INTERVIEW // Eilish - @eilishbyrne
I still remember stumbling across Eilish's instagram about a year ago... I was immediately drawn to her and her love of simple pleasures. Her instagram stories are slow and soft, pottering around barefoot in her beautiful cottage-like home, or wandering around her neighbourhood, capturing beauty in the form of some wildflowers, or the sunshine dancing through tree branches.
Eilish is mother to a gorgeous little 2 year old boy, by the name of Arlo, and just recently she announced that she is pregnant with her second child, due in October. You may remember Eilish from a shoot we did earlier in the year, at her home in the Blue Mountains (she's the one with the wild and beautiful mane... Serious #HairGoals). I've been so excited to share this interview with you all, because I just find our girl Eilish, so intriguing! So, without further ado, here's our interview with Eilish...
A bit about yourself?
I’m 22 years old, have 4 brothers, & I’m the second youngest & only girl. I come from such a biiiiig, LOUD, rowdy family & I absolutely love it. I have 3 nieces & 1 nephew (so far), 21 cousins & 18 aunties and uncles.. Christmas time is wild, I can tell you! Especially now my cousins have 10 children between them! Not to mention my partner also comes from a big family!
I spent the first 10 years of my life growing up in the western suburbs of Sydney, such a diverse and multicultural place with so much amazing food! Then on my 10th birthday we moved up to the blue mountains into our new family home that my parents had designed and built mostly themselves. I spent another 9 years there before moving further up the mountains to live with my partner & fell pregnant with our little surprise, Arlo.
What does your average day look like?
A day in my life; anyone with a 1 and a half year old knows every day is an adventure and a half. Routine only goes so far, but that’s exactly how we like it. We have no real set routine and structure, its just far to monotonous & a little less fun! Of course, that’s just what works for our little family.
We love our walks, our neighbourhood is so beautiful. No high rises and bustling streets, just beautiful old cottages and endless secret gardens. My favourite thing to do on our walks is try to get a little lost in the endless maze of laneways and overgrown streets to try and find some new hidden gem I’ve not yet previously found. Fruit trees and parrots are everywhere. It makes you feel so energised and refreshed. We might take the 25 minute walk to the lake, and stop to pick up some fish and chips along the way from our local shops. Arlo will play amoungst the ducks and I tend to follow him around making sure he doesn’t nose dive into the lake. We might go out for lunch, we might stay in. We might take a trip to the beach, or a picnic to the park. We might play under the sprinkler & lay under our pear tree. We might do some window shopping or we might run errands. We might visit grandmama or she might visit us. Lunch might be at 11 or it might be at 2. We might eat breakfast first thing or Arlo might have a play first. Dinner is when I remember or my partner beats me to it. Bedtime is when he’s worn out, nap time is when I get lucky. In a way I suppose there is some kind of routine. We take each day as it comes.
Do you like to exercise? If so, what’s your go-to?
I’ve always been so choppy changey with my exercise. I love my yoga stretches & pilates. I also have an exercise bike at home that I use. I prefer cardio to weights.
I tend to favour walking in general, just getting up and moving.
My partner and I used to do bushwalks almost every day as there are so many places around where we live. That keeps you very fit and is probably one of the most scenic and visually stimulating exercises you could do.
But let’s not all underestimate the exercise of picking a 10 kg toddler up and down 50 times a day. That’s a workout in itself!
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up?
I’m a creative sort of person. I grew up writing stories & drawing, painting & sculpting, collaging & photographing, designing & sewing. I loved drama & was in my fair share of school plays & studied it at school.
I still love to draw when I get a spare moment & sew something together. I love to style my home (I got that from my mama), & I have a weakness for beautiful clothing. I really feel good music so intensely & it can heavily effect my mood.
What I wanted to be when I ‘grew up’ has varied from vet to actor to primary school teacher to artist to interior designer to fashion designer to midwife.
I’m a real summer person, I love the warm weather & everything that comes with it. The longer days, the heatwaves, sandy, salty skin from the never ending flow of camping & drives to the beach. I have a real affinity with water. My happy place, I feel most at home & most grounded by the sea, river or lake.
I spent my first 10 years in the western Sydney suburbs then moved to the Blue Mountains with my family. I’ve been here ever since! The mountains has its own vibe to be sure, it feels old & disconnected from the intense hustle & bustle from the city. Bush is everywhere, trees are everywhere. Each suburb has its own defining traits. The first suburb I lived in had huge valleys and views at the end of every street.
The second was aptly named ‘Bullaburra’ meaning ‘clear day’ by the aboriginals, & it was a lovely & quiet, bushy suburb.
The one we live in currently is hugely characterised by its big lake & it’s enormous waterfalls. It’s an historic town on the mountain top with a few local cafes, florists, shops & countless beautiful old homes. Being only a suburb away from the ‘garden village’ & two from the tourist hotspot Katoomba, it’s a lot quieter then it’s neighbours, but just as striking. The Blue Mountains isn’t a top tourist destination for nothing!
How do you start your day?
Every morning starts with cuddles. My partner and I co-sleep with Arlo so every morning begins with a snuggle or two. Kisses a plenty & some general staring at the roof together while we stretch & slowly come to.
Sometimes we will head out onto the deck first thing and Arlo with go down and run around outside & really wake himself up before breakfast time. I’ve found he’s not always ready for food straight away. A quick breastfeed and some physical activity and he usually awake and ready to eat.
Whilst he’s eating I tend to bustle around the house and tidy away anything that wasn’t done the night before. Sometimes it will have been done and I’ll sit and have a cup of tea whilst arlo eats. Maybe some yogurt and musli or perhaps some fruit or a piece of toast. Whatever I’m feeling that morning. I might put some music on & dance around the house with him, on weekends he might watch some ‘Charlie and Lola’ or ‘Shaun the sheep’. Then bath time!
After that it might be a morning walk, errands to run or whatever we have planned for that day in particular.
Ahhh this is sooooo tricky! I have no real ‘favourite movie’. A few of my fav franchises are The hobbit series, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry potters Jurassic Parks & the Pirates of the Caribbean’s.
I had a huge influence from my 4 brothers & dad growing up & so my taste in movies strays more towards action/adventure/sci-fi.
My mother did however install a love of period films into me so I do love a good Jane Austen marathon.
I absolutely cannot do horror/thrillers. I'll have nightmares for the rest of forever and won’t sleep a wink! I much prefer family movies. Got my brothers to thank for most of that and of course my taste for exciting adventures!
Haha again no favourite as such. I am such a fiend for old classics but am also into such a wide range. Depends on my mood/the day!
I used to have the biggest sweet tooth ever! My tastes have changed a little however and I know now just how bad for you a butt load of sugar is. My favourites at the moment are Thai food & Japanese food
Favourite vacay destination?
Some of my favourite places I have been to have to be, Bruges, Yangshuo County in China, Luxembourg City, the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District & Paris. Each of those places left an unforgettable memory.
My favourite place to visit in Australia is where my partner grew up, down the south coast at Bawley Point.
Dream vacay destination?
Another hard one! I’ve always wanted to see Africa & South America. I’d also love to visit the Caribbean, Spain & Italy. No where precise, just the whole damn place!!
What food/dish do you cook best?
Gonna have to go with my vegetarian nachos. I think I’ve nailed that one finally. Also, I’m pretty good at making homemade pizzas from scratch. My partner is a coeliac so I have to make the bases gluten free for him. Shop bought can be okay but the bases I make are like the real deal, only they won’t give him any pain, win win!
Otherwise I’m not a natural when it comes to the culinary world, my partner is the real chef. He studied it for a few years & is a natural born cook! Lucky me ;)
Items always in your handbag?
I always have some Paw paw ointment! I tend to like my bag to be as decluttered as possible because I know when I want to find something in the spare of the moment I won’t be able to if it’s full of clutter! There always tends to be a piece of fruit lurking somewhere at the bottom, like an apple or a pear, maybe some seaweed crackers. A hot wheels car or two to give to arlo when we are out and he is restless. A muslin blanket to use when breastfeeding in public, a pair of sunnies & a spare hair tie for my unruly mane.
Describe motherhood in 3 adjectives:
selfless, rewarding, accepting.
What are the best things your Mother instilled in you, in regards to mothering?
The one that stands out the most is her generosity and kindness. She always instilled in us to be thoughtful of others, even if it just meant offering a helping hand, clearing the dishes or performing a kind act out of selflessness. She was always the first person on the scene if her friends or family needed her.
She taught me to be loving, honest, not to gossip or judge people and to be the best version of ourselves we could be. She had a lot to put up with from teenage me & I honestly had no idea how she did it until I had my own child. You realise then that you would go through anything for your child & I can’t thank her enough!
How has your partner adapted to being a Father?
I never doubted that Jake would be an amazing father. It was one of those things I hadn’t even thought about, and then before we knew it Arlo was here and it all came naturally. He was the one who came up with his full name, the one to change his nappies when I needed a helping hand.
He’ll take him for a walk or shower him or read him a story when he comes up to him, book in hand. He was the one who taught arlo how to give kisses & cuddles & not too long ago taught him how to jump (yeah thanks for that one babe! The kid now jumps off & on everything haha). He always makes time to be silly with him & spend some quality time together.
Arlo follows him around always fascinated by everything he does, watching intently as he fiddles with the car or his woodworking or even mowing the lawn. He always asks where he is when he‘s at work and rushes to the door when he’s home. ‘Dada dada!’ Ahhh it melts your heart! You can see the adoration in his eyes & it’s so beautiful to watch! There’s nothing more attractive then a good father!
How did you meet your partner?
We met on the eve of the Winter magic festival that generally happens every year in Katoomba in the blue mountains. It celebrates the winter solstice and it’s a day where the Main Street is filled with market stalls, street performers, parades and people dressed up in all manner of weird and wacky outfits. I’d never been before but two of my friends convinced me to go out that evening with them to the bar for a few drinks and to join in with all the festivities. First thing when we walked in we spotted three spare seats at a table and rushed over to claim them before anyone else. My friends went up to get the first round and I said I’d mind the seats. I looked up and across from me was Jake — instant attraction at first sight. I thought he was really cute! Throughout the rest of the night I kept poking my head up through the huge crowd of people crammed into the bar to try and spot him, at several occasions noticing he was right behind me! As the night drew on everybody was dancing to the band and we found each other in the chaos of clumsy dancing drunks and danced together for the next however long. Mind you we still hadn’t even said one word to each other yet. Eventually I got a text from our ride saying they were ready to pick us up and we had to go. I yelled at him over the deafeningly loud music — “WHATS YOUR NAME?” He told me and then I was off. I looked him up on Facebook that night and added him. Thanks social media!
The next evening I was with my friends again & they convinced a very tipsy me to message him. I wasn’t sure at first as I was pretty shy when I came to things like that, but I did and we haven’t looked back since, almost 4 years & one beautiful boy later!
When I asked Jake about his take on that night, he says he remembered waking up the following morning thinking, ‘damn, the one that got away’. Of course I ended up messaging him so the rest as they say, is history!
Describe your idea of a perfect date:
This is again something that would depend on my mood or the season. Sometimes all you want is something cozy and intimate, fairy lights on and candles lit. Blankets and pilllows, snuggled up in front of the fire. A good movie or favourite tv series playing in the background, something you’ve seen before so you can talk throughout it if you want to.
Sometimes it’s a camping trip to our favourite place, days spent swimming, playing in the waves, beaches to ourselves, ending the day laying outside our tent on a blanket watching shooting stars and listening to the ocean. Or even just taking some food out to a lookout and watching the sun set together. Just some of my favourite memories and favourite things to do with my partner.
Favourite thing about being a mother?
Is there anything more magical then watching your child see the world for the first time through their eyes? All the firsts, even the not so great firsts, are so special in their own way. Watching Arlos face light up over a the smallest things, like a butterfly floating around the garden, or the moon coming out of an evening (he always points at it, gasps, and shouts ‘mon! Mon!’), it reminds me to stop, Slow down, And realise just how beautiful the every day can be. Just how much magic is around us in our every day lives. Something which we can all too easily forget. It really makes me go “wow, how amazing is that? How lucky are we?” Constantly reminding myself to look up and watch the shapes in the clouds. And of course, nothing beats the kisses & cuddles & cute attempts at ‘I love you’!!
How many children would you like to have?
I kind of feel like 3 is a nice number, possibly more. I’m really open to it but my partner is more set on 2 so maybe just 2!
What inspires you?
Stereotypical I know but of course nature! It’s hard not to be when where I live is abounding with it! The beauty of flora and fauna is a plenty here.
Also, I like to take a leaf out my imaginations book. Our brains are capable of coming up with some of the most creative and imaginative things possible! When we dream, be it when we sleep or do it in a spare moment, we can come up with all sorts of whimsical & magical ideas & thoughts! I’m such a visual person so I love something that is a real feast for my eyes. A fanciful movie, a beautiful view or garden, flowers, a sunset, the sea, the birds playing in the trees around our home; it’s all one big mood board!
Your favourite way to relax?
I love a good bath & bath bomb with a few candles or the whole ‘Netflix & chill’ vibe really floats my boat too. I also love a good cuddle with Jake or arlo or sitting down with some paper & a pen & drawing whilst listening to some of my favourite tunes at the time or having an old favourite movie or TV series going in the background.
What tv show are you watching right now?
At the moment nothing new! We are watching Lucifer for the 3rd time round & just finished a series of unfortunate events & Cuckoo. We usually have Brooklyn 99, how I met your mother or Downton abbey on the go as our sort of ‘background TV’ as we don’t have our television hooked up to actual channels. Most of the new or hit TV series on Netflix are either too thriller-ish for me or I haven’t had the time to sit down and really watch them child free.
Wuthering heights hands down! I need books with complicated language and intense plot lines to keep my attention for long enough to finish them. I get bored otherwise. I’m also far more partial to fiction then biography’s or self help books or any of the other ‘how to live you life’ ones.
At the moment I’d love to get into midwifery. It wasn’t something I’d ever considered until having Arlo but now I feel like it would be such a rewarding and hands on job! Not without its struggles I’m sure, but I’d need something to keep me creatively stimulated. I’d also love to design clothes! I’ve always had a thing for fashion and there’s just something about seeing your vision come to life! I’ve dabbled with it in the past but would really love to go further into it. Writing children’s books is another.
Favourite accounts to follow on insta?
Okay this is hard haha. Hmmm, if I had to pick some of my favourites I’d say:
@mothermusemag for my never ending source of ethereal mama inspo.
@rivuletpaper for her fanciful drawings! So unbelievably talented, they never fail to transport me to another world.
@emelinaah because she’s downright gorgeous and I love her eye for beauty. I really appreciate a good photo of Gucci shoes & a handbag.
@rubytuesdaymathews for her raw hilarity haha! Love a good old honest motherhood rant and just her general outlook is so real and I really love that.
@loveshackfancy for their outrageously whimsical clothing! Absolutely love the whole vibe there.
There are sooo so many I love but those a just a few that make me happy.
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Photography by one of our favourite ladies behind the lens, Sarah Kennedy Photography ~ @sarahkennedy_photographer