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What you should know about skincare during pregnancy

8th October, 2020

During her pregnancy, Trish Maharaj had difficulty finding the kind of skincare she was after—something that was all-natural, Australian and safe for her baby and kind to her skin. So she decided to take matters into her own hands. As a cosmetic chemist and nutritionist, she decided to create her own skincare range that specifically catered to expecting mums and Madré Australia was born. Here, she chats about what you need to know about caring for your skin as a mum-to-be, including how to deal with stretch marks and the non-negotiables of your routine. .

What are some of the key concerns when it comes to skincare products and pregnancy?

“People tend to be concerned about two major factors – he ingredients they are using on their skin and whether there are any harmful ingredients that are best to be avoided for their safety of their unborn child, as well as the way their body is going to change over the course of their pregnancy and how to best manage that.” 

Are there any ingredients that are best avoided?

“Given there is so much misinformation out there, my best advice for women trying to fall pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding is to speak to your healthcare professional. In saying that, there are ingredients that we have come to know that are best avoided during pregnancy. People are best to use products that are not only free from harmful toxins, but also endocrine disruptors known as carcinogens which can include ingredients (often found in skincare) such as retinols, Vitamin A and AHAs/BHAs.”

What are some beneficial skincare ingredients that expecting mums can look to incorporate into their routine?

Celery Stem Cells – “These are great for emerging white marks and scars on skin.” 

Organic Shea and Cocoa Butters – “Rich in fatty acids, these butters have been touted for their ability to hydrate, nourish the skin and improve elasticity. The fat in cocoa butter forms a protective barrier that allows the skin to hold in moisture. It is also rich in natural plan compounds called phytochemicals that help to fade scarring on the skin and minimise stretch marks.” 

Virgin Grade Plant Oils – “A variety of plant oils is key to ensure there is a variety of omega 3, 6 & 9’s. I love sacha inchi oil, evening primrose oil and marula oil. Look for virgin grades as these are unrefined and less processed and therefore retain its antioxidant profile. Our Madré Boob Balm for example, contains a variety of fancy essential fatty acids, omegas, vitamins & minerals from various oils to nourish dry skin.” 

Bajuchiol & Azelaic acid – “These acids are a great natural alternative for those suffering from pregnancy acne as typical solutions such as Retinol, Salicylic Acid & Benzol Peroxide aren’t safe for pregnancy skin. These acids will not only help kill the bacteria that causes acne and keep pores clean but can also help brighten dark spots from pregnancy-induced melasma.”

We know that often stretch marks during pregnancy is hereditary but what are some ways expecting mums can help minimise them?

“Although stretch marks are a pretty obvious side effect of pregnancy, that still doesn’t make them any less annoying! You can be proactive by using a combination of ingredients that will help with collagen growth, its organisation which is key in repairing the stretch mark/scar if they have formed, alongside ingredients that help with elasticity and hydration of the skin. Doing this as your skin expands will certainly assist in helping the skin stretch as you grow. 

Our Madré Belly Mask has been created specifically to assist with this for both pregnancy and postpartum bellies. It contains those pregnancy skin loving ingredients like Celery Cells, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter which will help promote collagen organisation, growth and repair. 

I would also recommend increasing cell turnover on areas that a prone to stretch marks such as the belly, butt, breasts and thighs via a physical exfoliant/scrub. Look for spherical shaped scrubbing agents such as jojoba, carnauba and coconut based exfoliants. Sugar or walnut based scrubs scratch the surface of the skin and this can lead to further irritated skin during pregnancy.” 

What are some of the non-negotiables when it comes to skincare during pregnancy? 

“As your skin starts to expand to accommodate the human who’s taken up residency inside your stomach, it can lose a lot of its moisture. This can lead to the skin feeling quite itchy, dry and flaky. Use a great moisturiser or oil with a wide array of essential fatty acids and Omegas. Also make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, which helps keep skin hydrated. 

Sun protection is absolutely essential! Mineral sunscreens are generally the safest options for pregnant women, so make sure you track down ones that have zinc oxide in the ingredients list. Also, physical sun protection like hats and umbrellas at the beach are key.”

Fashion, Shop

6 pieces that will work in your pre- and post-pregnancy wardrobe

25th August, 2016

Photo 17-06-2016, 12 37 33 PM

Having gone through dressing for a bump twice now I know how tricky it can sometimes be to maintain your style yet still accommodate your changing shape. Also, pregnancy is such a finite period that I didn’t really want to spend a lot of money on pieces that would only work for those few months. I’ve since learned that the key is to find pieces that will work in a maternity wardrobe but still transition quite easily into a post-pregnancy look, that way you’re definitely getting value for money. I’ve found these pieces are great for dressing for a bump and beyond…

1. Billowy blouse

I’ve always been a fan of slightly looser cuts in blouses so they definitely made their way into my maternity wardrobe. The great thing about them is that whilst they’re comfy when you’re pregnant they’re also great for office wear or a slightly dressy function.

2. Tube skirt

Anything with stretch is your best friend during pregnancy. A simple stretchy skirt will easily work back into your regular wardrobe when teamed with a simple tee and sandals or sneakers.

3. T-shirt dress

Loose dresses are great for when you’re pregnant as they’re ridiculously comfortable but don’t discount their value in a post-pregnancy ensemble. A t-shirt dress in a grey marle is extremely versatile as it can work back with virtually every colour in your wardrobe and the relaxed cut is particularly great for those months after pregnancy too.

4. Off the shoulder top

This particular style shows no signs of going away any time soon and should still be quite big this spring/summer season. They’re flattering as they show off your shoulders and décolletage but as they’re so roomy they’ll accommodate your bump too. And as they’re supposed to be worn in a relaxed fit they definitely won’t look out of place in your post-pregnancy wardrobe.

5. Long line vest

Pieces that can be layered such as a long line vest or a sleeveless trench are great throughout pregnancy as it doesn’t matter how your shape changes or how big you get it will still definitely fit. However this style of vest is still very much on trend so you’ll easily be able to wear it long after you’ve had your baby. I particularly loved wearing mine over a shirt and leggings.

6. Crisp white shirt

White shirts should be a permanent part of every woman’s wardrobe. They’re eternally stylish and when worn slightly loose they look particularly chic so they’re a great go-to for those days in your pregnancy when you’re just not sure what to wear. The best part is if you invest in this style of shirt you’ll definitely be wearing it in the years to come.

Want to know the basic building blocks of a good pregnancy wardrobe? Find my list here

Date with Kate


14th August, 2016

Date With Kate. Kate Waterhouse with Connie Mitchell of Sneaky Sound System fame, photographed at Criniti's Woolloomooloo. Tuesday 12th April 2016. Photograph by James Brickwood. SHD S 160413

Connie Mitchell of Sneaky Sound System fame enjoying lunch at Criniti’s Woolloomooloo.

Connie Mitchell is the lead singer of Sneaky Sound System. She and long-time band partner Angus McDonald (aka Black Angus) married in Ibiza in 2015. The couple are expecting the birth of their first child in coming weeks. For the past two months Mitchell, 38, has been performing on the Greek island of Mykonos. She is also working on another album. She chats to me about what it is like to work with her husband and her excitement at becoming a mum.

What have you been up to?

We spent the last two months in Mykonos playing to a few thousand people every Sunday night on the beach at this incredible venue called Scorpios. Last week we turned away 2000 people, it was crazy! I’m back home now getting ready for the arrival of my baby boy in a few weeks. We have a few shows planned between now and the end of the year, our annual New Year’s Day party at Icebergs, and then maybe a couple of weeks up in Byron Bay where we go every year.

Wow, that sounds like a busy schedule. Will you take any time off from the band when your son arrives?

Ha! Time-off, time-schmoff! I love the fact that I’m responsible for my own income and if I want to buy something nice, I can. So no, I want to get straight back out there! If they can do it in Africa, then I can do it in Australia with all the mod-cons at our disposal. Also, I gotta get that Aston Martin!

With a life on the road touring, how will you and Angus juggle it all?

I can’t wait for the juggle; our lives are all about the juggle! I like the idea of having a semi-nomadic lifestyle while our son is still young and before school ties us down. We travel a lot, and he’ll obviously be part of that.

What are you most looking forward to about becoming a mother?

Hugs, kisses, sports days, swimming carnivals, sausage sizzles, and seeing him grow into an intelligent young man who has the utmost respect for women. And a few more hugs.

What’s it like being in a band with your husband?

We were always really good friends, from the beginning, anyway. I think essentially it’s kind of [an] extension of that friendship. So you’re really tied together now. It’s like you two against the world; you’ve got your own kind of “power buddy” … But sometimes he takes a bit too long in the mirror [laughs].

When did you know he was the one?

It was at the Miami music conference [March 2012] on the dance floor. He is busting out these moves and I went, “That is the one for me!”

You were married in Ibiza last year. Tell me about your wedding.

It was a very beautiful affair, filled with all very close friends and family. It was a very special time and I wish I could do it every year. I did feel like the UN, having to talk to everybody. I think it’s really good advice that every hour or so you should just go and go off together – for 10 minutes, you just kind of sit down and have a drink, talk to each other. Because I think you’ve got a tendency to make sure everybody is OK. It’s like: hang on, this is your day, too. But it was really beautiful … There was lots of opportunities to go out and enjoy yourself, unlike the current situation in Sydney at the moment.

Have the lockout laws affected Sneaky and your career?

Absolutely. I mean, we had a running night at Hugo’s for 10 years. It is no longer in existence because of lockout laws. [We are] directly affected by the lockout laws and so many businesses have gone under because of the lockout laws. You cannot say that it has not had a direct effect on so many businesses, small and large, across the board. I think now, for an international city, we’re a bit of joke.

When it comes to songwriting, how do you and Angus collaborate together? Who does what?

Well, he will usually start with the music and the melody and then have a certain lyric already, which makes sense because he has been there, from the start. And then I’ll just kind of fill in the gaps, which is great because it’s like I’ve just been given pointers along the way.

Do you have a gut feeling when a song is going to be a hit?

You never know which ones are going to be hits. I think you just essentially know what you like or what kind of sticks out a bit, what kind of raises its head a little bit.

Do you get friends to listen to it?

Yes! All the time. I think that’s quite an integral part. I mean, unless you’re an absolute genius, how can you really judge what’s good or not?

Do you and Angus ever disagree on a song or musically?

All the time. Well, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we’re like, “Oh yes, absolutely, that’s great.” Sometimes I’ll be like, “I really like that one.” Angus will be like, “Ah, I don’t like that one so much.”

Who wins in that situation?

Angus is a bigger talker than me [so] he would probably win that one.

Sneaky released the single I Ain’t Over You in April. Do you have plans to release an album?

Potentially we have enough material to do so. It depends on what’s going to happen. We might just put out lots and lots of singles. There is a big question mark hanging above that because we don’t live in the same time frames as we used to with making albums. [It is] so daunting to put out an album these days, unless you’re someone like Adele or Justin Bieber.

Sneaky Sound System has found success for 15 years and you have been part of that success for the past decade. What has been the best aspect of the past 10 years?

I think the travel, getting to see the world, doing something that you love to do … Jumping into the unknown and coming out with your head above water. I like that too. The small shows, the big shows, the shows in between. I think they’ve all been crucial for the journey.

What has been the most challenging aspect of the past 10 years?

International flight travel with no sleep [if you] had a big night the night before.

What do you love most about performing?

I like to push myself to always sing in tune. I know, being a concertgoer, there is nothing worse than somebody going to a concert and them really singing [out of] tune – that really gets me no end.

Did you come from a musical background?

I think if you’re musical as a grown-up, you would have been pretty musical through your childhood. I always played musical instruments as a kid [and was in] school plays … I was a bit of a show off.

Did you always know you were going to be a performer?

Yes. I think that was pretty cool… [My school friends] are not surprised. When I was five or six we used to have like The Connie Mitchell Show…I did a comedy [and] singing routine.

If you didn’t go down this career path, what would you be doing?

I would have loved to go into plastic surgery. I think I would have been really good at that. It’s the challenge of taking something and breaking it, to remake it better.

What do you do in your time off?

I like dinners with friends and I’m quite into [water] sports at the moment. It’s good to maintain all those sports that you’ve played when you were young. I like gaming and playing Game of Thrones. This year, my goal is to get my seaplane licence.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I always wanted to say that I wanted to just be one of the first groups playing on a different planet, which is not so far-fetched. We’re getting closer. That would be a really amazing goal – in the planet of Mars, hopefully with another round of successful tunes from Sneaky and a really well-received solo album.

Is Sneaky Sound System or your solo album more of a priority?

Both have equal priorities [because] I wouldn’t be in a position to make a solo album if it hadn’t been a successful Sneaky.

What would you love to achieve next?

I think at some point you’ve got to look back on what you’ve done in your life and what has been your contribution to the world. Do you know what I mean? Something bigger than me.


WE WENT TO Criniti’s Wooloomoolloo

WE ATE zucchini flowers, beef cappacio and eggplant parmigiana

WE DRANK Mineral waters

CONNIE WORE Vintage Moschino jacket and a Chanel ribbed turtleneck dress

KATE WORE Veronika Maine (sold out).



What I took in my hospital bag when I gave birth

9th August, 2016


With Sophia when she was just a little bub

Packing a bag to take to the hospital when I was giving birth to Sophia was a little daunting as there were so many things I knew I would have to deal with while I was there – post-birth recovery, breastfeeding, and looking after a new bub were all things I knew I needed to be prepared for. Being a first-time mum it helped to have a list of recommendations for things to take to the hospital so I’ve noted down some of the necessities I packed below. I hope it comes in handy!

What I packed for me:
6 x large full brief underpants in black

If ever there is a time to wear the comfiest underwear possible it’s after having a baby. I opt for black and go up a size or two bigger than my regular size to accommodate wearing maturity pads which are quite thick.

2 x packets of maternity pads

You’ll need to wear a pad after giving birth and change it every couple of hours so make sure you come prepared with a supply for your entire stay.

Maternity singlets in black and white

These are great for breastfeeding. Bonds make some great singlets which are really comfortable.

Long loose tops

You don’t want anything to restrictive as you’ll be breastfeeding so loose tops are ideal.

Loose cardigan/jumper

Pack something to keep you warm as hospital rooms can get chilly. Plus as above, you want to wear something loose when you’re breastfeeding.

Loose black pants

Comfy and practical, a pair of loose black pants will take you through your entire stay. Plus you’ll be walking around the ward so you may not want to be in your pyjamas the whole team.


Pack all your necessities as it’s nice to have familiar things like your regular soap and shampoo and conditioner when you’re away from home.


As I said hospital rooms can get chilly so it’s a good idea to pack a pair of warm socks.

Slippers/Comfortable shoes

Pack comfy shoes only – this is not the time to get all glammed up. A pair of slippers or just something you feel comfortable in such as flats is great for when you’re walking around the hospital.


Hospital food isn’t always the tastiest so be sure to pack yourself some snacks to graze on throughout your stay.

Breast pads

I use the brand Pigeon and have found them to work a treat.


You never know when you may need a packet so be sure to pop some in your bag just in case.


It’s less than glam but your digestive system can be in all sorts after giving birth so be sure to pack some Metamucil to help things along.

Gel breast discs

Expect your nipples to be sore (breastfeeding will do that…) so these are great for soothing and healing.

Lip balm

I found my lips tended to get dry so I made sure to have this on hand to moisturise.

Hot/cold pack for the pain

Yes, you will be in pain. Pack one of these just in case.

Tech gear

You’ll need your phone, a phone charger and camera but these can get lost in the mad rush to get to the hospital so make sure you pack what you can in advance.

Recovery shorts

These help with support and separation in the weeks after birth. I used the SRC ones for the first 6 weeks and found them to be really helpful.

Hair brush/Beauty bag

You may not use the makeup you’ve packed but let’s face it you’ll end up having a lot of photos taken so better to be prepared just in case.

A present

This is great for those having their second baby. I’m bringing a present for Sophia “from the baby” for when she first visits to help her feel included in the whole process.


What I’m packing for the baby

6 x size 0000 singlets

Pack both short and long sleeved versions.

6 x size 0000 jumpsuits

I love Bonds jumpsuits but buy any brand you prefer. I do make sure to get the type that cover the baby’s feet

Note: in case you have a big baby it’s good to buy jumpsuits and singlets in a size 000 just in case.

2 x lightweight swaddling wraps

There are some really cute options out there with great prints and colours so find one to suit your style.

1 x woollen or cashmere blanket

I like to pack a cosy blanket to wrap the bub in in case it gets chilly in the hospital.


Do you have other recommendations you can share? What did you take with you?


7 women who really nailed pregnancy dressing

17th March, 2015


Style icon Miroslava Duma shows how to look chic with a bump

I think pregnancy dressing is about learning to mix and match your current wardrobe with some key maternity pieces. Anything stretchy is your friend! And you don’t have to spend a fortune. I updated my wardrobe with some relatively inexpensive maternity pieces from ASOS while I was pregnant with Sophia. If you’re currently trying to work with a bump and are looking for a little style inspiration, look no further than the following women. They managed to accommodate a burgeoning pregnancy belly but still keep their style game strong.


Blake Lively

Blake Lively rocks boho chic in a printed poncho, simple black dress and boots. Learn to layer more voluminous pieces with something fitted to accommodate your bump.

Coco Rocha

Coco Rocha

Model Coco Rocha shows that a fitted dress in a great print is a go-to staple during pregnancy.


Gisele Bundchen

What did I say about stretchy fabric being your friend? Gisele looks easy breezy in a simple stretchy black dress.


Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton is a great example of how to do workwear during a pregnancy. Simple shift dresses and modest pumps are a great understated look.


Miranda Kerr

When dressing with a bump during winter, layer a few loose pieces and work it back with a jacket you already own. Consider purchasing a pair of maternity jeans as they are a great casual staple.


Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham is probably the only woman on the planet who can make walking around in sky high stilettos while pregnant look oh so easy! While you don’t have to follow her footwear lead, do take on board the fact Beckham has managed to take a simple loose white tee and dress it up with a few statement accessories and a chic blazer. The best bit is a white tee is the kind of basic that can easily transition into your post-pregnancy wardrobe.


Miroslava Duma

Style icon Miroslava Duma was all about fitted dresses, cosy cardis and statement coats during her second pregnancy. If you don’t want to wear heels you could easily work back an outfit like this with a pair of ballet flats.


Photography: Habitually Chic, The Telegraph, NY Daily News, Refinery 29, Celebrity Baby Scoop, Just Jared, Mirror



5 things I couldn’t live without during my pregnancy

5th January, 2015


As most mums know it’s an interesting ride ahead when you’re expecting. I couldn’t imagine life without Sophia now, but the lead up to having her was definitely a learning experience. Each expectant mum picks up a survival trick or two along the way, and this is what I couldn’t live without during my pregnancy

Bio Oil
People in my family are quite prone to stretch marks so I was quite cautious with that from the very beginning and applied Bio Oil on my skin daily.

Gentle exercise
I wanted to stay active whilst pregnant so I continued doing Pilates throughout my pregnancy. I also did lots of long walks on the beach to get some exercise plus it’s not bad for relaxation too.

I shopped ASOS a few times to stock up on maternity basics. They have a really good pregnancy section so I bought a lot of pieces from them, plus online shopping is just so much more convenient when you’re pregnant.

Fish Oil
I found I was quite low in iron so to get an iron boost I took fish oil tablets.

Morning juices
I made/drank a lot of juices during my pregnancy. I was really cautious of getting getting the right vitamins and minerals and having the right amount of fruit and veg so I would have a juice in the morning. I’d just mix up whatever fruit and veg I had in the fridge and I also made sure to add a lot of superfoods such as kale into my juices to maximise the nutrients I was getting. If you’re constantly on the go throughout the day, it’s great to get a good dose of fruit and veg first thing in the morning.

Do you have a great pregnancy tip? Share them below!


Shop the Look: Maternity

29th May, 2014


I have found Maternity wear to be a tricky one. It’s so hard to find clothes that fit ‘the bump’ without having to sacrifice your everyday style. Many people have been asking me what some of my favourite things to wear during my pregnancy have been and I have found that shift dresses have been perfect for those dressy occasions while ASOS maternity has been a saviour for basics. So here are some of my favourite splurge and must-have items that I have come across in the last nine months…

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Babyshower happy snaps

27th May, 2014

photo 2

My friends recently hosted me a beautiful baby shower. It was a casual Sunday brunch with 20 of my closest family and friends at my home (with a few of the hubby’s popping in at the end!). It was so lovely to spend that time with my nearest and dearest and I was so touched that they hosted such a special event for me so I wanted to share a few happy snaps from the day… Kate x

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What I Wore

What I Wore: The Grace Tales

22nd May, 2014

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What I Wore

What I Wore: The Grace Tales

25th March, 2014



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