Two minutes with … Ashlea Holdsworth, mama to River, aged almost 2 years 

Two minutes with … Ashlea Holdsworth, mama to River, aged almost 2 years 

When was the last time you had “me-time” and how did you spend that time? 

I recently took River to LA with me on my work trip which was fantastic and on the flight home, he slept like an angel – I managed to watch a movie and have a glass of wine, it was heaven!

What are some of your favourite ways to practice self care? 

I do a 5:30am boxing class with my sister once a week before work which is a great way to practice self care and let off a little steam – getting up early can be tough sometimes especially when I’m on a deadline at work or if I’ve had a rough night with River – but I just feel so much better once it’s done and really feels like I’ve  done something for me. Getting a mani and pedi and my hair done every now and then is also something that I love to do and are some of my favourite ways of practicing self care.

What advice would you give to mamas struggling to create “me-time”? How do you make time in your schedule for yourself? 

I struggled for a while to find time for myself. Working full time and long hours I felt so guilty leaving my son to do something for myself even if it was an hour here or there. However, I have realised that I need to take this time out – this makes me happy and I feel that I am a better Mum and Wife when I take some time out for myself. I make time by getting up early before work while River is asleep to work out, schedule time with my husband so I make sure he is home so I can create time and also accepting help when it is offered. I’m super lucky that I have a very supportive and helpful husband. My advice to other mums struggling to create ‘me-time’ would be to try and schedule some time even in the early hours before everyone is awake or asking and accepting some help. An hour once a week can make a world of difference to your happiness and wellbeing – when you are doing something that makes you feel good about yourself.

The perfect blend of two of my me-time favourites 

The perfect blend of two of my me-time favourites 

What? Thai massage

Where?  Herbal Thai Massage, Surfers Paradise, Queensland.

Why?  Thai massage releases muscle tension, improves circulation and relieves stress.

Thai massage is often described as a blend of yoga and massage. It combines acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles, and assisted yoga postures.

I love my massages firm. The massage I received was certainly that. Not for the faint hearted,  I was pummeled, elbowed, stretched and bent during my hour long session. That said, I loved it and the service with Herbal Thai Massage was excellent. As an added bonus they have seriously late trading hours (11:00pm on the night I went) which meant it was something I could enjoy after the kids were in bed.

How much? $49.00 for 1 hour.

Two minutes with … Jade Kelly, mama to Lincoln, aged 3 years and Jax, aged 20 months

Two minutes with … Jade Kelly, mama to Lincoln, aged 3 years and Jax, aged 20 months

When was the last time you had “me-time” and how did you spend that time?

Today. I nourished my flowers [trimmed the stems and changed the water], had a cup of tea + read a magazine. I make it a priority to have a little bit of “me-time” each day.

What are some of your favourite ways to practice self care?

Self-care is 100% a mindset, it’s solely about you and your mental clarity. Your needs and wants. Self-love and recharging your batteries. Basically a snippet of sanity in this hard yet wonderful journey that is motherhood.
For me, these little pleasures are soaking in the tub, redecorating + styling, photography, reading, online shopping, practising mindfulness and indulging in some skincare.

What advice would you give to mamas struggling to create “me-time”? How do you make time in your schedule for yourself?

Me-time is honestly one of the most important things. A happy, balanced and healthy mama bear is key to happy children.

My advice would be to find a kick-ass support system – family or friends. Have someone watch the little ones every now and again. Rotate between time alone, whether that be going for a walk or a coffee date [just breathe and enjoy the quiet] and a date night with your other half. Now, I know that’s not always possible, and not everyone has that close by. So my other advice is to make sure you take full advantage of when the kiddies are down for the night. It’s so important.

One thing my hubby and I do without fail every night is sit down on the couch with a wine/tea/coffee, chat about our day, watch a smidge of TV and just embrace each other. This is our little routine.
Once a week we also have a candlelit bath together, massage and listen to some tunes. It’s blissful.

Mama’s Me-time guide to Byron Bay, New South Wales

Mama’s Me-time guide to Byron Bay, New South Wales

As you drive into the Coastal town of Byron Bay you are greeted with a sign that reads “Cheer up, slow down, chill out”. It sums up a lot of what makes Byron special. Sometimes referred to as the spiritual capital of Australia there’s a big emphasis on wellness and healing, and as you would imagine it offers some incredible ways to spend me-time.

Thanks to Michelle Ruthven, mama of two and creator of Byron4Kids website (www.byron4kids.com.au) Baylee Wood, mama of two and creator of  Mama + Me (www.mamaandme.com.au) and Ainsley Schumacher, mama of two, we’ve put today a locals guide to the best me-time activities in and around Byron Bay.

Spa/massage

Michelle – Kiva Spa in Mullumbimby does Spa and Massage and is loved by locals. I have enjoyed a spa afternoon with the girls there. A lovely place to relax and unwind.  http://thekivaspa.com/

Gaia Retreat and Day Spa is in the hinterland – about 20 mins drive from central Byron. Founded by Olivia Newton John in a stunning location with wonderful massage and spa facilities. I have received vouchers as a gift and enjoyed a delightful and nourishing day there.  http://gaiaretreat.com.au/

The Salt Cave – thought I’d include this although I’ve not yet been but I want to. It’s not really a Spa but a relatively new concept in Byron.  It’s receiving some really positive press at the moment – especially in the season of colds and flu as it appears to greatly ease congestion. http://www.saltcave.com.au

Baylee – Gaia retreat is phenomenal but pretty pricey. Kiva spa in Mullumbimby is nice and affordable.

Ainsley- Ok so this isn’t in Byron but it’s only a short drive, my place to go to get away, relax and enjoy the piece sounds that don’t include the vibrational sounds of muuuuum or i’m huuuuuungry would hands down be Kiva Spa. I walk out of there feeling my age (sometimes even younger, depending on how haggard my week was).

Yoga/Pilates

Michelle –There are so many to choose from!

Beachside Yoga and Massage are located above the surf club at Main Beach Byron Bay so you have ocean views which is pretty unique. They also do great massage there too. I have done both yoga classes and received massage here and thoroughly recommend both. http://beachsideyogaandmassage.com.au

Although I haven’t attended either of the following, there are Yogalates fusion classes in both Suffolk Park and Bangalow http://www.yogalates.com.au/studios-classes/byron-shire-classes

and pure Pilates classes take place at Byron Bay Pilates located at the bottom end of Jonson St http://www.byronbaypilates.com.au/

Baylee – Yoga pad in Mullumbimby or Creature Yoga in Byron (or yoga at the Farm)

Ainsley – If you are like me and wear yoga pants better than you can hold positions, then we could be friends. Personally I’m a lover of the sea and my choice of yoga in Byron Bay would have to be Beachside Yoga & Massage….the view for me is worth holding those poses 😉

Meditation

Michelle –The Temple Byron offers a number of weekly meditation sessions. I have never been but the What’s On page of their website includes weekly mindfulness meditations and healing meditations http://www.templebyron.com/whats-on.php

Baylee – Yoga Peace in Mullumbimby is unreal for meditation. Suriya Cutbush is amazing at meditation, chanting and also is incredible at massage.

Ainsley – Well this one is actually done in my own home. Everyone is welcome to come to my house and meditate but I’m regularly in a room full of women and pretty certain that minimal meditation will be done…..But I’m totally ok with that!

Walking/ running

Michelle –Most people’s fave is to walk/run the Byron Bay Lighthouse – the reward of exquisitely combined beauty and nature while you run or walk up to the top. Plus there’s an awesome cafe if you want to treat yourself at the top!  Other nice headland walks include 3 Sisters at Broken Head or 20 mins (car) south of Byron the headland walk at Lennox Head. At all these places you  can stop and see pods of dolphins or (especially at this time of year) whales passing through. Here is a link to various walking tracks on Byron4Kids.com.au that are also suitable to do with kids. http://byron4kids.com.au/category/walking-trails/?s=#

Baylee – The lighthouse walk is my favourite but not pram safe. Mount warning is also great but not pram safe either and it’s a whole day experience. There are also some beautiful bush walks around Minyon falls.

Ainsley – I’m a repeat offender of saying I’m going for a run, which under my definition means walking fast, which in another persons position would just be called walking. I’m short with no length going for me at all, my 3 year walks faster than me so when I do break out a jog I love (just like everyone else) the light house walk. I prefer to do this with no-one so I can spend most my time jogging, standing still and watching the sea life put on their show….it would be rude not to watch.

Alternative healers (i.e. reiki, cranosacral, Bowen or similar if you know of or use any)

Michelle –Byron is probably overflowing with Alternative Healers and Yoga Studios/Classes. There’s at least a page dedicated to them in the classified section of the local weekly newspaper The Echo.

Personally we go to Dr Anna Rolfes a superb Kinesiologist at The Institute For Vibrational Medicine (based in Newrybar) for alternative healing but you need to book weeks in advance as she’s always booked out.

There’s an ayurvedic clinic in town that offers a range of alternative therapies http://ayurvedahouse.com.au/blog/?page_id=53

and Byron Medicine Wheel is one of the most long-established healing centres in Byron Bay and offers a number alternative therapies including reiki, theta, massage, naturopathy psychic and tarot http://www.byronmedicinewheel.com.au

Baylee – Mullumbimby herbals is great for alternative medicine, wild fox acupuncture (also massage, herbalist and birth assistant) is also good.

Ainsley – My gorgeous reiki lady is in Lennox head, if you happen to head this way (and it’s worth the trip) then look up Jess Kay – peacelovelightyoga@gmail.com

Best coffee/cafe with kids

Michelle – I have heard Mullum locals highly rate the Poinciana Cafe in Mullumbimby as a great kid friendly cafe. https://www.facebook.com/Poinciana-Mullumbimby-165204196844056/?fref=ts

I have also just heard about (yet to check out but it’s on my list) Jing Organics https://www.facebook.com/jingorganics/?fref=ts on the Arts and Industry Estate in Byron is receiving rave reviews at the moment not only for its outrageously good food but it also has a great kids playground. The Farm Byron Bay is also a big fave with locals and tourists alike. It has a great playground for the kids, plus all the animals (pigs. cows, chooks)  they can wander round and have a look at, and a macadamia and pecan orchard. http://www.thefarmbyronbay.com.au/

Baylee – The farm byron bay is great for the whole family, also the poinciana cafe in mullumbimby has a totally rad pirate playground and live music on weekends, plus healthy food. The Sun Bistro is also good for family meals, they have a grassy are for the kids to run around in and a playground too.

Circus arts in byron is a perfect way to tire the kids out in the play area and the circus workshops plus they have a cafe where you can sit and watch them play. It’s pretty affordable too.

Ainsley – I’m possibly going to be the first person not to say ‘The Farm’. For me when it comes to coffee I like the small businesses in random places, like the caravan park on your way south out of byron. Sprout do a good coffee and loads of space for the kids to run, take a picnic blanket (or just use their’s) and enjoy!!

Best coffee/cafe without kids

Michelle – St Elmo’s, Targa, The Balcony all come to mind. I don’t often go places without my kids except occasionally out to dinner but these 3 places are good to go without the kids and the coffee is pretty good too!

https://www.facebook.com/StElmoByronBay/?fref=ts (St Elmo’s)

https://www.facebook.com/TheBalconyBarandRestaurantByronBay/?fref=ts (The Balcony)

https://www.facebook.com/TargaByronBay/?fref=ts (Targa)

Baylee – I LOVE the footbridge in brunswick heads. Great local crew of people and super yummy breaky and coffees.

If you want to treat yourself for a delicious lunch or afternoon tapas head to The Elements in Byron omg best cocktails and tapas! The Brunswick hotel is also great for live music, it’s family friendly and has affordable yummy meals.

Oh and sourdough Saturday/Sunday is a total treat at The Harvest in Newrybar. They have delicious coffees and the most INSANE baked goodies, they even have gf options!! Hell yes!

Ainsley – If you don’t have your small tribe I would recommend getting in the car and head south there are lots of little cafes everywhere that do good coffee, great food and relaxed environments. There is a sweet little place in Lindendale called The Spotted Pig Cafe, oh and I can’t forget the little Maggie & Mr Jones in Ballina with their amazing raw and paleo treats.

Two minutes with … Sarah Anderson, mama to Sydney, aged 2 and a half years

Two minutes with … Sarah Anderson, mama to Sydney, aged 2 and a half years

When was the last time you had “me-time” and how did you spend that time?

I actually try and carve out some ‘me-time’ every single day. I think as mothers and as females we tend to naturally put everything and everyone ahead of our own wants and needs, for so long I had fallen into a slump where my own ‘me-time’ was almost completely non-existent. I was stressed, overwhelmed, easily frustrated and even sometimes angry solely because I hadn’t given myself any attention in so long. Right now the majority of my ‘me-time’ is spent at the gym, which no matter how good or bad my workout is, gives me the strength and energy to tackle the rest of the day. Regardless of my mood going into the gym, I always leave feeling more confident, less stressed and a lot happier.

What are some of your favourite ways to practice self care?

My favorite way to practice self-care is working out but moreover to really listen to your body. If you’ve been feeling exhausted and stressed for a few days, try and make time for a bath or even a longer hot shower. Head to bed earlier and zone out with a good book or magazine. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, make a list of things you want to get done and prioritize what’s most important and try to accomplish those tasks throughout the week. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed I feel almost paralyzed and unable to move forward with my to-do list, but if I’ve found if I prioritize and give myself 2-3 things per day to tackle, I feel a lot better and am more motivated to get things done.

What advice would you give to mamas struggling to create “me-time”? How do you make time in your schedule for yourself?

My advice is to delegate. I’m a perfectionist ergo somewhat of a control freak, so I have a hard time letting people help me and letting things go. My husband is kind of the opposite and doesn’t let the small things get to him, so he’s really helped me realize life will go on if things aren’t perfect. Also, just as I’ve made it a priority to schedule date nights with my husband, I’ve also made it a priority to have date nights with myself. Whether that be one night a month when our daughter goes to bed early to take a long relaxing bath or try and finish up work early when she’s still at school and go get a nice mani-pedi. I’ve found that even the littlest things can help boost my mood.