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motherhood: sophie pearce

Sophie Pearce, mama to one year old Poppy, shares with us her life in Cabarita Beach Australia, their house renovations turn Airbnb, as well as travelling with her little family.

My name is Sophie, I am a 27 year old mother of one and… wife of one...
My beautiful daughter Poppy is 1 year old in less than a week and as cliche as it sounds I have absolutely no idea where the past year has gone!! Before I had Poppy I was working as a doctor, but at this stage I don’t know if I will go back to that. I am currently a stay at home mum, but have my fingers in lots of other pies, helping out with social media, e-commerce etc for a couple of other businesses. My husband, Nick, is the most incredible dad, he is extremely hands on in all aspects of parenting. He owns his own businesses, a coffee roastery and a couple of cafes on the Tweed Coast and Gold Coast. 

I honestly believe that where we live is the most beautiful place in the world...
We live in Cabarita Beach in Northern NSW (half way between the Gold Coast and Byron Bay) in Australia. My husband and I are both originally from Melbourne, and growing up I would never have believed if you told me that I would be raising my baby/babies in a sleepy beachside town! We both moved up to the Gold Coast about 8 years ago for university, moved to Cabarita Beach 3 years ago and have never looked back! 

The best part about where we live is that it is slow and relaxed and... there’s no traffic!! 
We live close to lots of our friends who have young kids and who have a similar outlook on life. I now can’t imagine raising children away from the beach. It is such a nice lifestyle going down to the beach in the mornings or evenings and once Poppy is running around I imagine it will be an easy way for her to tire herself out! It also helps that when we moved to the area, housing was very affordable. There’s not that many other places that we could buy a three bedroom home on a decent block that close to the beach! 

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We bought a house in Cabarita Beach (Grounds of Cabarita) at the end of 2015 and started renovating the house at the start of 2016...
We had the intention of just living there ourselves, but being into interiors I started an instagram page for the house and started posting about our home. People started to enquire about staying at the house or hiring it out for photoshoots so we eventually decided to trial it on AirBnB and it took off, we were amazed! Pre-Poppy, we just moved in and out, as our bookings were mainly on the weekends, so we would take mini getaways. But we knew once we had Poppy that this was going to be too hard. Now our house is pretty much booked out all the time so we have had to completely move out (which is a fabulous problem!!). We are super excited as we are building a new house in Cabarita Beach this year, which will be our home.

A day in the life at Cabarita Beach...
Oh I feel like our days are constantly changing, which I like! Poppy has a routine for sleeping and eating, but I don’t find this hinders us as we get out and about around it. We start the day at around 6.30am, get up at 7am. Walk to Tucker and all have breakfast together. Poppy generally goes to back sleep around 9.30am and wakes at 11am. I madly rush around trying to do as much housework or other work as I can while she sleeps. Then when she wakes we normally head out, run errands, catch up with friends, go to the gym, have swimming lessons, go out for lunch… it changes each day. Then Poppy has another sleep around 2pm till 3.30pm. When she wakes up we wait for Nick to get home and all hang out together. Then she has dinner at 5pm, we normally then go for a swim because she’s covered head to toe in whatever she’s eaten. Bath at 6pm and bed around 7pm. Nick and I will then debrief about our day, watch an episode of something on Netflix, read a book or plan out our weeks. Then we hit the hay early around 9.30pm or so.

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Best tips for travelling with bub… 
I am about to do a whole blog post on this actually as I get so many questions from other mums when we travel about how we do it. 
Top 5 tips would be… 
01. Have low expectations for sleep when you are away. No matter how much preparation you have done, its not going to be the same as home! But some ways to better the sleep are:
    - If your child is used to sleeping in their own room, book a hotel room with 2 rooms or a bathroom big enough to put the portacot (we didn’t do this in Japan and very much regretted it) 
    - Get your child to practice in their portacot before you leave 
    - Try to stay in routine even when you are out and about (i.e. them napping in the pram or carrier, eating at the right times…) 
02.  Get a baby carrier!!! 
03. Don’t put your preconceived ideas on foreign cuisine onto your child. Poppy was scoffing fish in Japan that I would never eat but she loved it! 
04. Pack smart! You don’t need to take the kitchen sink with you… (Pack enough nappies/wipes for the travel to the destination and a day or two (bit of a buffer to find nappies there) and no more. You do not need a month’s worth of nappies on you at all times) 
05. Don’t plan and book too much!!! You will not be able to do as much, see as much, travel as far with a baby. Embrace slower travel! 

I have enjoyed every trip we have done with Poppy...
We have taken her to Tasmania, NZ, Japan and Melbourne many times. But the best trip would have to have been the month we just spent in Japan. We all loved the food, the culture, the people. And the people LOVED Poppy! Nick and I got to eat many meals with two hands as wait staff or other customers would be so besotted by her that they would play with her, walk her round the restaurant etc. it was the best. We spent some time in the snow, which Poppy was obsessed with. She loved playing with it and eating it (don’t worry she didn’t eat any yellow snow) But mostly it was great cause we just spent a month the three of us hanging out, exploring, bonding.

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The greatest challenge about being a parent is this bizarre feeling that I find difficult to describe!
At times being a mother can feel extremely lonely, but at the same time you never feel like you have a moment to yourself. This is something I struggled with particularly when Poppy was around 3-4 months old and the newborn novelty had worn off a bit. Prior to having Poppy, if i spent a whole day by myself at home I would feel anxious from boredom. But over the past 9 or so months, this is something that I have really worked on and now I am better at being alone, being at home, embracing not being busy and finding time for myself. Oh and the greatest reward, that’s too hard to say, it is an absolute pleasure and privilege to be Poppy’s mum. There is nothing more amazing then spending time with a little human that is half me and half of my love. Poppy is the such a character and it is so amazing to watch her learn new things, discover new places and just see the world through such innocent eyes.

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We are really lucky that because Nick works for himself, his hours are very flexible! 
Mornings will always start when Poppy decides to wake up, generally around 6.30am. We will all have a cuddle and play in bed. Often we will get up and either have a smoothie and coffee at home or walk together to one of Nick’s cafe which is nearby and have breakfast together before Nick heads off to work. In the afternoons, when Nick gets home, you’ll often find us in the pool or at the beach. Then we will cook dinner together, laugh at Poppy while she scoffs her face, give her a bath then she goes to bed around 7pm. As much as I love Poppy, I really savour those few hours after she goes to bed to spend with Nick. When her bedtime pushes out later at times, I find that it really affects me not having that one on one time with him. In saying that, Nick and I are usually in bed by about 9 or 9.30pm each night.

All three of us play a part in bringing the fun for our family...
We truly do have fun anywhere if we have one another! We all love the beach, love being outdoors, love eating and cooking and just generally being together. I feel like everyone thinks this about their own child, but I genuinely feel like Poppy has a very fun and funny personality. So Nick and I honestly are entertained by just watching her be her weird self. 

A day in the life...
I LIVE… in Cabarita Beach in Northern NSW 
I AM CURRENTLY READING… Scrublands by Chris Hammer 
I OFTEN FIND MYSELF COOKING… as a sous chef to my husband! He definitely is the cook in our family! 
I’M LISTENING TO… all the investigative podcasts! 
I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT…  my beautiful family!

Favourite newborn / baby essentials?
The bednest from Danish by Design, vomit cloths (Poppy was a very spewy baby), a material carrier, my husband cooking dinner… and Nature Baby onesies of course ;)

Thank you so much for sharing your journey as a mama with us Sophie! We can't wait to come and visit beautiful Cabarita one day! xx Nb