It’s happened people! I’ve somehow, through the fog of late pregnancy, managed to put fingers to keys and not only create but PUBLISH an entire blog post. This is rather momentous as lately I’ve struggled to finish writing my shopping list (there’s scraps of paper with random words like ‘organic mince’ and ‘3 ripe bananas’ strewn all over the house at the moment).
It seems a bit of a sleep in and morning spent in the sunshine, down by the harbour, kicked something into gear and I’m feeling clear headed and ready to roll. As this may last for less than 3 hours, I’m flying around tying up every possible loose end while I can manage coherent thought.
I’m unbelievably excited to bring you this weeks ‘Mum Who Rocks’ and really quite awestruck that this particular mama managed to put her own fingers to keys after the arrival of her second little bundle just a few weeks ago. It should come as no suprise really as Georgie Abay, today’s featured mum, is a bit of a creative superstar and multi-tasking genius.
Not only did Georgie launch one of THE most gorgeous, stylish spaces on the internet, ‘The Grace Tales‘ while on maternity leave after the birth of her first gorgeous creation, Arabella, she’s also got a chic new children’s wear brand, Atelier Child, in the works at the moment as well. Oh and did I mention that when she’s not on full time mummy maternity duty, she’s also the Deputy Editor of VOGUE Australia (yep, Vogue.. I’m slightly in awe that the gal sitting here wearing a pesto stained Bonds singlet has managed to exchange emails with someone who’s every move is seemingly wrapped in glamour and style). And that’s also aside from her role as mama to two. I’m deeply impressed at the way Georgie manages to juggle all these different balls with aplomb as well as the way she seemingly finds an amazing amount of balance in her work/creative/home life.
1. Tell us all a little bit about your lovely self.
In a nutshell: mother to Arabella (18 months) and Lottie (three weeks – very new!), lover of English accents (hence wife to British Mark), flower obsessed, skirt collector and coffee and chocolate addict. Oh, and owner of two dogs – Bonnie and Charlie – who used to be my babies, before my real babies arrived. Editor of a website called The Grace Tales and co-founder of Atelier Child, a chic new children’s wear brand coming soon, which I’m doing with a friend of mine Jessica Baird Walsh. I live in a lovely, sunny terrace house in Paddington. I love travelling – at least, I used to. It’s a little harder with children. I never thought I’d say this, but Fiji is my new favourite destination.
2. What words best describe your mummy-hood journey thus far?
Utterly life changing. It is without a doubt the most magical experience of my life. I can’t imagine my life without my daughters and it really feels complete now I’m a mother. It changed everything for me. Things I was passionate about before becoming a mother, I don’t care about now. Your priorities change completely. It has also made me appreciate my own mother even more and everything she’s done and continues to do for me. Of course, it’s also totally exhausting and all-consuming and there have been many, many meltdowns, but it makes me happier than I could have ever imagined every single day.
Both my girls were premature. Arabella was born six weeks early and Lottie was seven weeks early so for both babies, we spent the first few weeks of their lives in the special care nursery at North Shore Private Hospital. We actually just brought Lottie home. Having a premature baby is incredibly emotional and tiring – I just wanted my babies girl home with me and it felt so incredibly unnatural to look at them all day in a humidity crib all wired up to a monitor and sit there pumping milk by myself at night. When I fell pregnant with Lottie, I was put on bed rest at 23 weeks. I was terrified. I had a high risk of coming early again and was filled with anxiety about giving birth before 28 weeks. In the end, after 10 weeks in bed at my mother’s house (what would I do without her?) I gave birth to Lottie at 33 weeks. I try and put everything in perspective – I am blessed to have made it that far along and now have two healthy girls.
Becoming a mother also inspired me to launch my website, The Grace Tales. It has also taught me the importance of great girlfriends. My friends have been so incredibly supportive and I love them so much. I think motherhood can be so bonding for females. That support is invaluable.
3. Sweetest parenting experience?
Where to start? Being vomited on every few hours for eight months. Mastitis for fourth time? Perhaps not. The top one would be the first time my baby girls were put on my chest after I gave birth. How do you top that? It’s the most magical, memorable moment of my life and the second time was as extraordinary as the first. Then, taking them home from the special care nursery. Also, watching them grow daily: the cuddles, the word Mama (although Arabella likes to call me Dadda a lot) and the fact that to them, you are the world. My girls make me melt with love daily. I also love watching them play with my friend’s children. It’s very cute and I love sharing this new life stage with them.
4. How do you manage being a busy mama with taking care of your own wellness?
I haven’t really taken care of my wellness the past four or so months. Being on bed rest meant doing literally nothing. I wasn’t even allowed to put a load of washing on or pick up my daughter. I hate to think how unfit I am. I haven’t exercised in a long, long time but I can’t wait to get back to the park for some long walks with my girls. Honestly, it doesn’t really bother me – I feel happy and blessed and that is a big part of wellness for me. There will be time soon to focus on health and fitness, for now, I’m looking after a very little baby girl (2.4kg!) so my own wellness is going straight to the bottom of the list. A rather large daily dose of chocolate seems to keep me sane!
5. What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your health/lifestyle?
A daily coffee (decaf at the moment). I love getting my nails done and also get my hair done every six to eight weeks by Michael Kelly at Oscar Oscar Salons in Paddington. In summer, I get a spray tan every other week. Keeping on top of these things makes me feel good. Hopefully this is achievable with two babies – it was hard enough with one! I also love weekly catch-up/phone calls with my girlfriends – they keep me sane. A lot of my best girlfriends live overseas and I love speaking to them – it always makes me feel happy.
6. What does an average day look like for you?
Pre-best rest I worked part time at VOGUE Australia magazine as the deputy editor. On a workday, I’d spend an hour with Arabella in the morning, go to work and then come home hopefully to catch her before she went to sleep. By the third day I really, really missed her. I was lucky enough to then have four solid days with her. Our days together are spent taking walks in the park, going to the beach, doing swimming lessons, playing in her room, catching up with friends and then at night or while she has her two hour daily nap I would work on my website ‘The Grace Tales. Sometimes, she’d come along to a shoot! Currently, with a three week old baby it involves a lot of pumping, breast feeding, nappy changing, washing, napping, bathing while also trying to juggle a toddler. Luckily, I have help from an amazing Nanny a few days a week for my toddler and my Mum is a constant source of help and support.
7. How do you ‘switch off’ at the end of the day/on the weekend?
I always start the evening with a hot shower. It helps me to relax. I’ll then have dinner with my husband – he’s the cook in our house. I’m excited about being able to enjoy a nightly glass of red wine again now I’m no longer pregnant! I’ll either work on my website or watch a TV series with my husband – it’s our way of tuning out together. On the weekend, it’s all about family time. When I’ve got nothing in diary, it’s the perfect weekend for me – doing nothing all together!
8. Do you have any favourite websites/blogs that you visit for inspiration/information etc?
I love The Design Files – such a brilliant site. I also love The Glow, a site in the US profiling gorgeous, yummy mummies. The Coveteur is another favourite – they go inside fashion insider’s wardrobes.
9. Now for the REALLY important stuff…
– Cats or dogs? You’d think I loved cats as I live in my Charlotte Olympia Kitty shoes but I’m a dog person. Well, I was. When they bark and wake up Arabella it drives me rather crazy!
– Dawn or dusk? Pre-motherhood it was dawn. Now, I’m usually catching up on sleep if we haven’t slept well the night before so I’ll say dusk when Arabella is fed, bathed and ready for bed.
– Yoga or pilates? Yoga. I love pre-natal yoga classes at The Life Pod in Paddington.
– Coffee or tea? COFFEE. Always. And peppermint tea at night. I don’t drink black tea.
– Juice or smoothies? I craved both during my pregnancies. Now I’ve given birth, I can’t get enough juice. Breast-feeding makes you so thirsty.
10. Favourite food?
Caramel slice. I really need to get my diet back on track but with two babies under two, sugar really is my best friend.
11. Favourite guilty pleasure?
Online shopping. I love it.
12. The ol’ finish this sentence…
– The best word to describe me is…. Happy
– I totally rock at…Making my toddler erupt with laughter from tickles!
– If I’m not being a mum you can usually find me…sleeping.
13. Favourite words/affirmation/quote to live by?
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
George Bernard Shaw.
14. Where can we find you?
At home, in bed, with my newborn daughter snuggled up on my chest.
or at the below:
The Grace Tales
The Grace Tales Facebook Page
The Grace Tales Instagram Page