Abbylee is a brilliant and beautiful woman with an infectious energy you can’t help but be drawn to. Living a simple yet extraordinary life for health and happiness, we talk to Abbylee about her move back into the work force and her holistic approach to motherhood.
Soooo talk to us about living in Bali, running your own business, and now back into the juggle with a 9-5 3 days a week…
Oh my gosh. Who am I?! Where to start? Let’s go with Bali ‘cause the tropics sound fab right about now! When Cas was 8 months my fiancé quit his job and our little family moved to Bali for three and a half months, we’d never been but I knew it was ‘my place’. I’m so grateful Vincent made my crazy dream our reality because we loved it and have been going for months at a time ever since. I’m currently planning this year’s adventure for August!
Running my own business has been such a rollercoaster but I’ve finally found a wonderful balance between freedom, working with ridiculously talented women to empower other woman and finding financial abundance. It doesn’t go without hard times that’s for sure but I’m absolutely loving where I’m at, it’s given me passion again!
Okay okay back up the truck, I thought I could go back and work in an office but it’s a lie I can’t do it. When I left my corporate job it was because I didn’t feel happy or healthy and returning I’m falling back into that trap. If anything, going back to “work” has taught me that I looooove working with people and I thrive supporting other woman never to settle and that living a life they love is available and necessary.
Tell us why your life is “simple-yet-extraordinary”
I think there is so much beauty in the every-day, there’s something so special about taking things back to gorgeous simplicity – everything from noticing the patterns in the clouds, feeling the sand between your toes and being aware of your heart beat to purchasing things that you actually loooove and bring you joy rather than just consuming for the sake of consuming.
Simple is too often seen as ‘boring’ or mundane but I find it just lovely.
The health and happiness mantra is more than business, can you tell us it overflows into the way you approach parenting
Health and happiness are the two things, aside from love, that I value the most in my life. Living for health and happiness is just what I do. Sometimes that means trying something and figuring out that no that thing (working in an office) doesn’t make me feel happy. This absolutely translate to the way I parent, sometimes that’s gonna mean Cas eating all the sauerkraut, spending plenty of time in nature and being in bed at 6.30pm and other times it means making s’mores on the camp cooker and sitting in front of the telle as a family watching movies until 9.30pm. I feel like the H + H LIFESTYLE is all about being flexible in your approach and doing what you need in that moment rather than over complicating things but at the core checking in and asking is this actually creating health and happiness for me, for us.
Tell us about your darling boy, Cas
Oh my he’s SO cool! My (now) fiancé and I fell pregnant with Cas after dating for two weeks, from the very moment he was conceived he’s been a beautiful surprise, he blows me away with his intelligence, kindness and creativity every single day. We love him to bits. I actually can not get enough of him. He’s cheeky, gentle and sensitive, strong and knows what he wants. He is just an absolute joy!!
Can you give us a story about pregnancy, finding out or when he was born?
Finding out we were pregnant was such a ride. Vinny knew my period was late, I was going to sleep praying I’d get my period but deep down I knew I was pregnant - my boobs were tender and perkier than when I was 16. The morning it was confirmed I woke early to check if my period had come, when it hadn’t I went to get “coffee”. Vinny was still asleep. I returned home with coffee and three pregnancy tests, ran down stairs took one test, positive. Took another test, positive. I didn’t need to do the third because I actually already knew. I walked into my bedroom, we weren’t even living together, sat on the bed and Vinny woke up and saw my face. “What’s wrong?”, he asked. I think my face must have told it all, “I’m pregnant”. He sat up, looked me straight in the eyes and said “I love you”, wrapped me in his arms and we cried.
Best part about becoming a mother
The love, oh my all the love. Greater than anything for my fiancé, the most incredible father, the father I never had and always dreamt my children would have. The love for my child, a bond like nothing I’ve ever known. And the lessons. The big ones and the little ones. Learning to give, to sacrifice, to let go, to be present, to breathe. So many lessons.
Values you want to instil in your son
Kindness, passion, adventure, strength, humour, gratitude, compassion and deep respect and care for Mama Earth.
What didn’t you see coming
How hard that first year would be, I kinda just thought my life could go on the same, doing the same things only with a little companion by my side. That wasn’t the case. I took on contracts and worked when I should have been soaking up all that new born goodness. That was hard, I think I had the idea ‘I can do it all’ when in reality that time was for slowing down and being present with my delicious little baby. Next time I’ll do it different...
We can’t help but be inspired by your style, talk to us about your home and your wardrobe
I once was a babe who filled internal gaps with shopping, I’d go out and buy things as something to fill time, loneliness, heart break. I’d gift or even throw away things with price tags on them because I didn’t really want them, I wanted love. Since then I’ve learnt that more of all the things does not create happiness, that’s an inside job. These days my home and wardrobe have less and I’m far happier for it. I think I have 50 items of clothes. If I don’t love something anymore, or if it doesn’t give me joy I give it away. These days I support local and buy as ethical as I can. I’d choose natural fibres over than plastic clothes like polyester that don’t break down and I wear the heck out of my clothes and love the heck out of my ‘things’.
LINEN love!!! How DO YOU KEEP THOSE PANTS CLEAN with a toddler?
Lol, these are actually my fave pants ever! No joke I wear them every second day (at least)! Cas is three and a half now and he’s a virgo (doesn’t like to be dirty) so he’s not the problem. I got a stain on them once but surprisingly it wasn’t Cas, I was eating chocolate and managed to sit on some and it melted (into the butt of my pants). Maybe ask me again when I’ve got a new born again…
And of course, your Saben handbag; what drew you to Saben? Do you swap bags as you switch roles (work-mode to mum-mode) or have one all-rounder?
I love that Saben is created by women, for women! I’m ALL about supporting New Zealand women in business! I also had heard through the grapevine that you use scraps of leather to create some of your bags/wallets – I love that idea of reducing waste. As I mentioned I’m big on ethics and being able to ask where and how things are made is the best. I love beautiful things, I buy for beauty and quality, I’m big on using my things often and having them last for years. I certainly mix up my bags based on my outfit/what I’m doing that day! I’m obsessed with Wes, he keeps all my life together so I can switch my handbags without forgetting my cards! Lou is my work baby and Mae is my tan sweetheart then Niko is my on the run support crew – Oh my I think I’m turning into a bag lady, as a little girl I always wanted that!
Abbylee wears new super soft Bex handbag in chestnut. To see more from Abbylee, check out her blog here and shop Abbylee's picks below!