Born and raised in Engadine, Michelle moved back to raise her daughters where she grew up and now sees the world through very different eyes.
Where and how long have you lived in the Sutherland Shire and what do you love about it?
I grew up in Engadine with my parents, older brother and younger sister. I moved out of the Shire when I was about 20, and then came back again once my youngest daughter was born. I love the people, the pace and the familiarity of the Shire. It just feels like home – safe, comfortable, family-friendly, whilst still being progressive and ‘happening’.
Tell us about yourself and your family:
I am a health and wellness advocate, who absolutely loves nature and is passionate about physical and mental health and family wellness. I run my own health and wellness website – Happy Healthy Whole Living, which includes Family Bushwalking Club, Wellness Coaching and Walking Groups. I also currently volunteer with Blackdog Institute as a Research Assistant working with high school students as part of a study supporting mental health. I am a mum to two young daughters – Emma who is 7, and Zoey who is 4. They are my sunshine – they both have an amazing sense of humour, incredible stamina (we often complete 10km of walking on a weekend day together), are super creative and kind. Together we make an incredible team!
What does a typical day look like for you?
There’s really no such a thing as a typical day for me! I’m not much of a routine person, and working for myself means I’m lucky enough to be able to structure each day differently. After dropping off the girls at preschool and school, I like to start the day with a walk, bushwalk or yoga class by the beach. Then I’ll sit down to do some work or study. I break up most days with a walk to grab groceries, or I’ll take my laptop to a nice outdoor spot to find some inspiration and enjoy the sunshine. Then I’m off to pick-up the girls… dinner prep, etc.
Favourite park and why:
Cooper Street Reserve in Engadine. We’ve been going there since my girls were very young and it’s just such a beautiful big green space, and so versatile! From the playground to the bike path, it’s one of our favourite spots for simple birthday parties and catching up with friends (and it’s so close we can walk or ride there)
Favourite thing to do with your bubs/kiddies and why:
Bushwalking of course! I love seeing my girls out in nature – exploring, learning about new plants and creatures, being curious and asking questions, climbing and jumping in puddles or squelching in mud with big smiles on their faces! On the way home, they always tell me they had the best time.
Favourite kid-friendly cafe and why:
The Local Pantry (Engadine). All the little touches, from the special napkins to the ever-changing treats like rainbow love-heart lollipops or twisted marshmallows for the kids. And the staff are just so friendly and patient.
Favourite restaurant or favourite night-spot and why:
Jensen’s (Kareela) – amazing cocktails and desserts, and it doesn’t happen very often, so when it does it feels super special!
Favourite Mothers Group location:
I didn’t actually have a Mothers Group – but I would say somewhere outdoors like Cooper Park.
Favourite wet weather location:
Hazelhurst Art Gallery, Garden & Cafe (Gymea) – I love the craft / colouring they have for the kids, and I really enjoy taking my girls to look at the latest art exhibitions. The garden is beautiful and peaceful and they have coffee!
What do you like to do when you have time to yourself:
Check out a new bushwalking track in the Royal National Park early in the morning when the birds are chirping and the ground is still covered in dew! Or if it’s later in the day, I like to stretch, read, journal, pop some beautiful scents in my diffuser and just unwind…
Work or SAHM (Stay at Home Mum):
I would say both… because there is a combo of work and stay at home mumming going on!
Motherly advice on how to stay sane:
Self kindness. I know this gets said a lot, but you need to speak to yourself with kindness, and know that you are doing your best – and your best is truly enough. Also surrounding yourself with other mums that are beautiful on the inside, that support you, are real with you, and who are non-competitive but who encourage you when you need it. Being a mum is a journey best shared!
Funny mum moment:
Oh… too many to mention – but maybe the times I have left the house with clothes on inside out!
What is your guilty pleasure?
What makes you lose your shit?
People who litter! Please take care of the environment so we can all be healthy, thrive and enjoy it.
Favourite local shop/online store or Instagram business:
I love the Found: The Store in Engadine – they always have amazing and unique items either for gifts or for when you are looking for something a little special for yourself.
What’s the best product/service you can recommend since becoming a mum? (for baby/kids or you)
Ecotan. It’s so quick and easy to apply (and no nasties!) and always make you feel amazing… it gives you that little confidence boost when you need it too.
What’s your “can’t live without” beauty product?
Eyebrow crayon – I feel a bit naked when my eyebrows aren’t defined!
How have you changed since becoming a mum?
Since becoming a mum, I feel I have really bloomed, and I have such a deeper connection to myself. Being a mum has made me more confident, more resilient and more committed to living my life by my own values – especially the desire to be a good role model for my two daughters. It’s so important to be true to you – that’s your essence and when you are being you, you can be at your best.
What is the greatest challenge you have faced since becoming a mum?
Simply being a mum every day… it can be challenging and exhausting and feel relentless (kind of like groundhog day at times), which is why I find reflecting at the end of each day so valuable – taking the time to journal and think back… What was hard today and what was great? Each day really is unique, and you can learn something from them all.
Would you like to share your local #mumlife with us like Michelle has?
If you would like to feature as our next ‘Local Mum’ we would love to hear from you! Please tell us about yourself here.