As founder of The Grace Tales, a chic website for style-conscious mothers, Georgie Abay knows about good grooming. Having spent years writing about fashion and beauty for glossy magazines in both Dubai and Australia (she is currently on maternity leave from her role as deputy editor of Vogue) the elegant mum-of-two has her beauty routine down to a fine art.
Georgie welcomed us into the impeccably decorated terrace in Sydney’s Paddington that she shares with husband Mark and daughters Arabella and Charlotte. In our chat she revealed a pragmatic and perfectly-planned approach to beauty – with plenty of tips for new mums thrown in for good measure.
My style is classic with a twist
I’m currently on maternity leave so live in J Brand jeans, J Crew T-shirts and Ferragamo or Charlotte Olympia flats. I’m over 180cm tall so I rarely wear heels. Sometimes I wish I were a little shorter so I could wear towering heels, but I just feel too tall. Besides, right now fashion is about comfort for me. I also need to get dressed as quickly as possible as there is usually a newborn calling for me. I live in bassike, Scanlan & Theodore and J. Crew and am wearing sneakers a lot lately. When I go out, I’ll wear a statement skirt with a plain top. I love skirts.
Beauty is about good grooming
I see colourist Michael Kelly at Oscar Oscar Salon in Paddington every six to eight weeks. I’d visit him more often if he’d let me! I alternate between a half and full head of foils and I’ll be in the salon for up to four hours. Blonde hair is very high maintenance. I love Kerastase Resistance Bain Force Architecte Shampoo and Kérastase Paris Nutritive Nutri-Thermique Hair Masque, which I do once a week. I use dry shampoo a lot as I don’t have time to wash my hair more than three times a week. In summer, I’ll get silk lash extensions at Love Those Lashes in Paddington and spray tans Polished Beauty Bar in Woollahra every couple of weeks. I joke with a friend of mine that you need to be high maintenance to be low maintenance. It sounds like a lot, but it means I never wear mascara and don’t need a lot of makeup
I’ve always been a very girly girl
Even though I don’t wear a lot of makeup. I like Mecca Cosmetica In A Good Light SPF 30. It’s super light and gives you natural coverage. I also wear crème blush and Lanolips Lemonaid Lip Aid. I love the idea of lipstick, but it’s just too high maintenance. That said, if I’ve got a special occasion, I love getting my makeup done at Napoleon Perdis or MAC. I wish I could do my makeup properly, but I’ve never been very good at it. I think it’s important to take care of yourself. But of course, beauty isn’t just about how you look. Being a loving, kind, generous person is the most beautiful thing in the world.
I always start the day with a hot shower
Even if I’ve had a terrible night’s sleep, it makes me feel awake - that, and a strong coffee. In the shower, I use Clarins Cleansing Milk With Alpine Herbs and Aesop Coriander Seed Body Cleanser. For moisturizer, I love Rationale products. They actually make a difference to my skin. I have also recently started using rosehip oil once a day. I try and moisturize everyday. I recently discovered Go-To Exceptionoil. It smells heavenly and is fast absorbing. A makeup artist friend of mine gave me the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray after the birth of my first daughter. It’s so soothing. I also love Chanel Body Excellence Nourishing & Rejuvenating Hand Cream. With a newborn, I’m constantly using hand sanitizer, which can be quite drying. This hand cream is super hydrating.
My mother is my biggest beauty influence
She believes you should always invest in your skin because your face is the first thing people notice. She's also so careful in the sun. She even wears gloves when she drives. Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to leave the house without a hat and sun cream. After each shower, she’ll use David Jones Beauty Cocoa Butter Cream. The smell of it reminds me of her and I’ve got some in my bathroom too. We’ve also used the same beauty therapist for years, a family friend. I remember when I was 14 mum caught me shaving my legs. She was horrified and rushed me off to her the next week to get them waxed.
I love beautiful candles...
I’ve got them all around our home. Maison Balzac by the gorgeous Elise Pioch is a favourite. I also have a Cire Trudon candle which sits in my kitchen. It’s enormous and smells heavenly. In my bathroom, I have an Astier de Villatte ceramic platter filled with lots of different fragrances I’ve collected over the years. I also have a collection of antique perfume bottles picked up at various auctions. I was recently sent a bottle of Antica Farmacista Baby diffuser. ‘Baby’ is a beautiful scent, obviously inspired by the freshness of a baby! Any mother will tell you there’s nothing more heavenly than the smell of a new baby. They’ve also done a room spray. I have them sitting on my dressing table.
My tip for pregnant and breastfeeding mums: Get lash extensions
Even if you’ve only slept for two hours, you’ll look fresh. Ok, you might not look fresh, but you won’t have people telling you how tired you look all day (just a note to those people: never ever tell a new mum she looks tired). I think it’s important to keep on top of your grooming when you’re pregnant or a new mother. A trip to the hairdresser or a quick mani will pick you up even if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything. Getting out of the house is always a good idea! When I was pregnant, the ultimate pampering treatment was a four handed massage at Venustus Spa in Paddington. Utter heaven. My all time favourite brand for mums and bubs is Mustela. I first used it on both my girls when they were in the special care ward in hospital (they were both born premature). I can’t stop smelling my girls after I’ve bathed them using them. The brand has been around since 1950! I’ve also recently discovered a fabulous range from the UK called Bloom and Blossom. One of the co-founders Julia Yule is the beauty director at Glamour magazine in the UK. The products are beautiful. I also love Milk & Co.
I had a terrible pregnancy and I was on bed rest for three months
My baby girl Charlotte came seven weeks early and spent some time in the special care unit. Being premature, she’s not the best sleeper but I don’t mind, I’m just so happy she’s here and healthy. When she first came home from hospital, she slept all day so I was able to get a little work done while my other daughter had her daytime sleep and then after she went to bed at night. That lasted a couple of weeks! These days, it’s harder. She needs quite a bit of settling and never really sleeps longer than 40 or so minutes. I work when I can. It’s a massive juggle, but soon she’ll fall into a more consistent routine. I really think the first six months are the hardest. I enjoy working on my website. It’s my creative outlet and I think it’s important to have something for yourself, away from your role as a mother. Often, working on my site feels like time out.
I’d love to say I start the day with a green juice
I don’t like the texture so early in the morning, so it’s a soy cappuccino!! I buy a Lucky You juice carrot and orange juice every other day. On a less healthy note, I must admit I eat Tim Tams and Magnum ice creams daily. My diet is terrible at the moment but I’m breastfeeding, sleep-deprived and really crave the sugar. I will make an effort to be more health conscious once I stop feeding. I wish I could say I do, but I’m focusing on taking care of a newborn baby at the moment, so my body is hers for now! I’ll get it back in a few months. Between pushing a pram to the park and carrying a 14-kilogram toddler up and down the stairs of our terrace house I don’t have much time for exercise. I just bought Tracy Anderson’s post pregnancy workout and am going to start it daily. I’d love to get back into exercise. I just need to get some sleep before I do. It’s a bit of a challenge with a newborn baby, but every other night I’ll relax with a glass of red wine on the couch with my husband.
The Grace Tales offers a glimpse inside the worlds of stylish mothers
It also keeps you updated on the latest fashion, beauty and interior trends for both mother and child. I started The Grace Tales back in September 2013 when I was on maternity leave. I have always loved fashion, beauty and interiors but couldn’t find anything online that spoke to the style conscious mother. All the sites I loved pre-motherhood were all great, but I wanted something similar, but targeted at mothers. I wanted to peek inside the homes of other mother to see how they lived. How did they decorate their children’s rooms? What were their fashion essentials? How did they get their baby to sleep through the night? I couldn’t find anything I liked in Australia and even internationally, there were only a few sites I loved. So I launched my own site. Beautiful, exclusive content was a big, big priority for me. I’ve spent over a decade working in glossy fashion magazines and love producing beautifully styled photo shoots. I didn’t want to create a site that just rehashed old content seen elsewhere. I’m really proud of what I’ve created and get a lot of happiness hearing from readers who love the site.
I’m totally immersed in the world of motherhood right now
My youngest baby is four months old and my oldest is 22 months. I’m in the thick of it! It’s so fun to work on a site about motherhood and children during this time in my life. I love posting our profiles each week. I have met so many wonderful women through the site. It’s so inspiring to see all these women embracing motherhood. A lot of the women I feature set up their own businesses after they had children, which I always find very inspiring. We have a lot of fun on our shoots. It’s also flexible which is essential when you have children – I dictate which hours I work and always make sure I have quality time with my girls each week.