I am a mum of 3 girls, living in Sydney after many years of travelling the world with my husband who is a doctor. We’ve lived in the UK and America, and before that I lived in Copenhagen where I was a professional ballet dancer.
How have you found your journey through motherhood?
Amazing but incredibly challenging. You can never be fully prepared for how difficult life can be as a mum – constantly being tired and worried you aren’t doing everything right, it hard. I was surprised at how much guilt I felt as a mum.
What inspired you to start creating teas?
My pregnancy and breastfeeding journey with my first child, Tilly. I had a long (very long!) labour and Tilly was in NICU for several days, making our start into parenthood more difficult than I expected. I was looking for natural support to my exhaustion, milk supply and nerves and I turned to Bethan’s tea knowledge to see if anything could help me. Then when I fell pregnant soon after Tilly was born, again, I realised how much I needed tea and non-caffeine options to help me cope!
How do you care for your mental wellbeing while juggling a busy life of motherhood and running a business?
I prioritise getting time to exercise and be alone 3 times a week minimum, as I really find it helps me mentally. Since moving back to Australia almost 4 years ago, I have found the vitamin D also helps me! Getting outside and moving in the sun can turn any day around!
What are your must haves or must dos for self care?
Time and silence
I need to carve out 30 minutes a day minimum where the time is my own and it is quiet so I can listen/watch/do what I’d like! This isn’t always out of the house, but just in my own space with my husband taking over making dinner, reading to the kids or whatever is needed!
If you could go anywhere to restore yourself and relax, where would it be?
Hawaii. A warm sandy beach is my dream and I also love to hike, so climbing a volcano would be a dream. I’m lucky to live in Sydney with lots of access to beaches, but I’d take myself far away from the distractions of real life to truly restore myself.
Why should mums have HotTea Mama in their mental wellbeing toolkit?
Tea is a brilliant physiological support to your body but it can be a huge mental support to. Making time to have a cup of tea can give you space to think and breathe. A warm cup of tea in your hands can increase your oxytocin and make you feel better if you’re down. And talking over a cup of tea can help you figure out a problem or grapple with your feelings.
Which is your go to tea and why?
Night Owl has always been my favourite tea. It’s incredibly soothing and really helps calm my nerves and relax me in the evening. My kids have always had a brilliant night time routine, but I often struggle to sleep and it helps me wind down and turn off my brain. I love the gentle floral flavour and the lavender notes – I honestly can’t live without it!
What Would Your Affirmation For Today Be?
I am the best mother I can be
I am half Welsh, live in Oxford and have 2 wonderful kids – Cerys and Hector. My passions in life revolve around food and China. I love cooking, but not more than I love eating. And I lived, worked and studied in China for a total of c. 5 years in my 20s. I love speaking Mandarin but not more than I love eating Chinese food and drinking Chinese tea!
How has your journey through motherhood been?
It’s been a journey of growth and giving up control.
I like to manage my day and situations carefully, and spent my entire life managing my career and life into what I considered ‘a success’. Motherhood made me realise that some things in life can’t be controlled (hello newborn sleep patterns!) but that they can end up giving you huge understanding and rewards – just not on your own timescale! I’ve found myself understanding who I am, and enjoying my children more and more with each passing day. This makes it sound like an easy acceptance and I should stress that I was riddled with guilt, fear and upset for much of Cerys’s life until she was c. 10 months old. I’ve been able to reflect more on it as the years have passed, and I had such a different experience of newborn life when Hector was born 2 years later. I am grateful to have been able to relive it, and enjoy it more for a second time. But I’m most grateful for Cerys and Hector as now I don’t try to control them constantly they are THE BEST!
What inspired you to do a degree in Tea Science?
I moved to Shanghai when I was 21 and finished a history degree in the UK. I was lucky enough to work in marketing for a big engineering firm, and had friends who introduced me to Chinese tea culture. I ended up spending weekends at tea estates along the South East coast of China, and in tea houses drinking tea. After working in China for 9 months, I was transferred to South Korea and realised just how much I loved China itself and wanted to learn to read and write Mandarin. I ended up doing a masters degree in Chinese Studies split between China and the UK, and I wrote my thesis about tea culture in Sichuan province. This led me to get a job at a tea company based in London and Hong Kong, and I learnt so much about tea as a buyer and blender over the next 8 years. It was at this point that I discovered you could study Tea Science at certain agricultural universities in China. I immediately knew I wanted to do it, as there was a lot of conflicting information about tea biochemistry in the UK – some people said white tea was low in caffeine but the tea company I worked at decided to test our teas for caffeine levels and discovered it was higher in caffeine than black tea! And no matter how many books you read in English, similar odd facts popped up that I knew weren’t true from speaking to tea farmers. So I spoke to my partner, Jake, about me applying and seeing if I could do it whilst working over there. The plan being that after I did it, we would have kids. And that’s exactly what we did! I can never thank him enough for being so supportive as it has influenced my life so much.
How can teas play a part in a mums self care routine?
For me, a hot cup of tea is a true act of self care
It can nourish you, nuture you and support your hormonal needs. But it’s also a great way to stop and slow down, and use it as an excuse to take care of yourself. This could be a very simple 5 minute sit down in a messy kitchen before you start tidying, or it could be tea and a book, tea and a bath, tea and Netflix…but whatever it is, it can focus your mind on yourself.
What are favourite herbal teas?
I’m lucky that I’ve formulated all of our blends, and they are all kind of my favourite! But I absolutely love our Get Up & Glow fruit tea – it took over 9 months to get the blend right, as fruit tea can be so disappointing. I wanted it to taste good as well as smell good, and it really does. It’s incredibly uplifting and the perfect replacement to a coffee.
What are your must haves or dos for your self care?
I’m similar to Kate that exercise is a big part of my self care routine. I love to run, and carving out time through the week to do this is key to my happiness. I used to run for 1-2 hours on the weekend, which I don’t want to do anymore as I’d rather be with the kids. But I do make sure I have a 30 minute run 3 times a week for my happiness!
If you could go anywhere to restore yourself and relax, where would it be?
Wales – my parents have a house in Laugharne which is my happy place. There are mountains, an amazing estuary where you can watch the water, and birds, come in and out. And it’s stunning no matter the weather. I’d run in the hills, swim in the sea and walk castle walls. Just describing it makes me want to go there now!
WHAT WOULD YOUR AFFIRMATION FOR TODAY BE?
My possibilities are endless