Bella is one of the most stylish woman I know. Surely she will soon be in the pages of The Gentlewoman, so it is a relief that she agreed to being interviewed by me... Her chic personal style revolves around her Fremantle lifestyle and rightly so - garments must be elegant when on a bicycle as well as baby-proof, so it is a huge affirming compliment when she selects something I've designed.
If you’re feeling uninspired, how do you transform your energy?
The quickest way to transform my energy is to ride my bike into Fremantle and sit by myself for a while, enjoying a coffee. Fresh air, blood pumping, people watching, a delicious drink and the buzz of multiple conversations in the background never fail to get my brain sparking.
What rituals do you have in place to take care of yourself?
This is a challenging one for me at the moment - with two young children and a demanding job, it is extremely difficult to carve out time for myself. I have had to really interrogate and re-evaluate what sort of rituals have the most significant impact on my mental and physical health otherwise I get overwhelmed by what I “should” be doing.
It is clear now that the two most important things for my mental health are movement and friendship, so these are my priorities. A yoga or Pilates class, a bike ride, walking as much as possible and inviting friends over for dinner or meeting for coffee - these are the things I need to do at least once weekly to keep my sanity.
Who has been an expansive influence to your career so far?
Initially I was trying to think of a mentor, but honestly the most expansive influence on my career so far would be my husband. He has been endlessly supportive and encouraging and a huge champion for my career, despite the brutal hours that sometimes put a strain on our family life. When I get overwhelmed with the “Mum guilts”, he gently reminds me that my career is an important part of my identity, I enjoy it, I am good at it, and the kids are fine and very, very loved.
How do you successfully get out the door on time?
Honestly, I don’t! I used to pride myself in being punctual, but with kids I find it utterly impossible to get anywhere on time. The amount of stuff you have to organise just to get out the door is mind boggling, and a good rule of thumb is to plan for SOMETHING to come up just before you need to leave - a nappy blow out, a glass of water tipped over clothes, missing shoes.
Home - our house was designed by Fremantle/Walyalup based architect Philip Stejskal
How do you manage boundaries with your phone or computer?
Poorly. In my job as a corporate lawyer I am expected to be responsive almost around the clock, so I am continuously checking my emails. Instagram is also an easy way for me to unwind - scrolling through images is the perfect balm for my brain after working with words all day. So some days I feel like my phone is superglued to my hand. My kids are the best sanity checks - if I notice them playing up when I look at my phone, it means I have been on it too much that day and it’s time for me to put it away and focus on what’s REALLY important.
How do you overcome feeling anxious, uncertain, or nervous?
Physical movement, preparation and practice.
What are your rituals for sparking creativity?
Taking a break from work. The practice of law encourages rule following, intense focus on minutiae and perfectionism, which I find can really dampen my creativity. I need time away to reignite the creative spark. Letting my brain idle is important.