears right in front of your face on the windscreen, so you don't need to take your eyes off the road. This features everything from navigational directions through to warnings of speed limits, and was incredibly handy and effective. There is also a voice-activated control that responds directly to your cues, which my whole family adored.
I also can't write about the XC90 without mentioning the incredible sensors for parking and alerts.
The car features "City Safety", which helps to protect people inside and outside the car, day or night. This innovation – which is standard for every XC90 – identifies potential hazards like other vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and animals ahead. Thankfully I didn't need to use this feature, but it is such a welcomed relief to know that you will be warned if a collision is imminent. Even better, if you don't react in time, the car can automatically apply its brakes to help avoid a crash.
The XC90 also features Steering Support, which helps you to steer away from danger as effectively and safely as possible. On top of that, there is Run-Off Road Mitigation, which detects if your car is going to leave the road unintentionally at high-speed limits, and will use steering (and brake support if necessary) to guide you back onto the right path. Then if your car does happen to leave the road, an energy-absorbing structure in the front seat cushions will reduce your chance of serious injury in the event of a hard landing.
And when it comes to keeping your family safe and secure inside the car, this is at the forefront of Volvo's design. Ultra high-strength boron steel – one of the strongest types available – forms a rigid safety cell around you and your family, with safety belt pre-tensioners and load limiters keeping your seatbelts in just the right state of tension.
I've always known (as so many of us do) that Volvo is renowned for their safety features, but experiencing them first-hand offers such incredible peace of mind.
When we reached the freeway on our way up to our getaway, the other feature that made driving so much more enjoyable was the Pilot Assist.
The traffic wasn't pleasant (as anyone who travels regularly to the northern beaches will know), so this feature allowed the car to be programmed to be a set distance behind the vehicle in front of us, which made the drive a little less stressful. The car also automatically steers you (gently) into the centre of the lane if you're veering, with a slight vibration through the steering wheel that proved very helpful on the freeway.
The final item that sealed the deal when it came to my love of the Volvo XC90 was parking assistance.
This is no regular parking camera. Rather, you see your car from a 360 degree bird's-eye view, where you can see all the surrounding elements – from people, to cars, to gutters. Let's just say that I'm not known for my parking abilities, and this surrounding view made parking feel like a very achievable game of Tetris. Truly, a revolution when it comes to parking in small spaces.
One feature I didn't use (I was too impressed by my own new parking abilities) was the Park Assist Pilot, which helps you park perfectly. It uses sensors to gauge the size of spaces as you drive by them, and lets you know if one is big enough. It can then steer the car into a parallel space just 1.2 times the length of the car, then all you need to do is operate the gears and brake according to the screen prompts. So, so impressive and exciting for anyone who struggles a little with navigating spaces. Big families in inner-city streets, I'm looking at you.
All in all, it can't be understated what a perfect family car the Volvo XC90 is. It is practical, it's spacious, it's beautiful and it's incredibly safe.
From the tiny touches (like the pull-up window shades in the back seat) through to the major safety elements of the vehicle (that show just how committed Volvo is to keeping our families secure), it really is the ideal car for large families.
So if you're about to embark on a Google or Facebook Groups rabbit hole in a search of a vehicle for your expanding family, stop your search right here.
The vehicle reviewed in this article was the Volvo XC90 D5 Inscription in Osmium Grey.
Sometimes, you interview a woman and think, "She is my type of person." For me, this is Julia Hughes.
Case in point: she has a background as a marketer and journalist (me too), has a busy family life (same here), runs an artisan gelato van (I wish I did), and has recently launched a gin bar (which I'd happily reside in, given the choice). So interviewing Julia to find out more about her incredible story was a no-brainer.
Here's what GRACE Collective member Julia Hughes had to tell us about her life, family and business. Get ready for a delicious, wild ride.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?<p>Husband Dan, daughter Dylan, 5 and baby boy Spike, 18-months, makes four of us. I find having two kids pretty full on. But thank my lucky stars we are all healthy, we get plenty of sunshine and water, and have lots of laughs thanks to Dan's terrible singing and refusal to take most things seriously. </p>
Now you need to share all the details on your amazing businesses …<p>Our first business baby is Mr Goaty Gelato – artisan all natural gelato and sorbet made from scratch by my very talented chef partner. We started out making all goat's milk gelato (hence the name) but most of our product now is traditional dairy gelato and vegan sorbet with a few signature goat's milk flavours. We have a couple of fun gelato bikes and a vintage ice cream truck that we hire out for weddings, parties and corporate events.</p><p>When we moved to the Coast a few years ago we also moved gelato production to a kitchen in a local gin distillery. It was one of those fateful moves, we found ourselves making gelato in a beautiful mud brick building surrounded by botanical gardens. We use as much as we can from the garden in our gelato – oranges, lemons, lavender, geranium, even fresh turmeric. Customers were always asking us where they could buy the gelato aside from at markets and events, and the space at Distillery Botanica is so magic it seemed a shame not to be making full use of it. So earlier this year we opened Bar Botanica. We sell our gelato, coffee, plus light meals and cakes, and soon we'll be adding local wines and gin cocktails. It's garden-to-plate dining. Dan makes incredible food based on what is growing locally and seasonally and our lovely customers can enjoy it all while sitting on our leafy terrace or on a picnic rug in the garden. It is a dream.</p>
What did your career entail prior to Mr Goaty Gelato and Bar Botanica?<p>Before my gelato career (still feels funny saying that's my job) I worked in PR and marketing. I studied media, worked briefly as a journalist and moved into finance and investment marketing in Sydney and London. It was a stable and very well-paid gig, but ultimately not for me. My last full-time corporate job was Australian head of marketing for a foreign bank. My daughter was only two and I requested to work from home one day a week. This request was denied. Shocked and upset, I resigned on the spot. In hindsight it was a push I'm grateful for, but like many women who've experienced similar it was extremely disheartening. At that point we decided to go for it with Mr Goaty, so I freelanced as a Marketing Consultant for a year or so to keep money coming in while working on our business.</p><p>Work-wise I'm busier than ever now but hugely fulfilled and motivated. It's bloody tough managing all aspects of a business – admin, marketing, staff etc. but working on my own terms, with flexibility and agency counts for so much.</p>
What inspired the launch of Mr Goaty Gelato?<p>Believe it or not, Dan has always loved goats! And I've always loved ice cream. We tried goat's milk ice cream in the UK and that planted a seed. When we moved back to sunny Sydney and Dylan was born he was ready to try something new and get out of restaurant kitchens. His feeling for flavours and cheffing brilliance, combined with the inspiration we felt living in Australia where produce and food is so amazing is really what inspired the gelato.</p>
What prompted your move from Sydney to the Central Coast?<p>Have you tried buying a house in Bronte?! There were a few prompts but money was definitely a factor. The only way we could reconcile starting a business (ie. zero income) and buying a house for our little family was to leave Sydney. I grew up in the East and Dan had caught the surfing bug so our new home had to be beachside and close enough to the city. As well as affordable real estate we wanted a slower pace, more space and access to decent food and coffee! The Central Coast ticks all these boxes and many more. </p>
How are you finding life on the Central Coast?<p>We love it here. The natural beauty of the Coast blows me away. You've got stunning beaches and Bouddi National Park, with everything else in the way of shops, services and transport that makes life easy. It feels like the food scene up here has really started to take off in the past few years and it's so exciting and satisfying to be a part of that. </p>
What are some of your favourite pairings with gin?<p>I tend to stick to classics done well. Faves are an icy G&T, a dry Martini or a Negroni. Moore's Dry Gin with Fever Tree Tonic and a slice of lime is sundowner perfection. </p>
How do you make time for yourself? What does that look like?<p>Right now it looks like a lunchtime yoga class, a quick lap session at the pool once a week if I'm lucky, and a cup of tea with my kindle on a Sunday afternoon while Spike sleeps. Time for myself is scarce, but I'm counting on that changing soon when Dylan starts school and Spike is in full-time daycare. </p>
How is it working with your husband?<p>Pretty good actually. We both work very hard and respect each others input and value. Sometimes there are blowups but for the most part we're in it together. It's a very honest working relationship! Our skills are so different. I'm in complete awe of his cooking and he thinks I'm a "really good emailer."</p>
How did you manage to create a network in a new area?<p>It's been surprisingly easy to find a local network and friends on the Coast. Lots of families move here from Sydney so there's common ground, kids the same age, and a general openess to meeting new people. I think we have more time up here. Most people I know work part-time or freelance, cost of living is lower so you can afford to. I was among the first of my mates to have a baby in Sydney and that felt very lonely. Thankfully I've met enough beautiful, supportive and soulful women on the Coast that it feels like home. </p>
What have been some of the biggest challenges in setting up and running your own businesses?<p>The first couple of years are such a steep learning curve and it's brutal working so hard for minimal and inconsistent financial return. We reached that magic 2-3 year mark when you actually start making money, but other growing pains start. Now the biggest challenge is finding good staff and keeping them. On a personal level there is sacrifice. Running a business means a lot of stress and strain on your mental health and relationships come under pressure. Start up investment and cost of running a business is huge. I don't buy many clothes, I drive a smelly old car (not the ice cream van) and our holidays and time-off are very limited. </p>
What tips do you have for women who might be looking to make a shift into running their own businesses?<p>No half measures. Perhaps some women manage a side hustle but my advice is to give it everything – your time, money, and your best pitch always. Building a network of professional women you admire and genuinely like helps immensely when your need short-cuts, advice and sounding boards.</p>
What are the 10 things you’re loving at the moment?<ul><li>Aldi chocolate, Aldi wine, Aldi corn chips…basically Aldi! </li><li>My local library</li><li>Swell drink bottles</li><li>Go-to Tinted Zincredible</li><li>The Ordinary serums </li><li>Mr Goaty Passionfruit Cheesecake Gelato with Hazelnut Crumb. </li></ul>
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.
When a royal baby arrives, it's customary for Commonwealth countries to send a gift. When that gift comes from Australia, more often than not, it's of the fluffy koala variety. But when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed Archie into the world, the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, decided to do something a little different.
The gift that arrived on the Mountbatten-Windsor's doorstep (to an overwhelmingly positive reception)? A personally designed child's yoga mat, made by Sydney-based littleyogi.
Founded by corporate lawyer and mother of three, Lisa Mitry, littleyogi began as a way to counteract our busy world of instant gratification, schedules and competition. In other words? The perfect gift for a new royal.