Meet Jessica Britten, she’s instantly loveable, refreshingly real and deeply fantastic. Total sunshine is the best way to describe them; the bond between Jess and her daughter Stevie is obvious from the minute you meet. Together with her fiancé Warren Durling they are renovating a historic hall into their forever home, a journey they share online @hallweneed. We chat to Jess about their daughter Stevie, what it was like bringing her home to the hall and the irrevocable unequivocal joy of motherhood.
Tell us about your daughter Stevie
I have a hard time being modest when it comes to Stevie because I legitimately think she’s the most amazing soul on the planet! (I’m sure all mums can relate!). She is seven months old and has a magnificent little character which shines through more every day. She’s funny, determined and gives the best hugs. She’s like a teeny little koala bear that loves to giggle while ripping out my hair. Aside from losing an unsettling amount of hair every day, life is pretty damn amazing with her around. When she arrived, it was like everything just clicked for me. The depth of love that I feel makes words feel inadequate, I’m immensely proud to be her mum.
And what it is like to be her mother?
There are many reasons why I love being her mum, but ultimately it boils down to purpose. I know in the depths of my soul that right now I am doing what I was born to do. That sense of purpose sees me through the moments when I just want to go to sleep for a week or can’t remember when I last showered.
What values do you hope to instil in your daughter?
This is something Warren and I discuss often. Being a parent is a privilege and a responsibility we do not take lightly. We try to lead by example and hope Stevie has strength of character in all her values. I particularly hope she has a deep inner confidence and strength, is hungry to grow and experience the world, and has the ability to laugh at herself and always be empathetic and generous to others.
Your body (and mind!) goes through the most magnificent shift during pregnancy, birth and post-natal recovery. How has that journey been for you?
I’m an open book when it comes to my experience being a mum and have no qualms sharing that the first few weeks and months were overwhelming! You know when you’re sobbing but you can’t say exactly why because you’re not sure yourself? That was me 24/7. Nothing could have prepared me for how in love I was; I felt it in the depths of my soul and was overcome with emotion and gratitude. I just couldn’t believe that my soul mate and I made the beautiful, healthy baby before my eyes. That love is wildly powerful and I still get that feeling when I look at her today, an overwhelming love and respect for life.
Couple that overwhelming love with sleep deprivation, hormonal changes and physical recovery and BOY it was tough. I really had to prioritise and learn to accept help. I started to feel I had the hang of this mum thing around 6 weeks, then the next challenge was surrendering fully to the new pace of life set by Stevie. I’m so much happier and more content now that I have let go of expectations around what I used to achieve in a day and learned to go with the flow and find joy in being present as her mum. I find that incredibly fulfilling and view being a parent as one of the most important jobs in the world.
What is one of the greatest things you have learned about yourself since becoming a mother?
I now know that my body, mind and spirit are adaptable and resilient beyond what I think are my limits. I was a bit of a sissy when it comes to getting enough sleep; one of the things I was most nervous about before Stevie arrived was how I was going to function off less than the luxurious eight hours I was used to. Honestly, I needn't have worried, the tiredness is offset by the intense joy I experience every day. Life is such a miracle and mums just dig deep and get. it. done!!! Being a parent is a beautiful journey but absolutely relentless and there are many moments when you think you can’t hold it all together and stay sane, but you can, and you do — everyday (at least, most days!!).
Tell us about The Hall, you and your partner have poured so much energy and love into building a home there – what was it like bringing Stevie home?
3 years ago, Warren (my dream guy and forever fiancé) and I brought a historic hall which we are slowly converting into our family home. It’s a fun project and means a lot to us. Home is a hugely important part of my life. I have always felt anchored by my physical environment and in some ways the hall was our first baby. So, bringing Stevie home was monumental (it was also terrifying, like ‘ok what do we do now?!) our whole world has changed but our nest was still the same and I was reminded why home is so sacred to me.
Now I look back and I’m so grateful we got the opportunity to buy the hall pre-baby because we don’t have the amount of time and energy to spend DIYing now as we did for years on nights and weekends before Stevie arrived.
Tell us what your ideal Mother’s Day looks like (we’ll make sure Stevie gets the memo ) and how will you be spoiling your mum this year?
I absolutely cannot wait for when Stevie is old enough to make me homemade cards and deliver me tea and toast in bed (with a little help from dad)!! The mere thought makes my heart burst. But until then I’ll gratefully accept all of those things, but from Warren with Stevie in the front pack!
I GOT IT FROM MY MAMA –
Tell us about your mum, Kirsteen Britten.
My mum is the most kind, empathetic woman I know. She’s filled the role of mum and dad since my dad passed away when I was 5, she’s incredibly strong and selfless.
What is your favourite part about her?
I could write an essay here, but her big heart is her most endearing trait. She would move mountains for those she loves.
What is the best thing she has handed down / passed on to you? (quality, lesson or attribute
For sure my creativity, empathy and openness to communicate my feelings. She taught me to find my true self and not to have shame around whatever I was experiencing (chances are you’re not the only one). The highs and lows in life are made so much more enjoyable if you approach your emotions, and those of others, with empathy and kindness.
How has your relationship evolved since having Stevie?
I have always had a great relationship with mum but holy shit (can I swear here? Haha) I remember looking at one day old Stevie and balling my eyes out (a common theme) in this profound moment of understanding what my mum has felt all these years, and how she followed through with her actions; always putting up first and loving us unconditionally. Both Warren and I also felt very emotional about his mum, Stevie’s other grandmother, Yvonne not being alive to meet her. She would have been a wonderful granny and would have doted on Stevie.
AND next for the Brittens?
A sleep in? Haha, I’ll try to be more realistic...A hot cup of tea. Ok ok, a cup of tea that was once hot (because, mum life)
P.S. I LOVE that you are calling us the Brittens!! I always joke that Warren and Stevie should change their names and become Brittens ;)
Jessica wears Regan handbag in tan and Juno tote in black. Shop the full Mother's Day edit below:
If you are wanting to purchase Tax Free and are departing from Auckland International Airport, please call the Saben Ponsonby store on 09 376 1007 with your flight and passport details. Please note that we need four business days to get your order delivered to the airport in time.
Pick up will be from THE COLLECTION POINT Kiosk located after customs in the departures lounge. You will need your passport, boarding pass, and the order confirmation email you receive after purchase to collect your purchase.
We are sorry but at this time we can only process tax-free shopping for flights departing Auckland Airport.
To purchase tax free, you will need your Passport number, Flight number, date and time your international flight departs.
Please ensure your flight date are correct. If your flight details are incorrect, then we may not be able to deliver to you at the correct date and time for you to pick-up your tax free order.
Please make sure you have read and understood the regulations and are confident you can take this tax free purchase to your final destination, and you understand the tax free allowances for the county you are traveling to and accept full responsibility for any breach of these allowances which your purchase may cause. Your purchase will contribute to your carry on allowance. Any order not collected from the airport on departure will need to be refunded as we cannot hold or post out orders from the ‘after security’ operation.
Note that we need four business days to get your order delivered to the airport in time.Pick up will be from THE COLLECTION POINT Kiosk located after customs in the departures lounge. You will need your passport, boarding pass and emailed order confirmation to collect your order.
We are sorry but at this time we can only process Tax-Free shopping for flights departing Auckland Airport.
To purchase tax free, you will need your Passport number, Flight number, date and time your international flight departs. Please enter flight times in 24 Hour Time as they appear on your itinerary.
You must agree with these Terms and Conditions to purchase.
All prices are shown in NZ dollars. Your shopping cart displays the goods you have purchased.Discount codes & any shipping costs are calculated during checkout, before payment. Tax Free orders may be subject to local taxes or duties depending on the Tax Free allowance of the country you are entering.
We accept Visa and Mastercard credit card payments via Shopify Payments and via Paypal. Shopify and Paypal are both secure and encrypted and your credit card number will not be stored. You do not need a PayPal account to pay by credit card using Paypal.
All orders are processed pending availability and credit verification.
For Tax-free purchases we deliver your purchase to Auckland Airport within 3 business days of receipt of payment and will phone you if there are any delays. Your confirmation email will have instructions on the pick up location at Auckland Airport.
We take no responsibility for charges or delays incurred at receiver’s end as this can vary depending on the rules of customs in each country.
We do not accept returns for items outside of New Zealand, we are unable to support exchanges through our online store
Zip allows us to offer you an 'Own it now, pay later' option for online and in store purchases through installment payments. Pay in 4. Interest free. No fees.
All Terms & Conditions relating to Zip are within the above links. To pay via Zip select Zip as the payment option instead of Paypal in the checkout process. Saben is not liable for any late payment fees collected by Zip. By using Zip you enter into an agreement with Zip New Zealand.
**CHRISTMAS SHIPPING UPDATE** Due to increased volume of orders and courier packages please allow 3 - 5 working days for your package to arrive. Thank you for your patience at this hectic time of year.
FREE EXPRESS SHIPPING ON ALL NZ ORDERS - Offer valid only for customers shipping to a New Zealand address.
Orders placed on weekdays before 10AM New Zealand Standard Time Monday - Friday will begin processing straight away and can be guaranteed delivery between 1 - 3 business days* unless otherwise stated, however those that fall after 10AM New Zealand Standard Time Monday - Friday will begin processing straight away but cannot be guaranteed for the overnight delivery.
Orders placed on Friday after 2 PM NZST will begin processing on the following Monday.
Saben will contact via email if the merchandise you have selected is not currently in stock or if we require additional information for credit verification. Please note that estimated delivery time does not include Sundays or Public Holidays.
You may be required to pay further shipping charges where a change in delivery date or delivery address is requested by you.
*These are estimated delivery times only, and unfortunately we are not able to guarantee them. Saben will not be liable for any reasonable or unavoidable delay in delivery. Orders placed during Sale or Promotional periods may be subject to delay
Possible delays: Please note, that we are unable to deliver to PO boxes as we require a signature upon delivery.
AUSTRALIA - $30NZ
Australian deliveries will arrive 3 to 10 days working using NZ Post, International Air. Tracked Australian deliveries will arrive 2 to 7 working days using NZ Post, International Economy Courier.
REST OF WORLD- $45NZ
Deliveries to all other destinations will arrive 3 to 10 days working using NZ Post, International Air. Tracked deliveries will arrive 2 to 7 working days using NZ Post, International Economy Courier.
All international orders please note, that once your order has left New Zealand it may be subject to customs clearance procedures which can cause delays beyond original delivery estimates. Inside of New Zealand you will not incur any duties or taxes however for orders travelling outside of New Zealand, please note that Saben will not be responsible for any customs or duties taxes that occur once your item has left us.
Please feel free to contact us on email@example.com if you have any questions regarding a shipment
Immune your bag!
Using a protective spray should be the very first thing you do when you receive your bag: All bags, whether they are suede or leather, need to be protected with a water proofer before use (stay away from the oil based versions). Saben recommends Wrens Total Protector Spray, this is an invisible waterproofing spray for all smooth, suede and nubuck leathers. It can be purchased from your nearest Saben retailer, online or at any shoe repair store.
Reapply protector every 3-4 weeks to keep the leather soft and resilient.
NEVER overfill your handbag or evening bag, as this can put stress on seams, fastenings and straps and spoil the shape. Please try hard to keep the load reasonable.
Light leathers should be treated with extreme care – denim and dye can (and probably will) rub off on to the leather with no easy way of removing. Ensure your denim is colour fast.
White Handbags are extremely sensitive to light, and the leather will turn yellow if it is exposed for too long to spotlights, fluorescent lamps, etc.
Avoid handling your bag after applying foundation, perfume, body or hand creams, this will stain the leather.
Do not place your Saben bag on the floor, use a handbag hook. Any tough surfaces will possibly scratch the leather.
Wearing a bag often will inevitably result in rub marks, where the leather brushes against clothing etc. Saben recommends you swap your bags often to avoid constant rubbing and wear on one bag.
For stronger leathers (nappa or pull-up), moisturise your bag with a product like Wrens Delicate Gel. A mild yet effective cleaning gel, it cleans and nourishes all kinds of leather such as smooth, patent and metallic and gives a natural shine after buffing. Be sure to test any care products on a spot of the leather not easily visible e.g. Inside seam or pocket.
Always apply cleaning and protective product to a soft cloth, not directly on the bag.
If you find you have stains that need removing Wrens Ultimate Cleanser is tough on stains and gentle on leather and its fibres, perfect for removing dirt and water stains.
Suede leather handbags should be regularly brushed with a soft suede brush. Minor stains and marks may be removed with a suede eraser. The leather should retain its colour and appearance if it is regularly treated with a water proofer. These preparations make the leather water repellent, and in particular, impart grease and dust repellence.
Suede that has been rain-marked should be allowed to dry naturally and then brushed up with a suede brush. For serious stains, it is best to see a professional. When storing suede, wrap leather handles or straps in cloth so they do not rest against the suede and leave blotches.
Leather does not like water. Wipe off a wet leather handbag immediately and let air dry. Never use a blow dryer to dry a bag.
If your bag has a chain handle, dirt may accumulate in the chain links causing it to come off on your shoulder. You can avoid this by cleaning the chain with a small tooth brush or the corner of a soft cloth. Always store the chain inside the bag to avoid any scratching or indentations on the leather.
Brass or silverware cleaner will keep your fittings looking shiny. Take care not to get any on the bag!
Keep fasteners and zips running smoothly by running pencil lead over the open teeth.
Do not hang bags in storage; they are best kept in the packing bag supplied with, lying flat or standing upright and stuffed.
To help your bag keep its shape, it is best to stuff your bag with cloth or bubble wrap to keep it safe in storage. When not in use, store your bag out of direct sunlight and do not place light colours next to dark colours as this can cause colour migration, which is irreversible.
Take your bags out regularly and let them ‘breathe’ to prevent any dust and mildew forming.
We will repair your handbag at no charge for the first 90 days after purchase.
If you purchased a bag from us on-line that requires repair, please contact us on 09 376 1007 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you purchased your bag from a retailer, please first try to contact them regarding your repair.
If there is a fault or issue with a bag we must first assess the repair either by photos or in person. As each individual bag is made by hand, from time to time faults occur in the manufacturing process. Saben bags are built for longevity and in an effort to make sustainable fashion – we always opt to repair first.
Our repair process follows a 3-step procedure:
1. If we can REPAIR the fault/damage we reserve the right to first REPAIR the bag.
2. If we can’t repair, the bag and we believe it is fault of manufacture we will REPLACEwith the same or similar bag.
3. If we can’t replace the item, we will REFUND.Repairs are free for 90 days after the purchase date. Thereafter, we charge a repair fee which is based on the type of repair. To have a bag repaired you must first obtain a proof of purchase. Bags will not be accepted without a receipt.
We hope that you are completely satisfied with your order. If for any reason you wish to return your order or a portion of it, please notify us within 7 days of receiving your order.We are happy to refund the full purchase price minus the cost of shipping of any item returned in its original condition after such notification.
Sale items are not eligible for returns or exchanges for any reason.
Returns not sent in their original condition, without a proof of purchase, or past 7 days will be accepted at our discretion only.
We do not accept returns for items shipped outside of New Zealand, we are unable to support exchanges through our online store.
If a package does not arrive, or it arrives damaged, please contact us within fourteen days from confirmation of dispatch to claim insurance on the item. We will require your details, the details of the item that was lost, and the tracking number we sent you with confirmation of dispatch. If a damaged item has arrived we require it to be returned to the postal authority in your country as near as possible in the same condition as when it was delivered.
We will then replace your item free of charge.
• the item is seized by Customs or any other government agency.
• the item is sent to a country where no postal or courier service exists.
• the loss or damage is the result of an event beyond our reasonable control.
• the loss or damage occurs after delivery.
• the item was authorized to be sent without tracking or without insurance.
SECTION 1 - WHAT DO WE DO WITH YOUR INFORMATION?
When you purchase something from our store, as part of the buying and selling process, we collect the personal information you give us such as your name, address and email address.
When you browse our store, we also automatically receive your computer’s internet protocol (IP) address in order to provide us with information that helps us learn about your browser and operating system.
Email marketing: With your permission, we may send you emails about our store, new products and other updates. We will not send unsolicited emails and you can unsubscribe at any time.
SECTION 2 – CONSENT
When you provide us with personal information to complete a transaction, place an order, arrange for a delivery or return a purchase, we imply that you consent to our collecting it and using it for that specific reason only. If we ask for your personal information for a secondary reason, like marketing, we will either ask you directly for your expressed consent, or provide you with an opportunity to say no. We may disclose your personal information if we are required by law to do so or if you violate our Terms of Service.
SECTION 3 – SHOPIFY
Our store is hosted on Shopify Inc. They provide us with the online e-commerce platform and payment processing that allows us to sell our products and services to you. Your data is stored through Shopify’s data storage, databases and the general Shopify application. They store your data on a secure server behind a firewall. When you click on links on our store, they may direct you away from our site. We are not responsible for the privacy practices of other sites and encourage you to read their privacy statements.
SECTION 4 – PAYMENT
Shopify Payments and the other third-party provider used by us (Paypal) will only collect, use and disclose your information to the extent necessary to allow them to perform the payment services they provide to us. They do not store your credit card details unless you choose to do that.
You do not need an account with them to pay by credit card – you can pay as a guest.
SECTION 5 – SECURITY
To protect your personal information, we take reasonable precautions and follow industry best practices to make sure it is not inappropriately lost, misused, accessed, disclosed, altered or destroyed.
Shopify & Saben will not see your credit card details.
SECTION 6 – COOKIES
If you have any queries please email email@example.com
The Sabenettes xx