Interview with Urban Gypsy Collective

Gerry and Rachelle. The bohemian queens who are the face of the online store, Urban Gypsy Collective. Both ladies inspire the online fashion community with their whimsical, effortless style that is practical yet luxurious. Their entrepreneurial spirit and passion for fashion led them to create a beautiful store that can be shopped from anywhere in the world. Sharing their experiences from Sydney to Singapore, I had the pleasure of interviewing these two ladies.  

We would love to know a bit about the two founders of Urban Gypsy Collective! Tell us about yourselves.

Gerry: Hey, I’m Gerry Capablanca. I’m a Sydneysider who’s been living in Singapore for the past 7 years. I’m mumma to 3 awesome boys, Jack, Jedd and Judah, wife to Joey and co-founder of Urban Gypsy Co.

Rachelle: I am Rachelle, the other half of Urban Gypsy Co and I am a born and bred local Singaporean.

Rachelle and Gerry – Urban Gypsy Founders

Urban Gypsy Collective is an exciting new venture for you both. Tell us more!

Urban Gypsy Collective is an online store based here in Singapore which stocks some amazing Aussie boho and coastal labels like Arnhem, Rowie, Lack of Color and more. We launched Urban Gypsy in July 2018 so we’re still fairly new and still navigating our way through being business owners and running an online store.

What led you to start your own business?

Rachelle and I are both fashion fanatics and opening a store was something we’d both thought about for as long as we can remember. So one day we got to talking and decided we should just do it! We wanted to stock products we’d love to wear ourselves and we seemed to always be ordering everything from Australia. So we decided we wanted to be the first in Singapore to start stocking these Aussie brands.

It has always been at the back of my head, but at that time I wasn’t ready to start a business alone. Once I met Gerry, as they say “the rest was history”. We’ve always wanted to bring the concept of quality and sustainable bohemian and coastal fashion to Singapore, and then we decided to just take the plunge and do it!

Gerry, how do you balance mumlife, business and self care?

It’s tough, I won’t lie and I’m still trying to learn how to balance everything. Being a mum sometimes leaves no time for anything else let alone running a business and finding time for self care. But I’m extremely blessed to have a very encouraging and supportive hubby and I’m really thankful to have a great business partner in Rachelle. I think the most important thing I’ve realised becoming a Mum is that I need to take the time to look after myself. A friend once said to me ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ and it really hit home for me because it’s so true. I’ve come to realise I first need to look after myself to be able to be the best I can be for my family (and also in business). I find when I’ve made the time to simply go for a run or swim, or to just take some timeout, it’s rejuvenating for the body and soul and then I can be a much better Mum and wife. I’m able to give more of myself and get things done.

Rachelle, how do you balance work life, business and self care?

Compartmentalise, no matter how busy it gets, always don’t let it get in the way of self care. Everyone gets tired out– it’s always important to pamper yourself and be refreshed with new ideas!

Who inspires you?

My family are my number one inspiration. They make me want to always do my best. And there’s so many women out there who I’ve never met before but I know through social media whose posts, blogs and stories inspire me daily. It’s so uplifting to see positive and empowering messages from other women doing what they love, standing up for what they believe in and just keeping it real.

Victoria Beckham has always been the longest fashion inspiration for me. I have always admired her passion for her work and her dedication to her family while juggling a fashion empire.

What are 3 things you can’t live without?

My family, chocolate and Summer.

Family, friends and candies.

Rachelle & Gerry at their first Pop Up Event

Gerry, what has motherhood taught you about yourself?

It’s taught me I’m really much stronger than I thought I was and that I’m capable of loving unconditionally. It’s also taught me to savour every season because these days go way too fast.

What does a typical day in the week look like for you?

Well it depends what day of the week we’re talking about but generally Monday to Friday I’m running around on Mum duty – making lunches, driving my kids to classes, helping with homework and trying to squeeze in a workout here and there. Weekends revolve around food and relaxing!

The typical adulting stuff, I go to my day job and then usually wind down after work with dinner and drinks with friends!

Any tips for someone starting out in your industry?

I’m no expert but my biggest tip would be to take the plunge and ‘just start’! Start researching, start reaching out to people, start asking questions, draft out a business plan… just take the first step and start. There’s really no better way to start than diving in head first.

And starting your business based on a passion, something you believe in or what you love, I think is the key – the benefit being you’ll know why you’re doing it and its essentially your passion that will get you through the more challenging times.

Do not be afraid of failure, give your best in something that you love to do and you will eventually find your way and flow.

So for my jet setting readers, any hot tips of where to go, eat or shop in Singapore?

Food is life. I really love eating and Singapore has an abundance of amazing foods. If you ever find yourself in Singapore a must try is Singapore chilli crab and my fave place for crab is Jumbos. On nights out we’ll usually hit Ann Siang Hill and Club Street areas for intimate restaurants, bars galore and hidden speakeasys. Weekends we love going to Tanjong Beach Club to just chill, drink cocktails and listen to cool tunes while the kids swim in the pool overlooking the beach. They also do yummy seafood!

For a true Singaporean experience, I would highly recommend going to Tiong Bahru Market in the morning where they have a selection of hawker stalls that sell a wide variety of affordable local food.

Thanks to Gerry and Rachelle for their insight into starting out in the fashion industry, following their passions and finding the balance in it all! They have kindly offered 15% off your first online order at Urban Gypsy Collective. You can use the discount code NATASHA15 at checkout to receive this generous offer. Thanks ladies!

You can find their online store at www.urbangypsy.co/ and on Instagram at @urbangypsy.co Follow them to find out more and join their journey!

Singapore fondly referred to as the “Little Red Dot.”

How to make the perfect Grazing Platter

We have just made it through one of the busiest times of the year – end of year parties, Christmas, New Year’s Eve… but Summer kicks on in Australia for a bit longer! And with Summer comes with many opportunities for socialising and enjoying the brighter days! Grazing platters are a great way to feed a large group of people or for an intimate dinner party with your closest friends.

Grazing platters have been taking over the hospitality industry and I can see why! The visual impact of a colourful buffet of delicious food intertwined with the option to pick and choose what you like – I can’t think of a better way to feed a group who may have diverse food preferences!

My beautiful friend, Libby, and I have had the delight of arranging grazing tables for a few special occasions and events. Through these experiences, we have refined our skill in creating maximum impact, on a clear budget with plenty of delicious treats for all the guests.

A Vegetarian grazing platter we created for a warm family reunion.

Here are the tips to creating a grazing platter of your very own!

THE PLATTER

We have used different serving ware to showcase our grazing platters. My absolute favourite is a 1 meter long timber board which has been oiled and seasoned to hold an array of delights. Alternatively, there are options around the kitchen which can be used. For example, wooden chopping boards, glass platters, baskets, wooden boxes, ceramic plates, cake stands or even a large table covered with a table cloth. Using a few different options can make the food area interesting and unique.

COLOUR

You want to make your guests feel like they are at a royal banquet! Maximum visual impact will be achieved with the mixture of cascading colours from fresh seasonal fruit, crunchy vegetables, antipasto, bread, cheeses, small goods, dips and dippers. Choose items which are of varying colours because you ‘eat with your eyes!’

HEIGHT

Varying heights help with the visual appearance of the platter. Using similar coloured jars, glasses, dishes, little bowls and serving ware can help with a cohesive finish. If you are going for a more eclectic look, using an assortment of ceramics or glass ware can turn your classy platter into a bohemian feast. Arrange these serving dishes on the platter before putting out your food so you can vary the heights and design of your platter.

TEXTURE

This is one of my favourite parts of constructing an eye catching platter! Using a variety of textures from the glistening olives, to crunchy bread sticks, the oozy soft cheeses to the grainy crackers and always, always, some decadent dark chocolate snapped and scattered throughout the gaps on the board. Ensure you have a blend of different textures to encourage people to dig in and not get “taste fatigue”.

Candles and fairy lights to add some ambiance to this platter.

AMBIANCE

Setting the mood for your event is everything. You want your guests to feel free and comfortable to attack the grazing platter! But in a polite way of course…! Providing bowls or plates near the platter to encourage people to load up their plates and then move on is helpful. This allows others to come forward to investigate the hard work you have gone to constructing a platter. Using foliage, flowers and candles around the platter can elevate the ambiance of the event and provide a stylish setting for your guests.

EATABILITY

Make sure all the beautiful items on the platter are easy to pick up and eat with minimal intervention! Pre spreading pieces of crusty bread with dips and spreads can help minimise mess and time spent hovering around the platter. Providing cheese knives, dip and fruit paste spreaders close by to their items makes a pleasant experience for the guests.

FILLER

So we gotta be real. We have budgets to meet and you want your guests to feel full after enjoying the platter. Filler items are a necessity to help ensure that there’s something to soak up the cocktails and to dip into all the luscious condiments you have prepared. Great fillers include nuts, dried fruits, breads, biscuits and crackers.

Texture. Height. Colour. Just a few things to make your platter pop!

CONSTRUCTION

So this is where you can get creative! And even if you aren’t too confident with visual arts or cooking, you will be able to create an incredible platter following these easy steps.

  1. Choose your base for the grazing platter.
  2. Lay out the serving ware along the platter. A symetrical distribution can make things easier.
  3. Fill each of these dishes with an assortment of colourful items. Using tall jars for grissini or lavosh sticks and small dishes for antipasto.
  4. Place the feature cheeses along the board. Keep them apart so that there’s plenty of space around them to decorate with other items.
  5. Use biscuits to curve around the cheeses, fanning out in semi circles.
  6. Use dried fruit to scatter over the cheeses in a cascading line.
  7. Roll up shaved small goods and layer in small sections or beside little dishes.
  8. Scatter the rest of your dry items, dried fruits, nuts and keep fresh fruits last to distribute the colour evenly. Try to place colourful items throughout the more neutral areas to make the platter appetising.
  9. Break up any chocolate you have into rustic pieces and wedge in small groups around the platter.
  10. Stand back and admire your work! Check if there are any gaps or areas which need more vibrancy and add what you need to. There’s no right or wrong!
  11. Lay out the candles at either end and foliage on the edges of the platters.
  12. Enjoy your grazing experience!
A classic grazing platter for a beautiful wedding.

A few textures and varying flavours you can add to your platter shopping list

  • Creamy/Oozy/Matte – soft cheeses, hard cheeses, goats cheeses, dips, hummus (see my homemade hummus recipe here: https://natashawilton.com/2019/01/12/recipe-homemade-hummus-crispy-pita-chips/
  • Grainy/Crunchy/Hard – rice crackers, plain crackers, ancient grain biscuits, water crackers, flavoured biscuits, lavosh bread, bread sticks, bread, grissini sticks, nuts, seeds, raw vegetables including carrots, celery, cucumber, cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh – seasonal fruit cut into easy to eat portions (seasonal fruit is budget friendly), crunchy vegetables
  • Zesty/Acidic – citrus fruits cut into rounds, dill pickles cut into chunks, sundried tomatoes, antipasto – olives, capsicums, eggplant, artichokes
  • Flavoursome/Spiced – small goods such as salami, proscuitto, smoked hams and thinly shaved cured meats
  • Sweet/Lush/Decadent – dark chocolate, dried fruits including cranberries, apple, apricots, fruit pastes, freeze dried fruits such as strawberries or raspberries for a pop of colour.

The fun part is investigating all the hidden treasures throughout the platter!

Post Natal Topics

New posts arriving soon…

Topics include:

  • Going through Post Natal Depression, Twice
  • Adjusting to a growing family
  • How to help siblings deal with a new baby on the scene
  • What PND isn’t
  • “This too shall pass” – what is the difference between sadness and depression?
  • Where is God when we are suffering?
  • Recovery and Relapse
  • Small things are still good things
  • Self Care for the busy woman.
Staying in the moment.

Hey Girl

We all wonder, how does she juggle it all?

Mum life, the side hustle, the drop off and pick ups between grocery runs, coffee dates and caring for her indoor plants.

How does she run a business from home, have a day job and function?

How did she come up with that business plan, clothing design, make that meal to feed her tribe?

How did she survive that terrifying experience?

Why does she believe in a God who we can’t see? How is He relevant to her life now?

How does she seem so centred all the time? What is her secret? Or is she silently freaking out?

How did she say goodbye and keep going on with her life while her heart was breaking?

How does she deal with hardship, grief, blessings and blessings in disguise?

Oh and where did she get those shoes? Now that is what I want to know.

I have some amazing interviews with women who inspire, captivate, motivate and have a story to share. Their interviews will be shared on the blog regularly. So grab a glass of prosecco and get comfy! Click follow this blog to get email updates of when a new interview is up!

If you have a story to share, label, business, passion or even a great recipe to share with us. Feel free to contact me to have an opportunity to be a featured guest. I would love to hear from you!

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A few amazing women who inspire me.

Recipe: Homemade Hummus & Crispy Pita Chips

This recipe is a favourite of mine. It is part of my cooking classes and nutrition demonstrations around the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne.

A quick, easy and healthy option when you need a delicious starter or snack. This dip is rich in protein and unsaturated fats which helps with feeling full, nourished and energised. This is a great one for those 3pm tummy rumbles or for the kids when they come home famished from school.

It doesn’t take long to make and most of the ingredients last in the fridge/pantry for ages!

Photo by Hari on Unsplash

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of whole chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini paste (sesame paste)
  • 1 fresh garlic clove or 1 teaspoon (or more!) of minced garlic
  • Wholemeal pita bread
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 fresh lemon or bottled lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Spray oil

Method for the Hummus

  1. Drain liquid from canned chickpeas.
  2. Place chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and pepper in a small food processer.
  3. Blend until smooth. Add more pepper or lemon to taste.

Method for Pita Chips

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Rip pita bread into small pieces. Place on baking tray.
  3. Spray with olive oil
  4. Bake in oven for 5 minutes or until browned.
  5. Serve with Hummus and an assortment of fresh carrot sticks, celery, cucumber and your toasty warm pita chips!

Next Level Hummus

Want to get a bit adventurous?

Add a can of drained beetroot or 1 avocado to mix in the food processor and revamp your standard Hummus dip.

Sprinkle with some ground coriander, cumin, smoked paprika or black sesame seeds to enhance the flavour profile.

You can also drizzle the top with olive oil to keep the dip lush and golden!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Birth Story – Olive Part 1

I can see the fear in my eyes. The uneasy, wide eyed look you get when something is coming towards you but it hasn’t hit you yet. That feeling you get when you anticipate something challenging is just around the corner. You are bracing yourself, but the hard part is, you don’t know when it will happen. You don’t know how you will cope. You don’t even really know how it will feel. Because you have never done it before. It’s the unknown. It’s intense. It’s child birth.

I remember my Mum telling me that it took her 4 years after she was married to face her fear of child birth. She wanted to have a child, but the thought of intense pain, blood and all the fun stuff involved with labour stopped her from starting her motherhood journey. But, in the end, her experience was so positive she exclaimed “I want another one!” the moment she gave birth to me.

My Mama and I

“Just breathe” she told me. “Focus and breathe through the contractions when you are in labour.” I had inherited my mother’s fear of childbirth. I was so anxious at the thought of labour. I wasn’t a sporty kind of girl, I didn’t like the feeling of my heart pounding after a run. I didn’t like to push myself to the physical limits that I knew so many of my friends enjoyed at the gym. The moment I felt any indication of stress or exertion on my body, I wanted to stop! I told myself I wasn’t built for labour! I just wasn’t fit enough for that kind of marathon! What if I don’t know what to do? I have never even changed a nappy before. What if I fail as a Mother? I could just imagine my child raising their eyebrows at me with a look saying, “do you even know what you are doing!?” These were a few of my thoughts prior to falling pregnant with Olive.

We had walked through hard journeys with some of our close friends. Their hearts desiring a child, but their hopes not fulfilled. It was heartbreaking and we grieved with them and for their losses. Steve and I had been married for over 3 years and just returned from our first ever trip to Europe. We hoped to have a baby and start a new season together. And thank God, I soon fell pregnant. We were so nervous. Praying that this glimmer of life on the ultrasound screen would thrive. I remember feeling scared to accept the miracle as I didn’t want to have to say goodbye. I would carefully protect my belly, only eat a pregnancy appropriate diet, I even felt like I walked a different way! But thankfully, the little bean grew, changing into the size of an apple, orange and finally a watermelon! My pregnancy was smooth and I felt overjoyed, more stable in my mood than ever before.

Hello Child. These are your parents!

Not only was a new life growing within me, but I also grew a stronger backbone. My confidence and assertiveness increased at work as I felt the urge to protect my health, energy and outlook for the sake of my baby. I started to feel more sure of my boundaries, saying more “no’s” and putting the wellbeing of my unborn child first. I had always looked out for our friend’s children, my nieces and nephews. I had loved working with kids in our kid’s program at church, babysitting, creche, playgroups… So what happened next really hit me and made me question what sort of woman I was.

My baby was overdue. Multiple stretch and sweeps (if you don’t know what that is, I don’t know whether you should look it up…! But do if you dare!) but this little bub was not budging. I had twinges and false labour for about 3 weeks in the lead up. Waking in the night, pacing next to my side of the bed. Not waking Steve as it was “early labour”, only to be disappointed by morning because nothing had happened. I felt on edge. I was worried my waters would break, so I sat on a towel on my long commute to work. I overanalysed every niggle, every rolling movement, every kick down in the pelvis. I anxiously wondered if this was it, was it time to face my fear of having a baby? I was scared.

I look back on photos from that time in my life, I see the fear in my eyes. Tired lines circle them and highlight the anxiety I felt. But I didn’t say anything. I kept it to myself because surely that’s what all pregnant women feel. Now I know it’s not uncommon to feel this way. It’s normal to be anxious about uncertainties and there are so many support systems available. I didn’t have to go it alone. I was extremely scared and kept telling myself “Suck it up! You are on this train, and you can’t get off. So just get on with it.” My self talk was so encouraging!

38 weeks pregnant. Silent anxiety in my eyes.

On the 26th March, Steve and I woke up early. The sun hadn’t risen yet. We took a photo in our baby’s nursery before we left. I was going in for an induction. The air was crisp, sky was clear, the sun was just coming up as we slid into the car. This was so weird! Today was the day we would meet our baby. We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl. We had names for both. As we drove to the hospital, I thought of all the times I had imagined the car ride. Of course I imagined a high speed, pedal to the floor kinda ride, me screaming in agony and Steve driving on the tram tracks to bypass traffic! It would be peak hour and I would almost give birth in the car. Given Steve comes from a farming background, (tells me all the time he knows how to deliver calves!), he would be catching the baby as we rolled into the hospital carpark. But my imagination was a bit more dramatic than real life! We parked at the hospital, wandered in and announced at the desk “Um, we are here to have a…. baby?”

Morning of the induction – Nursery Selfies

We went to our birth suite. It was surreal going in there now, heavily pregnant. The last time we had been in the room was with a group of couples on a tour of the hospital. Giggling and making sarcastic remarks about whether our husbands can use the “happy gas” on D-day. I changed into a hospital gown and a monitor was wrapped around my belly. As we waited for my water’s to be artificially broken, a food service staff member came in and asked me to fill out a menu for breakfast and dinner… It threw me. I couldn’t think about food! It seemed so casual and insensitive at the time. I think I’ll order a Valium thanks! I sarcastically thought to myself. I hastily ticked a couple of boxes and then tried to get back into the zone. This little one was coming out today and my heart was pounding with fear and excitement!

Part 2 will be up next week. Thank you for reading. Feel free to subscribe to read the 2nd part of Olive’s journey earthside!

 

 

Celebrate the small things

Since the time I had Ezra, I have been seeing a Psychologist. This was so beneficial at this stage of change in our family. She guided me with tools I could use to help with anxiety, negative thoughts, depression and self care. It was great to have someone to talk to during those early weeks where I felt like Post Natal Depression (PND) was resurfacing for a second time around. As the weeks went by, I was able to go longer stints without seeing her and it never felt like I was hanging off her. It was such a contrast to when I had PND after Olive’s birth. That was such a different experience and the intensity was a lot stronger.

One chat we had really highlighted to me that I like to achieve things. Having a ‘to do’ list, completing a project, feeling productive, these were all things that gave me a sense of worth. It helped me subconsciously “rate” whether I had a good day or a less worthwhile day (or so I thought!). It changed my mood, it made me feel unmotivated or down if I didn’t have a focus. I had unknowingly been doing this and operated in this way for so long.

So when we got to those newborn weeks of slowing down, focusing on feeding and caring for an unpredictable little human, I started to shut down. I started to get cabin fever and feel the walls closing in. It is a precious time, but also, in many ways, a mundane, repetitive time too! There’s so much sitting, feeding, folding, washing, burping, swaddling, rocking, stumbling! It is sweet, it is tiring, it is different but it is quick in the scheme of things! Although it still felt like a long time when you are sleep deprived!

My sense of worth and achieving something during these early weeks really bothered me. I found it helpful to have small, achievable goals that I could tick off. Such as, I’ll fold the laundry today, change out of my pyjamas, read my bible devotion book, cook dinner/chuck it in the microwave, go for a walk, paint my nails, take a milestone photo, pluck my eyebrows?! Etc. It helped that part of me that desired order, achievement and completion of a task.

I learnt that identifying the small things is important. Because small things are still good things. These small things may have been things I do anyway, things that were essential, simple and necessary. These things were still good things and did not mean the day was wasted or I achieved nothing!

Celebrate the small things because they are still providing balance to how you feel. One negative feeling or situation sometimes can taint all the successes that have happened in the day. But having balance of what makes you feel satisfied, content and accomplished helped me have a sense of peace.

If you identify with this, here are a few steps you can try! Let me know in the comments if this resonates with you or if you have any strategies to recommend!

Steps to Small Things being Good Things

  1. What are the small things? Identify what makes you feel content when they have been achieved, no matter how small.
  2. List them out – speak or write them out.
  3. Aim to complete these tasks in an achievable time frame that you have set.
  4. Celebrate these and know that “Small things can still be good things.”
  5. Glow in the knowledge you don’t have to do everything, be kind to yourself! Survival mode is okay.
  6. Reflect back at your list and see how much you have achieved in the week. Even if you got though one thing, don’t discredit the fact that you are functioning. If you get to the end of the day and the kids are fed, you are in one piece, this is a good outcome! Be grateful for the small and mundane things because you have achieved them despite it feeling like it’s a routine task.

 

Since writing this post in April, I have finished up my meetings with my Psychologist. She was such an integral part of my recovery from PND a second time around. It was great having the practical strategies and routine of seeing her for mental health support. The tools and ideas she educated me on were new and more suitable to me. I feel that it is important you find someone who you “click with” and has methods which resonate with you. Mindfulness, science and learning about the processes behind why something happens really help me! Feel free to speak to your GP if you feel a Psychologist or Mental Health professional would be someone helpful for you. 

And so it begins…

Welcome to my blog. Oh my, I don’t love that word! “Blog.” But I guess that is what this is… but not just another Mama Blog.

It’s a potentially coffee/champagne induced conversation.

A close community for storytelling and memory sharing.

A place to share my thoughts, experiences and motherhood journey.

An online collection of my treasured recipes to inspire and ignite your everyday meals.

The diary of a mama who is learning how to live with the ever changing faces of anxiety and depression.

The notes of a wife, mother, daughter, friend and oversharer who is walking in Faith, loving her Family and rediscovering life as a Mother of two.

The interviews of women who inspire, captivate and motivate. Sharing their experiences as entrepreneurs, fashion designs, mothers, girl bosses, creatives, artists and more.

I have written these articles from and with my heart. It is raw, honest and real. It is our story.

Enjoy reading. And I would love to hear from you if you find anything in my blog resonates, encourages or challenges you!

Tash x