KINDRED SPIRITS - SHARING THE EXPERIENCE OF MOTHERHOOD
To find a connection with someone who is on a similar journey to you is an amazing and rare thing. Someone who shares your passions and interests, understands your struggles and celebrates your successes, someone who is always there for you with advice and comforting words - a true and unconditional friendship. Meet our incredible Swedish mothers, Johannah and Nathalie - who, through Instagram have created an incredible bond. Having always followed each other on social media, finding each other's content to be a great source of inspiration; it wasn't until realising they were pregnant at the same time with their firstborns that they reached out to one another. Since then, a lifelong friendship has blossomed - talking from dusk till dawn every day. We sat down with Johanna and Nathalie and discussed friendship, motherhood and their passions. We loved to see the beautiful similarities in their answers and yet their unique differences.
How did you two first meet, what did you have in common that led to such a strong friendship?
Johanna: We had both followed each other on Instagram from the very beginning. It wasn't until I posted that I was pregnant with Sigge that we "officially" connected (as Nathalie was pregnant with Ilse). From then on, we talked from the moment we woke up until we went to bed. Nathalie was living in Gotland until recently, so we hadn't had the chance to connect in person. In February, we got to meet for the first time. During our first meeting, we made semlor (a Swedish cardamom bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream). The kitchen was a complete mess and the kids were covered in semlor, we all had so much fun.
Nathalie: Johanna and I both share a passion for photography and have inspired each other through Instagram for years now. Our children are the same age, So we have shared this journey and been able to relate to each other on the everyday family stuff. Johanna is the first person I go to when I need advice or just want to talk about my thoughts. She is one of the few people that I trust totally. It’s a blessing to have such an amazing friend that I can share so much with, especially during this chapter of life when you are often longing for true friends, I have found mine!
You are both based in Sweden, such a beautiful part of the world. Tell us a little bit about what it is like to live in Sweden, especially raising children there.
Johanna: My mother's side of the family is Swedish, however, I was brought up in England and Canada. In 2015 I decided to give up my life in Vancouver to fulfil my dream of moving to Sweden. I longed for cooler summers and white winters, and to have my red house in the country. Now, 6 years later, I live in the beautiful countryside (not in a red house yet) with my fiancé and my 2 children. Children have such an advantage living in such a supporting country. They are taught equality from an early age and this really shows when kids grow up, as they are free to be who they choose to be.
Nathalie: I grew up in Gotland, the biggest island in Sweden. People often describe Gotland as ‘’The island of wind & roses’’. It’s the most beautiful place in the world to me, with its wide range of landscapes including ancient ruins, the old town, forests, mountains and the ocean. We recently made the decision to move back to Gotland in autumn, which I'm very excited about. A very serene place filled with genuine people and incredible nature, it’s an upbringing I long to give to my children. I feel so blessed to have been brought up there as a girl, I could not have wished for more!
It is so incredible that you are both on this motherhood journey together, how have you found having each other as a support network?
Johanna: Having kids that are the same age has made it easy for us to connect. I don't have any family close by, so I'm thankful to be able to bombard Nathalie with all of my thoughts and questions. We support each other through all of life's ups and downs.
Nathalie: Our children are the exact same age and going through the same phases in their development. We share all of our thoughts and emotions with each other every day. And just like Johanna, I am also far from my family and friends. No matter what happens here at home – Johanna is the first to hear about it, we are forever talking about everything. Haha
We love the idea that our lives are full of chapters, what were some of the chapters you closed when you became a mother, and what was it like opening the new chapter of motherhood?
Johanna: Life before children seemed very simple. Prior to having children, we were only responsible for ourselves, we were free to do as we pleased without consequences. Life with children is not as simple and yet it is the life I had dreamed of. I love my 2 mischievous kiddos and wouldn't give up this life for anything. Life as a parent has its ups and downs, but they teach me and inspire me every day to be a better person.
Nathalie: I have been blessed with the most important and valuable job in the world, and with that comes great responsibility. I’m so grateful and thankful to be a mum to my two beautiful children, at the same time, I feel such pressure to make sure these little people grow up to be responsible and kind human beings. It is a new chapter filled with love, but it can also be tough. Everything is new and everything that happens is a new experience. I am forever learning and growing as a mother.
What kind of mother do you aspire to be? How would you describe your parenting style?
Johanna: I am a very creative person, so I hope to inspire my children to be creative. I would describe my parenting style to be a very "go with the flow" approach. Routines have never stuck in our home! However, by letting the kids be free, I am able to adapt to their needs and interests, while allowing time for my own hobbies and interests which they then become a part of.
Nathalie: My goal as a mother is to make my children feel that they are listened to, seen and especially loved. I want to be a calm and protective mother, who will guide them through all of life's moments, both good and bad. I follow the Swedish Author, Astrid Lindgren's words - “Give the children love, more love and even more love, and common sense will come by itself.”
The location of your Auguste shoot is so beautiful, especially the church ruins, how did you choose it?
Johanna: The church ruins are very dear to me, this is where I am planning to get married there next summer. I chose the location as it is very similar to the landscape in Gotland, where Nathalie is from. We couldn't have chosen a better location! It definitely made me excited about our wedding day.
Nathalie: I’m so grateful that Johanna shared this beautiful location with me. This part of Sweden is new to me, so it was fun to explore and find these new sweet spots. It was amazing to shoot in a new location, but at the same time it felt like home.
Nathalie, your Instagram images are absolutely gorgeous, you can see your passion for photography. When did you first discover your love for photography and how did it progress from there?
Nathalie: Thank you so much! I have always been a very creative person and always loved to work with my hands. My hobbies include photography, painting, and as I am a hairdresser, a lot of hair styling. I got my first camera when I turned 13 and shortly after that, set up a little exhibition at a local library in Gotland. I took a break from photography during my hairdressing years, and it wasn't until my first child was born that my creativity was resparked. My new found free time created this longing for photography again, so I invested in a new camera and it’s still my best friend!
Johanna, a little bird told us about a recent engagement, congratulations! Where, what and how did he propose...we want all of the details?
Johanna: Yes! I am still in awe of the day. It was on my birthday, my (now) fiancé had planned a canoeing trip. At the end of the trip he had gathered all our closest friends who held up a gigantic sign that said "Marry me?". I had read the sign, but thought... this must be for a boat behind us, there is no way he could have thought of this. He asked me if I had read the sign, in shock I turned around to question him, but there he was holding a beautiful diamond ring and asked me to marry him. I said yes, we shared a kiss, everyone cheered, and as I was trying to turn back around so we could park at the dock....my clumsy self managed to flip the boat. A memory I will treasure with lots of pictures and videos so we can never forget.
You both look amazing in every piece from our latest collection, what were your favourite pieces and why?
Johanna: Thank you, both dresses were absolutely gorgeous! I am quite tall, so I loved the fit and length of the Stella maxi dress. The white dress is perfect for a Swedish summer, a very light and airy dress that can be worn through the day and into the evening. Both will be a favourite this summer.
Nathalie: They are such lovely pieces, all of them in different ways! My absolute favourite is the white dress because of its beautiful small details and timeless charm. I will definitely be wearing it a lot this summer, even when autumn comes around, I will style it with a cosy knitted sweater!