Interview with Apollo & Artemis Kid’s

Artemis and Apollo Kid’s is an Australian designed and owned children’s textile label by Isabella Colman. Her designs are inspired by bold, fun, exotic and magically detailed illustrations and techniques. Artemis and Apollo captures the gypsy, carefree spirit without compromising comfort and style. Bella’s clothing label has a strong emphasis on having eco friendly printing, an ethically minded business approach and letting kids be kids! Read on to hear about this emerging, young textile designer with a heart and passion for design, vibrant patterns and music!

 

Tell us a bit about yourself?

Hey guys! My name is Bella and I’m a 25 year old Melbournian Textile designer! 

Tell us about your textile label, Artemis and Apollo Kids and what inspired you to take the step into this industry?

While studying a Bachelor of Arts – Textile design at RMIT university, I nannied part time and really grew an obsession for baby/kids patterns! I was always pattern obsessed but honestly never thought much about kidswear until that point. I’ve also always been very passionate about the world and our environment but never really understood how I could make a difference with my passion for textiles until I decided to start Artemis and Apollo and therefore control every aspect of production. I also hope to one day run projects through Artemis and Apollo to help children who are less fortunate. 

Bella and two little gypsies.

What are the biggest trends you are seeing in the kid’s clothing industry at the moment?

To be honest, I don’t really follow the baby wear/kids wear trends. When I first started thinking about doing Artemis and Apollo I decided I didn’t want to be constricted. I wanted to just design whatever I wanted and just let myself be inspired by my travels and worldly textile history (ignorant 22 year old!) Luckily so far so good haha! But currently there seems to be a lot of basics, which is possibly good for me as most of my pieces are very far from basic, I think kids need to be kids – and kids love crazy and colour.

What do you love the most about your work?

Just getting to do whatever I want, whenever I want to (within budget obviously). It is a bit risky/scary ordering shipments of my designs without knowing how they will go. It’s always a surprise really, things I think will go crazy are calm, and the things I nearly cancelled go crazy. Working for myself also means I can spend the afternoon at the beach and work into the night instead, which is great for me!

Artemis and Apollo’s designs are made for kids to be kids!

Who inspires you and why?

Obviously Spell… Camilla, Arnhem, anything pattern crazy really! 

What are 3 things you can’t live without?

I hate myself for the first two – but phone, laptop, beach and boyfriend (can I do 4? That’s too hard to condense!)

What do you do for self care?

I am pretty beach obsessed. I also love reading, time with my cat, looking after my plants, yoga and obviously drawing! My partner and I make a lot of time for each other, we love adventuring or going to trampoline parks/water parks and being big kids. We are also very into music and spend way too much on gigs/concerts/festivals.

Taking some time out for self care at the beach

When is your favourite hour of the day and why?

Too hard to decide between sunrise and sunset! Either way, if I am home I will always run across to the beach to watch the sunset over the sea.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a business in your industry?

There’s way too many of us, unfortunately its gone a bit mental. You’ve got to stick out or else you’ll just get left behind.


Thanks to the beautiful Isabella for sharing her journey as the owner, designer and visionary for Artemis and Apollo Kids! Check out her website! For more details about her design process, patterns, photoshoots and more, go to Bella’s Blog. Don’t forget to show her some love on Instagram too! Let’s be women who support women @artemisandapollokids

Create from your heart

Birth Story – Olive Part 2

It had been 41 weeks and 1 day. My baby had made itself pretty comfortable. Nourished, sustained, thriving and still not ready to make an entrance despite all the signs and symptoms foretold by my baby app! So it was time, to be hooked up to the monitors, waters artificially broken and a syntocin drip commenced for induction.

The last few years I had been somewhat in control of my life. I liked the schedules, to do lists, my diary, my calendar and organising as much as I could to minimise the unknown! I even had an excel spreadsheet for all our connecting flights, hotels and itinerary for our Europe holiday! But as many would know, raising children can be challenging, tiring, messy, confusing and definitely unpredictable! It was a new way to think, process and feel. It was going to be a new season in life and I had those common worries that I’m sure all new mothers or mothers-to-be think about. But I felt like I couldn’t shake the fear and doubt. It was playing on my mind daily and in the quietness of my home. While Steve was at work and I had started maternity leave. I napped and nested while I waited for the days to pass.

My obstetrician had given me all the details. The play by play. The steps of action to be taken if my artificial labour didn’t progress appropriately. If the baby became distressed. If the labour stalled. All the options for the “choose your own” ending for a birth. For someone that was nervous about the whole baby evacuation process, this was helpful. I liked having information. I liked knowing what was going to happen. But the unknown direction the birth could take terrified me and I couldn’t stop thinking of the what if’s. From the minimal reading that I did, it appeared that inductions were usually fast and intense. My sense of being in control was on rocky ground. At the mercy of the syntocin speeding up a labour which my baby was not ready for.

I took a photo of this poster at my birth preparation class.
The lady’s expressions are so realistic?!

Surprisingly, I didn’t have a birth plan! Which went against my usual organised, “need for control” state! My main hope was to go with the flow and follow what was recommended for the safety of my baby. As much as it scared me, I hoped it would be a drug free, natural birth.

So back to the labour room…It’s a strange feeling, meeting a woman who will help guide and support you through a special moment in your life. A woman who will see you at one of the most vulnerable, raw times of your life. Being pushed physically and emotionally. I didn’t feel at ease with this woman. And upon reflection, I probably should have spoken up. My nurse was an experienced clinician but her matter of fact approach was patronising. I didn’t feel comfortable with her and there’s no other way to put it but “the vibes were off!” So as my anxiety continued to bubble, this nurse checked and told me I was already 3 centimetres dilated and the syntocin was ready to go.

When I reflect back about my first birth experience, I wish I had spoken up and shared my worries. That my pounding heart didn’t stifle my voice to speak up. I remember friend’s telling me once you enter the hospital, “you leave your dignity at the door.” And I left it at the door, and my confidence, courage and voice too. I was attached to an external fetal monitor and was confined to a bed. I wanted to move, rock, pace around like I did while in pre-labour at home. I didn’t realise I could request a mobile monitor and it was never offered as an option. As I waited for the syntocin to kick in I remember feeling bewildered and helpless. Just a pin cushion where procedures were done to me but no explanation given. My nurse reclined on a couch directly in front of me. Kicking back with a bored expression. Staring at me, waiting for the show to begin. I had Steve sitting on a chair beside me. He could see I was anxious and tried to reassure me. Glad to have him by my side, I tried to focus on him and all that was familiar.

An hour or so went by and things started to intensify quickly. Before long, the nurse reported that I would be having my baby by lunch time! The contractions were rolling in repeatedly and I could barely catch my breath. I felt so overwhelmed that I suddenly panicked and knew I needed an epidural. Firstly, they offered me the happy gas, then the pethadine injection. But neither brought relief and my anxiety was spiking. “Get me the epidural! I don’t know how much longer I can do this!” I desperately said to Steve.

I had to sit up and lean forward over my belly for the anaesthesiologist to administer the epidural. It was a relief knowing that strong pain medication was on it’s way. The thought of a huge needle going into my back did not phase me as I hoped that it would take the edge off. I remember my anesthesiologist. I found his calm, clear explanation of what was going to happen helped me feel reassured and informed.

After the epidural and catheter were put in, my ever delightful nurse told me, “You can go to sleep now.” Silently rolling her eyes as she watched me grimace and try to “breathe”. But the relief didn’t really come. I felt a bit numb, but soon things intensified again and it felt like bone pressing against bone near my spine. It was excruciating and surprised me that it was not really a pain I could “just breathe through”. I had dilated to 10 centimeters pretty quickly after the epidural and it was time to push! My nurse tried to show me where to focus my energy, but I was feeling dazed and confused. My back was burning with sharp pain and lying down didn’t help. I felt the panic continue to bubble up my throat and tried my hardest to listen to the instructions she was giving me. But I cringed in fear and felt baby was not budging! I soon explained “I have so much pain in my back and don’t know where to push!” My nurse was clearly annoyed and replied, “How can you feel pain? You have an epidural.” She was so belittling and I felt weak, embarrassed and ashamed that I couldn’t do what a woman’s body was supposedly meant to do. The negative thoughts continued to flood in and I hung my arms around Steve’s neck, telling him “I can’t do this..I don’t think I can endure this anymore.”

Baby’s head was stuck. Every time I pushed, she would tuck her chin in and return back to her safe place! The nurses had their staff changeover and my tired, grumpy nurse was replaced by a beautiful, encouraging soul who made me feel less ridiculous and more supported. Before their hand over, both nurses held one of my legs each as I tried to push baby out. I was trying so hard, I nearly kicked them across the room! Due to baby’s posterior position and prolonged second stage, the nurses realised that I would need an emergency c-section. The next few moments are hard to remember as the room suddenly filled with many people. Steve quickly changed into scrubs and a hairnet. I remember seeing his wide eyes, confused by what was happening and the lack of information given to us. We didn’t even know why I needed to be prepped for a caesarian!

I was wheeled into a room with about 12 other staff members present. They gave me a spinal block so that I was numb from belly to toes. It was surreal. What was happening?! Thankfully, the reassuring anaesthesiologist was back again and calmly spoke next to my ear. He explained what was happening with the spinal block, how my legs would feel and not to worry. I look back and learnt so much about patient client interaction, informed consent and clear communication from this positive example. My obstetrician started to prepare for surgery and I lay there in shock. Still unsure what was going on. Thankfully, my obstetrician knew how much it meant to me to try for a natural birth. She wanted me to try pushing one last time to see if the baby could be assisted with a vacuum cup. The anesthesiologist was by my head, Steve by my side holding my hand, nurses and a paediatrician surrounded the bed. All in unison, they said “PUSH!!!!” Despite having no sensation in half my body, I tried to push and after 2 pushes, my baby was born!

She was here. What a relief!

Relief washed over me and all I could do was exclaim, “Thank you God, thank you Jesus!” Steve cut the umbilical cord, they quickly checked her over and then passed her to me. It was a baby girl! My eyes were clouded with tears from relief, shock and disbelief. I couldn’t believe she was real. She looked familiar, but I didn’t know her. I didn’t feel the overwhelming love that I had heard of. But I was so glad that the birth was over. That she was out and she was safe, healthy and here. Steve was over the moon and turned to me and said, “We will name her Olive, yeah?” and that was her name Olive Mary.

After Olive’s birth, I lay there waiting for my obstetrician to repair the effects of a fast, posterior labour. No one had explained what had happened and why I had been rushed to the theatre room. So in the silence, my mind started to fill with negative conclusions. The main one being that I was so incompetent, they had to pull Olive out of me. That I had failed and my hope for an empowered, calm birth did not come to fruition. I was so hard on myself, and in hindsight I feel the exhaustion, my personality, fast labour, trauma, poor communication and lack of birthing debrief was part of my misinterpretation. It was a scary first experience and not as empowered as I had hoped. The joy of meeting my child was soon clouded with irrational thoughts, confusion and anxiety. The silent bubbling had started to overflow and in the quiet night on Day 2 of Olive’s life, I had my first panic attack.

My sweet girl was so placid and a dream baby!
But I look at this picture and see I’m not really myself. My eyes say it all.

My darling Olive, born on the 26th of March in 5 hours and 53 minutes! Our precious daughter and blessing we received with gratitude. I love her so much and know my mental instability did not reduce how much I love her. But the story of my illness and recovery is where I learnt more about myself, mental illness and God’s faithfulness through it all. Read more about this next part of my journey soon.

If this story raised any concerns for you or you notice someone close to you may be needing help, please reach out to someone you trust. For anyone needing assistance, you can visit the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) website or call their National Helpline on 1300 726 306.

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!

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.