What inspired you to start the Grace Tales?
It all happened very organically. During my first pregnancy, I was searching for an online destination that was a mix of all the things I loved pre-baby (fashion, beauty, lifestyle…), but that also covered things like how to dress your bump or the best beauty products to use when pregnant. I couldn’t find anything I really liked. I also loved sites such as The Coveteur, The Design Files and Into The Gloss, which take their readers into people’s homes. I’ve always loved looking at how other people live, how they decorate their homes, what skin care products they use, their fashion essentials.
So when Arabella was five months old and I started to get some sleep, I began producing content for The Grace Tales with an amazing photographer called Julie Adams. We spent a week shooting profiles together. A month or so later, the site went live. At first, it was just a passion project that I worked on after Arabella was asleep, as I was working part-time at VOGUE so I didn’t have a lot of time to spend on it. Gradually, it grew and grew, and here we are!
You’ve had an exciting career, working for magazines such as VOGUE and Harper’s BAZAAR (most recently, as the Deputy Editor & Fashion Features Director at VOGUE Australia). Has the concept of ‘beauty’ changed for you, from working in fashion magazines to becoming a mother of two?
Working in fashion magazines, you’re faced with pictures of beautiful models and celebrities every day, but these days I look at the models that feature in magazines and they just look like young girls. As a woman in her thirties and a mother of two children, I can’t relate to them. I want to see real women! Also, while it’s important to take care of yourself, beauty to me is about having people you love around you and loving yourself. Beauty is about style, intelligence and grace – beauty really does come from within. There’s nothing more beautiful than motherhood and I love showcasing this inherent beauty on The Grace Tales.
Describe your beauty and skin care routine.
It’s very, very rushed and my two year old is usually emptying out the bathroom cabinet while I’m trying to get ready! I’ll cleanse and moisturise morning and night then apply sunscreen. Every other day, I use a very hydrating foamy face mask from Japan that’s like shaving cream and soaks into your skin, that my mother introduced me to. I love my Jurlique Rose hand cream. My mother has always taught me to use hand cream – I’ll be driving with her and she’ll start putting it on the top of my hands. Occasionally, I go for micro-dermabrasion. I’d love to spend more time on my skin but with a 2 and 3 year old, I keep things pretty simple.
How do you relax and reconnect with yourself at the end of a busy week?
Mediation is such a powerful relaxation tool. In 20 minutes, I can feel reconnected and calm again. I need to mediate as the girls can be pretty challenging at times (I’m talking epic meltdowns because one of them got the pink cup instead of the purple cup). I also love watching a good TV series with my husband – House Of Cards, Homeland etc. – and a glass of red wine. Or champagne, if it’s the weekend.
The Grace Tales pairs inspiring style with inspiring stories for modern mothers. Is there a common thread that you’ve discovered, in how multi-tasking mothers can achieve balance and be happy?
I think happiness is something that comes and goes. I’ll feel great one week, then have a bad week if my workload is more than I can handle, or I have a sick child and haven’t slept much. All the mothers we profile say that balance comes and goes. Life is never totally balanced and there’s always something or someone vying for your attention – I’malways so conscious that I need to visit my grandmothers more, spend more quality time with my husband, read more, eat better, work out more etc. But I make sure the things I value – being present with my girls, for example – are prioritised to help me to feel as good as possible.
What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do?
I’ve always loved telling stories. It’s exciting and rewarding – creating fresh content for The Grace Tales is what keeps me inspired. What’s even more rewarding is the fact that I’m raising my girls while also pursuing a fulfilling career. It is very hard to find a balance between work and motherhood, and for me, I needed to start my own business to achieve that.
I tried to go back to VOGUE after my first daughter was born and it just didn’t work. The corporate world wasn’t for me anymore. I was stuck in an office all day and missed the little things going on at home that are important to me – stories, bath time, ballet classes, walks to the park, mornings at the beach. So I resigned after my second daughter arrived and The Grace Tales started to really take off. I often work late into the night, but it’s worth the hours I get during the day to be with my children.