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parenting

Fashion

Father’s Day with Trenery

22nd August, 2017

When the opportunity to collaborate with Trenery on a Father’s Day shoot came up I was really excited. I’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to do some beautiful shoots with my girls and with my mum that I wanted the same experience with Luke and my dad. But more importantly I can’t think of a better way to celebrate two wonderful fathers and all that they do.

From the moment Sophia and Grace were born I could see they had a very special bond with Luke. He is an amazing dad and the kids adore him. He’s kind, caring and has endless time for the girls.

My heart does melt when I see him with our daughters. Now Sophia’s old enough to talk it’s lovely to listen to their chats and to see that they already have such a close relationship. Luke has always been a hands-on dad and he’s constantly playing games with the girls. I love the fact he’ll do anything to put a smile on their face whether it’s pretending to be Sophia’s ballet student or playing dress ups and hide and seek. Through the good times and the bad times, I know Luke will always be the kind of father who will be there no matter what.

I know the girls will feel towards Luke the way I feel about my dad who I have a very close relationship with. He’s wise beyond measure so he’s always the person I turn to for advice. He’s a very caring person and so generous and loving. Most weekends when I was growing up Mum would be busy working so I spent lots of time with my dad and really cherished those Saturdays I had with him. Whether it was swimming classes or going to the movies I have really fond memories of our time together.

I’m lucky that I live in the same apartment building as my parents so I visit them most days to say hello. My dad is normally working at his desk when we drop by and Sophia often turns his desk into her little cubby house. He dotes on the girls and can always be relied upon to be the one that gives the sneaky chocolates out! It’s amazing that even at such a young age I can already see that the girls have a special bond with him.

Whenever Father’s Day rolls around each year I’m always thankful to have Luke and my dad in my life and my girls’ life. They’re both amazing every single day of the year but it’s nice to have one special day each year when they can truly be celebrated.

To all the other amazing dads out there—wishing you all the most wonderful day!

This post was created in collaboration with Trenery

Photography: Grace Kyo

Fashion

It’s here! Sneak peek at the Kate Waterhouse x Sapling collection

14th July, 2017

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection onesie

My little Grace in one of the onesies from the collection.

When one of my favourite baby clothing brands, Sapling proposed a collaboration I was beyond thrilled. I’ve always been a fan of their clothes for Sophia and Grace as not only do they come in gorgeous prints and patterns, they’re made from organic cotton and also durable which is a definite must. Being able to design my own Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection was such an exciting prospect albeit a little daunting as the options were limitless! It was when thinking about this limitless possibility that I finally landed on a theme: Twinkle Twinkle. The stars in the night sky have always inspired me due to their vastness and the endless hope that it represents for the future and the idea that anything is possible. This is a sentiment that perfectly encapsulates my wishes for my girls as they grow older so it only seemed fitting to build my collection around this theme.

It has been a lengthy process but I believe we’ve created some really beautiful pieces for little ones. The colours right through to the prints are all in keeping with my fashion philosophy of creating wearable pieces that can be mixed and matched and are extremely versatile. From galaxy inspired onesies and blankets to sweet star print leggings and tees I hope there’s something in the range to suit every child. It has been such a fun experience for me to see this collection through from conception to design to finished product and I can hardly believe that it’s out today. I can’t wait for you all to see the collection and I hope that your little ones keep reaching for their own little star. May their futures twinkle with endless possibility.

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection hooded onesies

I wanted the colour palette to be something bright yet versatile

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection

One of the sets from the collection

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection

I love that this set can be mixed and matched

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection raglan tee shorts blanket

This shorts and raglan tee set is perfect for active little boys (it comes in pink too)

The Kate Waterhouse x Sapling collection launches July 14 in Australia and July 30 in the USA/Canada.
You can shop the entire collection at saplingchild.com
Fashion

Style staples when I’m in mum mode

26th June, 2017
kate waterhouse mum wardrobe staples

Kate Waterhouse mum style staples

As most mums can probably attest pulling together an outfit is low on the priority list when you’ve got a busy day ahead of you. The aim is just to get out the door fast! I know for myself that when I’m in mum mode with Sophia and Grace I need to be comfortable first and foremost and my outfit needs to be able to withstand whatever a toddler and baby may throw my way. This is why I’ve managed to refine my mum style staples down to a few key pieces so I can just go into auto pilot mode on any given day. Here’s what I can’t live without…

A roomy tote

For me a big bag is essential and I always like to carry a tote as it gives me plenty of room to carry my essentials and the girls’ too. I keep a little bag filled with Grace’s nappies, and wipes and change mat and I just throw everything into a tote. I have lots of different types – from super casual to slightly more dressy – depending on where I’m going.

Athleisure wear

I love workout gear when I’m with the girls. If I’m going to Sophia’s ballet class or taking her to some sort of activity then I can’t go past my Nike sneakers and Lululemon leggings. I live in both! It’s really easy to pull together and you can’t beat it for comfort level.

Sturdy sunglasses

I always carry a pair of sunglasses with me but I make sure that I leave any delicate, flimsy pairs at home. My sunnies are guaranteed to be thrown around in my bag or the girls will want to play with them so I prefer to wear the style that’s made of a thicker acetate so they’re not easily breakable.

Comfortable basics

If I’m running around then I’ll always opt for sportswear otherwise you’ll usually find me in lots of t-shirts and singlets paired with a good pair of jeans. They’re both definite mum style staples. I highly recommend splurging on a pair of jeans that can withstand lots of wear and tear because if you’re like me you’ll wear them to death. I also have lots of great knits throughout winter and will wear a big anorak/parka style jacket which I can easily throw on and can be popped into the boot of my car without too much fuss.

Comfortable flats

Heels are strictly reserved for nights out or for work events. I wear flats whenever I’m with the girls. I’ll usually wear my white Adidas Superstar sneakers or if I need to be a little more dressed up then I’ll wear my Gucci slides which are comfy yet still look polished.

What are your style staples as a mum?

 

Lifestyle

Lessons I’ve learnt as a mum

8th June, 2017

Sophia recently turned three and it had me reflecting on my time being a mum. The time has really flown and the girls are growing up so quickly. Life has definitely changed for the better and also for the busier and I certainly don’t have as much free time as I used to have but there’s not a thing I would alter. Embarking on motherhood is one of the most daunting things I think a woman can ever face, and it comes with its ups and downs but it’s certainly rewarding and truly special. Here’s what I’ve learnt in the process…

Always trust your instincts

They say mum always knows best and I firmly believe this to be true. I’ve learnt to always trust my gut when it comes to the girls. Whether it’s when they’re sick or managing their day to day routine, I always rely on my mum radar to help guide the way. There are moments when it’s only natural to second guess yourself but I find that when it comes to parenting it’s always important to let your instincts point you in the right direction. More often than not they will never fail you.

Enjoy the little moments

Time really does fly. I can remember when Sophia was just a newborn and now she’s her own little person with her own distinct personality. Meanwhile it only feels like yesterday that I had Grace and now she’s growing so fast. This has taught me to really stop and appreciate the small moments I have with my girls. Whether it’s conversations over breakfast, cuddles before bedtime or just watching them accomplish and hit certain milestones I have to remind myself to stop and be in the present and take it all in. It’s easy to get caught up in the insanely busy nature of having two kids but I have to remind myself that they won’t always be little and they’ll have their own lives one day so I’m trying my best to appreciate all the beautiful, sweet moments we have together.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If there’s one thing I’ve learn as a mum is that there’s no way I can do it all on my own. I’m lucky to have such a great and supportive network around me in the form of my husband, family and friends and it’s taught me how important it is to have that in place in order to maintain my sanity! Whether it’s being desperate for a few hours sleep or just needing assistance around the house, parenting can be overwhelming at times and there’s no harm in admitting that you need help once in awhile. It takes a village, right?

 

Lifestyle, Shop

The new mum starter kit: my fave baby products

26th May, 2017

I remember when I was pregnant with Sophia and the list of things I needed to buy seemed quite overwhelming and endless. To avoid drowning in endless amounts of baby paraphernalia it helped that I had recommendations from family and friends about what I would actually need and use as opposed to things that may seem nice but would end up sitting in the nursery gathering dust. Over the years, after a little trial and error, I’ve also managed to narrow down my can’t-live-without essentials and I often share this with friends who are about to become mums or gift things on the list when I’m attending baby showers. Here’s what I’ve found to be musts in my new mum starter kit…

Bugaboo Cameleon

There are so many types of prams out there but I’m a Bugaboo girl. I have the Bugaboo Cameleon and I’ve use it for both Sophia and Grace. I go on lots of pram walks so I like the fact it’s really sturdy and easy to manoeuvre but quite lightweight. The pram has lots of features that I like such as being able to easily recline it right back or sit it right up, adjustable handles and I now also have a little seat for Sophia which is handy. I’ve found it to be a really comfortable pram for the girls too—Sophia loved to sleep in it and that’s a definite bonus when you’re trying to get an unsettled bub to nap!

Baby Zen YoYo

Let me preface this with the fact that you technically don’t need two prams, however when I travel I like everything to be really super easy and light and for those reasons the Baby Zen YoYo pram is definitely a great option. I’ve taken mine on overseas trips and found as it’s easily collapsible and compact it was not too cumbersome to deal with. I think it’s good to have a really great pram but I think it’s handy to have a stroller that you can just pack up. I now leave the YoYo in my car so I always have a pram on hand without having to pack my Bugaboo in and out of the car all the time.

Baby Bjorn carrier

When I’m on foot with Grace while Sophia is at kindy, I’ve found the carrier is ideal, especially when I’m going to the shops as it allows me to have my hands free. It’s also great if baby is a bit unsettled and wants to be close to you as you can carry them for awhile without completely doing your back in! This carrier is easy to take on and off so doesn’t require too much fussing around with straps and buckles.

Sapling Child onesies

My kids just lived in onesies so I’ve tried a few different brands and have become a huge fan of the range from Sapling Child. Not only are they made from organic fabrics and have beautiful prints and patterns they also do up with a zipper. This is SO important as I hate buttons on onesies as they’re so fiddly. I love the fact that I just need to zip it up. They also doesn’t have any seams so there’s nothing that could irritate baby’s skin.

Mama Maya wraps

Muslin wraps are a must for swaddling in the newborn phase but it’s often hard to find one that’s the ideal size. I love Mama Maya wraps because they’re oversized which I found makes it much easier to wrap baby snugly. Also, they’re made from organic cotton muslin which makes them lightweight and breathable and come in a range of great colours in their signature polka dot print. They’re also great for using as a pram cover, a cover up while breastfeeding or a light blanket so you’ll definitely get plenty of use out of them. An added benefit is that Mama Maya have partnered with Birthing Kit Foundation Australia so with every wrap purchased they provide funding for one clean birthing kit and caregiver training to help women in developing countries experience a cleaner and safer birth.

Uniden baby monitor

I’ve found a baby monitor to be a must and is the kind of thing that you’ll use as the baby gets older. It’s obviously great for keeping an eye on the baby wherever you are in the house and I found it to be especially handy when the girls started sleeping in their own rooms at night as I was able to check on them remotely which helped put me at ease.

Pigeon baby bottles

I’ve always liked Pigeon brand bottles but recently my sister in law got me onto the glass version. They’re easy to clean and sterilise which is great when going through so many bottles throughout the day.

Baby washes

There are lots of different bath products out there for babies that it can be a little hard to decide on the best one to use. At the moment I really like the baby wash from the Milk Baby range and QV bath oil which I used on Grace as she had really dry skin when she was younger.

Madreperla bed linen

It’s inevitable that you’ll go through lots of baby bedding so it’s important to have multiples of everything. You don’t have to spend a fortune but if you’re wanting something a bit special then I highly recommend the Madreperla luxury baby linen range. It’s  300 thread count and 100 per cent flax linen so it’s super soft. Their quilts are also filled with pure cotton and free from polyester and synthetics. I find anything from this range also makes a really nice baby shower gift.

Baby Bjorn bouncer

Grace loves her bouncer! I’ve gotten a lot of use from the one we have as the bouncing motion is great for soothing a cranky baby plus it’s handy if you just need somewhere for bub to safely sit and stay in the one place. It’s also a great spot for baby to sit when reading to them or playing with toys together.

What are some of your baby essentials for new mums?

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Jayson Brunsdon and Aaron Elias

16th April, 2017

Aaron and Jayson Brunson chatting to me about their son, Roman

 

Fashion designer Jayson Brunsdon and his partner, Aaron Elias, built the Jayson Brunsdon fashion label into one of the most recognised in Australia. In 2015 they became parents via surrogacy in Thailand but faced a devastating setback when the country stopped surrogacy in the wake of the Baby Gammy case and the IVF clinic they were using was closed. The couple open up to me about the struggles they faced, Elias’ motivation for writing his new book, Designer Baby: A Surrogacy Journey from Fashion to Fatherhood, and Brunsdon’s fashion plans.

What inspired you to write your book?

Aaron: [Roman] was the biggest inspiration. It is about love. So it is about love for him, our love, when we first met, and it’s about our careers and fashion. It’s about … our journey into parenthood and what went on [in Thailand] and how we managed to bring him home.

What were the biggest issues you faced in your surrogacy journey?

Aaron: Surrogacy issues here are hugely controversial, so the law hasn’t really changed much over the years … We used an altruistic surrogacy because my cousin donated her eggs to us, so we had to actually bring her to Thailand … to start the process there.

Jayson: She had to inject herself daily and it’s about three weeks to get it done because she didn’t have enough eggs and it just kept going on and on and on … [Later] I turn on the television one morning and I saw this whole Baby Gammy story and they said the Thai government … have illegalised the whole IVF.

How did that make you feel?

Jayson: I didn’t even know what to do … I couldn’t contact him until the night, so I sat there all day on my own just thinking, “Oh my God, we’re not going to be able to get him out. What’s going on?” … [Later] we were very panicked.

What was that moment like when you finally got to bring him home?

Jayson: It was pure joy … There was a lot of bureaucratic stuff you have to go through.

Was the journey home how you expected it to be?

Aaron: No, we were almost arrested at the [Thai] airport. The embassy told us that we would have no problems whatsoever and that we just needed the exit permit … We got to the airport and we were fine; Qantas had organised a chaperone to take us right through … And then it all just started – [Customs] started making really horrible jokes about us, about our sexuality.

Jayson: As we walked towards immigration, all the officers came around towards us and that is where we were detained [for nearly three hours].

Aaron: They said they wanted the surrogate mother there and started screaming at us …

Jayson: They were accusing us of human trafficking … I thought I was going to go to jail … Finally the Australian Embassy [assisted us] and they were fantastic.

What were your objectives for the message of your book?

Aaron: I think it is a very imperative conversation that needs to take place in Australia because, not just about surrogacy itself, but also about gay marriages, equality, all of that. [We have been] together for 18 years … We want to paint a picture that we are not villains, we’re normal people … and we shouldn’t be treated like second-class citizens.

Jayson: We think surrogacy needs to be seriously looked at.

What do you hope has changed in the world when Roman grows up?

Aaron: I really want him to be able to live in a country that his parents could get married and let it be a happy environment and to help people – childless couples and parents that have been going through the strains of motherhood and pregnancy.

How are you going to explain things to him?

Jayson: We’ll just explain it completely the way it was. We already have. We’ve started because his mother lives here, she lives in Bondi and we see a lot of her and her children, and he plays with his siblings all the time. He is really close to them.

How has parenthood changed you?

Jayson: Completely. I think it brings out the best. It brings out a better version of yourself.

Do you guys have plans to have more children?

Aaron: No. We get asked this question every day of our lives. But initially it was about having another one at least, so that Roman could have a brother or a sister, but I think we’ve been so blessed, blessed with Rebecca, blessed with her children.

How is everything going fashion-wise?

Jayson: I’ve kind of just stepped away from it quite a bit. I found it really hard to try and concentrate on both because … when you fashion design it’s like a six-day-a-week job and it’s 24/7 … I knew that at my age, the time was precious and I really wanted to experience as much of it as possible. So I stepped back a bit from it … I’ve started painting again … That’s how I started 30 years ago – I was a fashion illustrator … I’m going to turn that into a bit of business.

What has been your biggest career highlight?

Jayson: I guess showing in New York fashion week, the first time. That was fantastic.

You’ve had so many celebrities wear your clothes. Who stands out in your mind?

Jayson: Princess Mary [of Denmark] … There is something about royalty that seems to transcend celebrity somehow … She is so fabulous.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Jayson: I see myself painting more, just looking after Roman, he will be six by then.

Aaron: I see ourselves in a Spanish villa!

Have you always been passionate about writing?

Aaron: Always … but I never really thought that I was going to write a book. It was always the intention to write a journal for Roman and I wanted him to see the whole thing when he was old enough to read it. I wanted all the facts in there, every single detail that happened, just in case if I’m not around or something happens to us …  I was fortunate to have it published and … we never expected it, but it’s happening.

Designer Baby: A Surrogacy Journey from Fashion to Fatherhood is now available on the shelves.

 

 

BITESIZE

We went to Reuben Hills, Surry Hills

We ate French toast with bacon crumb, charred banana, bacon custard, basil black pepper gel & berries and sourdough with jam

We drank a cappuccino, soy latte and flat white

Jayson wore UNIQLO and Aaron wore H&M.

Kate wore a Trenery shirt.

Designer Baby: A Surrogacy Journey from Fashion to Fatherhood is now available on the shelves.

Fashion, What I Wore

What I Wore: Family time

16th February, 2017

Spending quality time with the girls on the weekend is one of my favourite things to do. We’ll do everything from go for walks around our neighbourhood to go to the beach or step out for a bite to eat and when we do comfort is definitely key as far as my outfit goes. I find throwing on a dress is the easiest way for me to get out the door quickly but opting for a fun bird print like that on the above Karen Walker dress helps give it a little personality. My new Nicholas Kirkwood slides are an easy footwear option as they look quite polished but are easy to slip on and off should we find ourselves doing an impromptu visit to the park or the beach. I am really loving the trend towards pointed flats, I think it’s a really modern look and is a great alternative to traditional flats. Any bag that I take with me when I’m out with the girls must have a strap to keep my hands free but I also like to keep things on trend which is where my favourite new Gucci handbag enters the picture. I love the applique on the bag which helps complement the playful nature of the dress.

Shop my favourite dresses for a family day out

Pair the outfit with some slides to match

Credits: Kate’s Dress, Karen Walker; Shoes, Nicholas Kirkwood, Bag, Gucci; Sunglasses, Celine. Sophia wore Chloe and Amelie

Photography: Sophia Athas

Lifestyle

What I do if I know I need to get out the door fast

8th February, 2017

If I need to get me and the girls out door fast then preparation is key. Gone are the days when I could just grab my bag and walk out the door! When I need to be somewhere first thing in the morning then I have to get everything ready the night before, if I don’t it’s always a disaster and it never quite works out. I’m generally not the most organised person around so this is definitely something I trained myself to do.

One of the key things I do is make sure I have the baby bag packed up for Grace, Sophia’s essentials ready and have everything I need already in the pram so I just need to walk out the door. This saves me from having to run around trying to locate various things in the morning as I will inevitably not be able to find it. Plus this is often how I’ll find myself out and about and missing something crucial because I’ve forgotten to bring it with me. I also lay out the girls’ outfits the night before so I just have to dress them and I also plan what snacks I’m going to bring. I make sure the lunchbox is ready to go but I’ll often cut up anything perishable like fruits in the morning so it’s still fresh – I have to make sure I factor in time for this though!

If we’re going down to our family farm then this process becomes even more involved. Often I’ll drive down ahead of Luke so I don’t get stuck in traffic and this requires having to pack up the whole car and the girls and it ends up being quite a mission. To get around this I make sure I load everything into the car the night before so Luke is around to help in case I need him. I make sure to pack the pram, pack the girls’ bags and have their outfits ready to go so all I need to do is give them breakfast in the morning. We often bring food as well so I’ll do all my grocery shopping ahead of time so we have the right food for the kids and also Luke and I as well. I think when time is of the essence the more that can be done in advance the better otherwise it all ends up being a rather stressful experience which is definitely the last thing I need when I’ve got the girls in tow!

What are some of your tips for getting out the door fast when you have kids in tow?

 

Lifestyle

What’s in my baby bag?

31st January, 2017

As every mum will attest a baby bag is a lifeline when out and about. Now that I’m going through the baby phase a second time with Grace I’ve managed to keep her baby bag to the key necessities and resist the temptation of taking everything in the house with me so I’m not lugging around something that weighs a ton. Here’s what I’ve got it down to…

Spare nappies

Nappies are of course a no-brainer inclusion in a baby bag but the number depends on where we’re going and if we’re likely to be out the entire day. I bring a couple with me in case I need to change Grace a few times while we’re out.

A disposable change mat

You can never be too sure of the state a baby change room is going to be in so I always make sure to bring a disposable change mat with me. They’re a great option as I can just flush them down the toilet as soon as I’m done which makes them a little more hygienic.

Nappy bags

Carrying around a soiled nappy is not entirely pleasant so I bring nappy bags to keep the odours at bay.

Spare clothing

I bring 1-2 spare outfits for both the girls in case disaster strikes and I need to change their clothing entirely. Also if the weather seems a little unpredictable I bring a jumper so I can have it on hand for Grace.

Blanket

If it seems a little cool outside I always make sure to bring a blanket with me just in case.

Wraps

Lightweight wraps are so versatile as I can use them for everything from a makeshift summer blanket or to shield Grace’s pram from the sun.

Sunscreen

I always make sure to pop sunscreen on the girls whenever we’re out and about so I have a bottle in my bag at all times.

Water

I’m always going on pram walks with the girls or taking them to the park so having bottle of water in the baby bag is always handy.

What do you carry with you in your baby bag?

Photography: Sophia Athas

 

Fashion

Behind the scenes on my Grace magazine cover shoot

22nd December, 2016

I am so thrilled and honoured to share the news that I’m covering the new issue of Grace magazine with my family.

I’ve known Georgie Abay, the editor of the parenting website The Grace Tales since her days at Vogue and have been a long time fan of her site which is all about motherhood, stylish mothers and all things children and is a great website for mums. Recently Georgie launched an online magazine called Grace which I absolutely loved reading so I felt very honoured when she asked my sister-in-law Hoda and I to appear on the cover of the second issue with our children.

It was a Christmas themed shoot that took place in a studio in Sydney’s Waterloo. I always love seeing the outfits the stylist has pulled for a shoot and this time around we got to wear some fabulous outfits, in really bright colours and a handful of metallics to reflect the fact it was an issue celebrating the festive season. It was a nice way to mark the start of this great time of year.

Sophia was particularly excited about the shoot as she was able to “go to work with mummy”. Photo shoots are long days so by the end of it I think her excitement had waned slightly and going to work with mummy was no longer quite so fun but she loved spending time with her cousins, Rose and William. As with most little girls I think her favourite part of the day was playing dress ups. As soon as she walked in she was trying on shoes and trying on different dresses and she just wanted to be in everything Rose was wearing so a lot of the shots they’re wearing the same thing. It was an honour to be asked to be in the shoot with Hoda and the kids and we had such an unbelievably fun day shooting it. I hope you like the end result!

To check out the story head to The Grace Tales.

With my sister-in-law, Hoda

Hoda and my niece Rose and nephew William on set

Sophia inspecting the accessories for the shoot

Selfie time with Hoda and Rose

If there’s one thing you need on a shoot it’s coffee!

Hoda getting her hair styled