When I look around at mothers who are on maternity leave and soaking up their special times with their little ones, I can't help but be a little bit jealous. There is nothing easy about being a stay-at-home mum, but I would LOVE the opportunity to change out of my tracksuit if and when I choose. Instead I face the juggle that an increasing number of mums are facing - going back to work with your baby.
What you say? Working with a baby? Doesn't that take away from your quality time? Doesn't that affect your work? Some people act like I've just said I leave my baby in the car while I get my hair done, but believe me, it's a win win situation.
Being a small business owner, maternity leave just wasn't on the cards. I had planned to work from home for a few months, but staffing issues meant that just wasn't an option, so after having my second daughter Scarlett in mid April, I was back working full time about a month later. Down time didn't happen at all, and as I recall, I was sending clients emails during my labour (which was a speedy 45 minute session in the hospital).
Luckily for me, my daughter has been a dream baby, and has adjusted to working full time quite well.
For the first few months of her life, she fed at 8am and then napped till around midday. Then after her lunch feed she'd sleep until 5pm, feed again and then we'd head home for the day. I actually managed to get quite a lot of work done which meant I saved my business from falling to pieces. As much as wanted maternity leave, I also didn't want to lose something I had been working so hard for over the last decade. While she was so young, she also didn't lose any of my attention as she was either with me or sleeping.
I've also always let my clients know about my situation too, so they have the choice of waiting until I have baby-free days, or allowing me to bring Scarlett along to meetings and training sessions. They always choose the baby. Brilliant. I did have one group comment that they've never had someone breastfeed through a training session before though. Thank goodness for my poncho. Perfect for a little discretion.
Now that Scarlett is nearly 5 months old, she's also able to sit in the Bumbo (see pic top right). It's amazing for popping on the board table during meetings, or just having her next to me while I work. As soon as she gets a little more active though, the game plan will have to change again as the last thing I want is her falling off a desk. Hmmm. The challenges of modern-day parenting.
To be balanced, it's not all roses. I've been in meetings where Scarlett has had explosive nappies, vomited all over me, needed multiple feeds and had screaming sessions. You can't have the good without the bad I guess. That's just part of life. At least most people I come across have had kids of their own and just give me sympathetic looks when things go wrong. It's just life.
I have to say though, even though I'd love to be at home enjoying the joys of maternity leave, I also love having my baby in the office with me so I can enjoy her awake time and experience her growth and changes, while still having the flexibility that owning your own business allows you. I've made my own rules up once before with Ivy, I'm doing it with Scarlett, and I'd be the first person to recommend it to anyone if their situation permits it.
For anyone who knows me, you'll realise that exercise isn't really my 'thing'. I've had a gym membership for a few years now (which I've used on and off) and I've loved the stints I've done at Hypoxi, but as far as an ongoing fitness regime - I've never had one. I blame my workload, and my toddler, and my relationship, and my attempt at having some down time when I get the chance. How on earth was there time to fit anything else in? I guess being 7 months pregnant also added to the list of excuses, but when I was offered the opportunity to try out Rhythm Pilates and South African Callanetics at Club Rhythm in North Adelaide, it seemed like a good a time as any to start. Especially when the team there told me that it would help with giving birth. Anything that helps is worth doing, right? With the nod from my doctor, it was time to don the workout gear and hope that I didn't bump in to anyone I knew. Well I've been going for a few weeks now and it's time to report back. Rhythm Pilates For both my Pilates and Callanetics classes, I've been lucky enough to nab two fantastic trainers who are giving me one-on-one sessions. This works really well because a regular group class wouldn't be able to focus on teaching me all the pregnancy-friendly moves, and ensuring that I'm doing everything safely for both the baby & I. I'm also quite a lot slower than the regular Joe these days, and appreciate that I can take things at my own pace. The Rhythm Pilates classes are taken in the centre of the club, in a specialty room with STOTT PILATES® machines. It's surprisingly easy for me, as it seems that my body has retained some of it's physical memory of how it's meant to work. We're focusing on arm and leg exercises which are helping me with my flexibility and overall strength, and are helping to prepare me not only for the super physical challenge ahead of me, but for my post-baby recovery and bounce-back (do you like how optimistic I'm being here?). My sessions go for around 45m - 1hr and I am definitely spent at the end of each one. As I mentioned though, they aren't too much for me, which I feel is extremely important, as I don't have too much energy to spare these days! South African Callanetics Just to be clear, we're not talking about Callisthenics here. There are no ribbons, children in make up or brightly coloured leotards allowed. Callanetics was created in the 80s by a ballet dancer to help alleviate her back and knee pain. The pelvic floor exercises in the South African version of Callanetics lift and shape buttocks and provide core strength to reduce hip and lower back pain. I think overall, it's just another great form of exercise to help strengthen and tone your body. Compared to the Pilates classes I'm taking, I find Callanetics to be much more challenging on my muscles. As this style of exercise uses your own body for resistance (think leg lifts etc) it's really up to you as to how hard you push yourself. My arms and legs ache after each class, but it's actually nice to think that I'm doing something positive during my pregnancy rather than just eating blocks of chocolate because 'the baby wants it'. The fact that I have a fabulous teacher (Marayka) also helps. In fact, the entire team at Club Rhythm are all wonderful so I've been lucky. Everyone is really supportive about my pregnancy and my slow return in to the world of exercise. Overall, I think Rhythm Pilates and Callanetics are a good combo to do, as both are low/no impact, while each targets different muscles and exercises your body in different ways. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get nearly as much out of it (pregnant) if I didn't have the one-on-one classes though as my attention span is short at the moment, and I need to be guided along in order to keep me on track. Do I think this will help me in childbirth? Who knows, but I've still got some time left before I need to find out, so I'll keep doing my pelvic floor exercises, going to my classes and hoping for the best. At the very least, I'm helping my body to remember that it's still got muscles and that fact will certainly help me on the other side of this 9 month journey! Fast Facts Club Rhythm feels like a day spa, but operates a variety of fitness programs for those who like their self improvement to happen in style. It's located at 69-71 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide. Rhythm Pilates (group) classes happen several times a day from Monday - Friday. South African Callanetics (group) classes happen Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday at 6:15pm and Saturday at 8:30am. http://www.clubrhythm.com.au
After having one gorgeous daughter in May 2011, I'm back on the baby train. This time I'm due on May the 4th (insert Star Wars jokes here), which will place the kids about 2 years apart. I'd love to have a Champagne or 4 to celebrate but I'll have to leave that up to my supportive friends. Ahhh Champagne, I'm going to miss you old friend. See you on the flip side.
When the Myer Spring Summer 2012/2013 catalogue is revealed this week in Sydney and you're enjoying the beautiful images, the stunning designs and the flawless models, just keep in mind that dozens of people travelled halfway around the world to deliver this to you.
At the end of May this year, the Myer crew packed a ridiculous amount of luggage, camera crew and gluten free bread, and headed to Sun City in South Africa. This gorgeous resort and the surrounding National Park was the base for this year's Spring Summer fashion shoot, and the diversity of landscapes and locations meant that you will have visually spectacular backdrops accompanying some incredible clothing this season.
Check out my behind the scenes video below (apologies for the footage but the professional film crew was stuck back here in Adelaide) and some photos to get you in the mood.
The full reveal will be happening this Thursday in Sydney and I'll be there to bring you all the updates! Follow me on Twitter at @KellyNoble.
After weeks of patiently waiting, I'm excited to reveal some of the amazing photos taken by Alex Coppel on my visit to South Africa! The images were shot for the upcoming Myer Spring Summer catalogue and truly capture the beauty of the amazing landscape of the country, as well as the stunning designs we can look forward to wearing next season! The models and the crew enjoyed the trip as much as we did behind the scenes, and to show you what went on I'll be uploading some behind the scenes photos and video shortly. In the meantime, enjoy the photos that were taken at our hotel, The Palace of the Lost City (in Sun City) and at the national park that surrounds it...
Johannesburg is the world's largest urban forest, with over 10 million trees!
As a first time visitor to Johannesburg, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd heard mixed options about the city before my trip to South Africa (mainly from people who had never been there) and as a result, had decided not to make any judgement calls before experiencing it for myself.
I'm glad I waited.
It was a beautiful, vibrant city and we enjoyed a SAFE experience. We drove around with our car unlocked. Our driver did not carry a gun. We did not get car jacked. Or pick-pocketed. Or scammed. Since the World Cup was held there, safety in the city has vastly improved and additional security cameras, increased police presence, citizen patrols and military support has meant that crime has substantially decreased.
Like any big city, there are still areas to be more vigilant in, but overall, the public perception of Joburg being dangerous is incorrect, and I'm glad I was able to have a positive experience there to share with everyone else.
The drive from Sun City to Johannesburg took about 2 hours and allowed us to see a different side to life in South Africa. Plots of land farmed with unknown crops sprung up regularly among wilder, overgrown areas. Locals selling wire whisks, fresh fruit and beaded animals stood at traffic lights. Crowded, lively townships crammed with tiny houses lined sections of the road. People were walking everywhere, travelling to and from work, and sometimes their most direct route seemed to include strolling along the freeway. We certainly weren't short of sights to soak in!
We were lucky to have an incredible guide called Joe to drive us around during our time in the city. Joe had grown up in Soweto in Joburg and was a passionate advocate for the city and South Africa. His stories about the past and present in Johannesburg were amazing, and he had been an active participant in creating the way of life he is now proud to share with his children and grandchildren. Joe was part of the 1976 student protests in Soweto, which helped to shape the course of history for South Africa. If you don't know much about them, it's an important and turbulent part of history and worth spending some time researching.
As we headed further into Johannesburg, a more familiar cityscape greeted us, with busy streets, skyscrapers and traffic, and hidden gems like our first destination, 44 Stanley, Millpark. 44 (as it's known) is a small complex, hidden behind a double gate and high walls that opened into a beautiful little group of courtyards framed with trees. 44 has a mix of boutique shops and cafes, including a great little bakery/cafe called Vovo Telo where we had AMAZING gourmet pizzas. I'd definitely recommend it!
Our lunch destination, Vovo Telo
Inside Vovo Telo
Our itinerary was insane so I won't pack all my stories in to one post. Will post more shortly!