counting koalas

Bedroom

In bed with Cape to Byron

Firstly we’d love if you could tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Gayle, I live in the Byron hinterland with my husband Luke and our 22 month old little girl, Talloh. We moved to Byron almost six years ago, and we haven’t looked back. I’m originally from beautiful Cape Town in South Africa and I love to travel, meet new people and take photographs. I’ve found that photographing a special moment or time in a family/couples life brings me so much joy and fulfilment.

I can be found on Instagram at cape_to_byron, and my website is at capetobyronphotography.com

What does your perfect morning look like?

I’m a huge morning person, I tend to start out with some sort of movement first thing; be it a run, yoga or a walk to the lighthouse with my little one in the carrier. The fresh air and exercise does us a world of good. Afterwards coffee and breakfast with other mamas, and then straight off to the beach! It’s great that we can do this even throughout winter here.

What’s your number one sleep tip?

I’d recommend not having screen time just before bed (not always an easy one for me, I’ll admit). I suggest winding down down with a book, or a stretch and some mood music; it’ll make a world of difference!

How do you wind down in the evening?

After I’ve put our toddler to bed, my husband and I sit down with a tea and chat about our day. It’s a great time for us to connect one-on-one (Pukka ‘love’ tea is a beautiful blend to drink before bed – it’s infused with rose, chamomile and lavender).

What are your tips to new mothers on how to get young ones to sleep?

Definitely have a winding-down routine. A warm bath, dinner, some quiet time of choosing a book and reading it together in bed with the lights dimmed. My little one loves it when I rub her back and sing Incey Wincey Spider.

Are there any food, or drinks you make that help your daughter go to sleep?

She loves chamomile tea! She’s got quite the acquired taste for it now. Also, since I’ve just weaned her, she loves a dash of milk with warm water in her bottle.

How has Koala changed your sleeping habits?

We all fit on the bed better! Since we upgraded from a queen to a king size, it is just that little bit roomier for the three of us (we’re co-sleeping until our home build is complete) and it’s oh so comfortable.

You take beautiful photos! Can you share some tips to other mothers on how to get the perfect photos of their children?

Thank you! Catching a candid moment is beautiful (it’s better when they don’t know you’re taking a photo) and good lighting makes a big difference.

What’s your number one tip to give to new mothers?

Whatever feels right, do that. Don’t stress about what you’ve been told or what you’ve read. You’ll know what’s right for you and your baby. And if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it – it can make a world of difference. There’s always support for you if you need it!

What’s your favourite thing about being a mother?

Where do I start?! Seeing our baby girl grow into a little person with character and her very own quirky personality traits. I love watching her figure out who she is and that I get to be a key part in the whole process. It’s a humbling experience.

We saw that your husband actually created your new bed frame for your Koala mattress. What inspired him to create the bed frames for your home?

He’s a handy, do-it-yourself kind of guy. He had found the perfect timber and decided he wanted to build our beds.I love that we will be sleeping on something he made himself, it makes it that much more special.

You told us that you’re actually building your own home. What inspired your husband, and you to build your own home instead of buying one?

We stumbled upon our block of land by chance. The timing and location were right and we got a great deal, we couldn’t say no! So now we’re building!

What styles, and designs have inspired you when designing your home?

We’ve always been drawn to Queenslander homes. The tall ceilings, hardwood floors and wrap around decks are exactly what we wanted for our home. Since our driveway is too narrow to relocate an old Queenslander, we built a modern one.

What’s the hardest things you’ve both encountered while building?

Though others have different experiences, we’ve found a number of the tradespeople we’ve tried to work with to be quite unreliable! It’s so frustrating when you want to give someone work yet they can never return calls or show up when they say they will. That said, we had an amazing team of builders who got our home to lockup, who we’re so grateful for.

Can you share some tips, and tricks for people interested in building their own home?

Get your ideas down first as a couple, then find an amazing draftsman or architect to help you see what works and what doesn’t. It’s all about the team you choose, and a reliable builder is an amazing asset as well. Remember, it’ll take much longer than you anticipate, so be mindful to just go with the flow and not get too attached to an end date – things always come up!

What are the essential pieces you must have in your new home?

Hardwood pieces my husband will build – like our dining room table and beds. We are also planning framed photo walls filled with memories we hold dear. We’ll also emphasise pieces from our travels that we’ve collected, like woven baskets from Africa, kilm cushions from Turkey and beautifully painted bowls from the Middle East.

Lastly, in all your photos your whole family look so happy. What about Byron makes the perfect place to create your home?

For us, Byron felt like home ever since the first time my husband and I road tripped up here nine years ago. Lifestyle is key for us, and Byron has exactly what we’ve always talked about raising our children in. However, I wholeheartedly believe that wherever my family is, I’ll be happy. ‘When you love what you have, you have everything you need.’

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