Meet Ash Leslie, Banabae's graphic design and marketing gal.
After meeting co-owner Jaz through a mother's group and getting to know each other over countless coffees, Ash was brought on board with her love of design, branding, styling and of course vintage inspired products!
Ash talks to us about her motherhood journey, setting up her nursery and how she's managing during these ever changing covid times.
What’s the date today?
Monday March 30th
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am 32 years old, a mother, wife, graphic designer and artist. I love coffee and I’m addicted to sugar. I love op shopping and creating beautiful interior spaces.
What do you love about the area where you live?
I live in a little beachside suburb about and hour and a half South of Sydney. Our home is an old miner’s cottage buried in bushland with the escarpment on one side and the beach on the other. I love the Kookaburras and Cockatoos hanging out on the deck, the running creek, the waves crashing at night. It’s pretty magic and I never stop feeling grateful. There’s also an amazing local arts and hospitality culture here and our friends and family are scattered up and down the coast so it feels vey much like home.
What has been the most surprising part of motherhood for you?
Well it’s all a surprise isn’t it! But I guess pregnancy and birth was really different to how I had expected. I thought I would struggle way more but I found most of it really enjoyable. I think because I felt like a bloody super hero making this amazing little person. I was also expecting to feel completely out of my comfort zone and have a few emotional breakdowns! But most of it came pretty natural and has been better than I could of imagined. Also becoming a mum was in a way a bit healing for me. My own mum passed away from Breast Cancer when I was 22 and we were really close. I think I had been craving a mother daughter relationship, so after my daughter was born I felt so much more connected to my mum and that’s been a really beautiful surprise.
What was most important to you when you were setting up your nursery? Has the space evolved over time?
I didn’t really know what I was doing initially but one of my main priorities was for it to be functional. It’s not a big room so I did space saving things like use a chest of drawers as a change table. I also set myself up in a single bed with her in a bassinet next to me initially so I could move about freely during night time feeds. I would set myself up with snacks and pinterest my head off during those long feeds. I actually have great memories of that time all snug with my girl. The other priority was for it to be beautiful. The rest of my house is pretty neutral as I have colour commitment issues, but I wanted her room to be colourful and fun. I had always wanted to paint a wall mural for my kids so one day when she was about 4 months old I must have of had a ‘good’ nights sleep and got a surge of creative energy. I painted the first mushroom and over the last two years I have been adding to it. It's taken ages as I obviously couldn’t paint it when she was sleeping, so it’s been in drips and drabs while she was happy to play while I paint. She loves saying good night to the flowers and bees before bed, so I hope it fosters good memories for her and enforces her love of nature.
Do you have a favourite piece in the nursery, one that’s a bit extra special to you?
A lot of the pieces are from mine or my husband’s childhood so there’s a lot of sentimental and loved pieces in there. Some of our favourite childhood reads, the vintage dolly was my great grandmother’s and my Dad made the trinket house when I was little. We love adding shells or rocks to it that she collects on our beach walks. I also love the shell vase that I found recently from a local vintage store.
We normally ask our mamas what you do for self care but with the challenges of current covid times that is looking very different. How have you been dealing with isolation? Have you adopted any new rituals?
I’m generally a homebody and already work from home so that hasn’t been a big adjustment. But it has been a big challenge adding my husband working from home and a toddler running around too. Screen time and snack time have definitely gone up, as has parent guilt. But I am grateful that we still have jobs and take comfort in us all being together. Pre-covid self care would look like enjoying a coffee in a café, wondering around the local shops or catching a mate for a wine. All of which I will never take for granted again! But spending any time by myself to either paint or work on some creative project has always been my retreat, so that’s something I can still lean on.
Do you have any positive reflections about isolation?
I’ve definitely noticed my mindset has shifted to a more mindful and grateful one. Even though the extra mess of three people at home is driving me a bit crazy I am so bloody grateful for my home. And for my job keeping my brain busy. And most of all my friends and family. I'm not a huge hugger but man I can not wait to hug all my people.
What would be your ultimate future day out of isolation?
Pancakes and coffee with my family then down to the beach to relax and watch my husband and daughter play in the waves. Then off (by myself) to have another coffee at the local café, a couple hours of op shopping, maybe squeeze in a massage and an arvo nap post reading a good book. Then I think I'd get all dressed up and got out with my husband and our friends for a few wines and a boogie on the dance floor.
What are your best mama hacks?
Have something that is just for you away from your kids. I believe we are all better mamas when we take care of ourselves. Also invest time in creating a great group of friends to be able to have a guilt free whinge about the downs and celebrate the highs of motherhood. Housework wise I do 10 minutes of power at the end of the day to get the house back in order as I’ve convinced myself that this will allow us to start the next day with a bit of zen. At least 5 minutes of it anyway!
You can catch more of Ash on instagram