The road to becoming a Mama in Paris isn’t always an easy one! Navigating the French healthcare system, the paper work, the appointments, and an ever-growing-to-do list. At times it seemed like a full-time job when all I really wanted to do was relax and slow down…But it was worth it! And all the challenging moments were balanced with great experiences, comedy moments and inspiring people who supported me through it…
Introducing Nadine. I met Nadine at a pre-natal yoga class at Tigre Yoga Club. Nadine was teaching the class, her calm presence, beautiful energy and quiet confidence lifted my spirits enormously. I also felt really great in myself after the class – which isn’t easy to achieve in the last months of pregnancy.
After the class, we got chatting and I was really inspired by Nadine’s approach to wellness, I also discovered her blog where she shares recipes, tips and provides consultancy for healthy living. I knew that I wanted Nadine to be one of the first interviews I did when I got back to TP. So recently we met at the new Noglu on Rue Grenelle where Nadine shared with me some tips and advice for getting back on form as a new Mama. I hope I can do justice to share some of Nadine’s beautiful energy and tips with you here…
From Paris Fashion Houses to a career in wellness, tell me your story?
Yes, I started in Fashion about 11 years ago working for several big fashion houses in Paris. Wellness, nutrition and yoga was always a great passion of mine but it was only a ”thing” on the side back then. I quickly realised fashion wasn’t really my calling but I insisted for a few years to really give it a try. And of course I had great experiences and opportunities during those years so I have no regrets leaving the industry, or I dont regret those years either ! Four years ago I took the leap to change direction. Taking care of people through nutrition and lifestyle advice as well as teaching yoga and stress relief strategies. I find it so fulfilling and I definitely think this is where I belong!
Tell me a little bit about your business and blog now?
I have several “ wellness” activities going on, so my days are busy ! I write articles for my blog (and for other health brands), sharing health and yoga content at least once a week. I also do nutrition and lifestyle counselling, preparing personalised wellness programs (including special personalised yoga routines) if desired. I give yoga classes but from this year only in enterprises and private classes as I no longer have time for the weekly group classes. I also organise workshops every three months and I’ve created a 3 month online health program that I run twice a year through my blog. I consult a group of almost 40 women right now with classes, podcasts, videos, counselling and much more and it’s a very rich beautiful experience.
Tell me a little about your approach to healthy living and how that’s impacted your life!?
It has simply changed everything ! What you eat is what you are, that statement is just so true and I’ve experienced it myself going from a sort of “classical” diet with sugar, bread, meat, dairy etc to cutting out anything processed and only eating very fresh clean whole foods. I also stopped eating meat 6 years ago and 2 years ago I cut out gluten and dairy. It’s a game changer big time.
How do you feel now?
My energy levels are more stable, my skin more beautiful and more resistant and I’ve naturally balanced a thyroid problem by changing my diet and of course also working more on stress management. That doesn’t mean I never have a piece of chèvre or fish if I’m invited somewhere for example, but 95% of the time I eat plant based and I’m really thriving on that! I think it’s so important to listen to yourself and not become too extreme or creating massive frustration in your life. But the great thing is the more you treat your body with respect, for example, giving it the kind of foods it was made to eat (meaning nothing processed and mainly plant based and organic) it will crave those kind of energy giving foods and naturally ditch the rest ! So it’s not a problem for me anymore to say no to dessert!
What does a typical day look like for you?
Well not so many routines except for when it comes to my son. We wake up around 7am and prepare a big smoothie to share. Fresh fruits and some superfood like baobab or raw cacao, maybe some avocado or coconut oil. My husband or I drop him off with his nanny and then a busy day of writing articles, giving classes or counselling starts ( and hopefully some yoga for me too at some point in between appointments!)
I pick up my son at 6pm and we have dinner early together – I love to cook, but obviously during the week I have less time so we’ll have simple meals like quinoa salad, sweet potato soup, veggie stews etc. After diner it’s time to play, have a bath, read stories, sing and say good night. I try my best not to work after my son’s gone to bed but since about 6 months back that has become more complicated to avoid. So I often write another hour, then I shut of all the screens and do a little relaxing yoga, and/or have a herbal tea and read to wind down. It can also involve listening to guided meditations or doing some pranayama (breathing exercises) before bedtime too…
Do you have a philosophy to living well and what would be your essential tips for feeling good & achieving balance for a new mama?
Always listen to yourself and your gut feeling. We tend to neglect that amazing gift inside us way too often. Creating balance is a lot about respecting yourself and listening to your real needs. That doesn’t mean we can always do what we want and when we want of course (especially not with a young child), but your child needs you to be well in order to be well and to feel balanced also. So I guess my number one tip is to really listen in, tune in several times a day to yourself and try and adjust your day to fit some wellbeing moments here and there.
We are talking about simple and manageable things ! Like accepting the fact that you are tired, and actually go have a little nap when your baby is asleep instead of cleaning the house, or breathing consciously for 2 minutes whilst you are waiting for the bus instead of looking on your phone, getting a baby-sitter even for just 1 hour so you can rest or have a massage or anything that will allow you to feel better. Ask for help more! Create a mama support group with your friends, or fellow young mother neighbours ! Your health and wellbeing is essentiel for you and your entire family so don’t systematically neglect your needs to live up to any exterior standards or expectations.
Mother to Elias, running your own business how to you manage to stay organised, maintain clean healthy living, to keep in shape and spend time with your family?
I organise myself a lot. I make lists all the time, I plan my weeks ahead and really try and stick to it and respect my deadlines. It helps so much in regards to not feeling overwhelmed by everything. Then I’ve also learned not to add too much on my lists, you just have to be realistic: putting 10 different things on your schedule for one day is just not a good strategy as you will rarely have time to do it all and it’ll create so much unnecessary stress. So yes to lists but not overambitious ones.
I try to involve my family as much as possible in my wellbeing activities. So talking about healthy eating for example, juicing has become a great activity to do together getting home in the evening before dinner. Elias loves it (it’s a machine making noise right and it gives us a good dose of essential nutrients also which can compensate if he isn’t to keen on all veggies at dinner. We also go out a lot together during the weekends to play and move around so that becomes exercise for all of us ! I try and do some yoga also with Elias a few times a week and even if it’s still just a game for him we move and stretch and it’s a nice moment together.
Your tips for getting back in shape and relaxing after having a baby and dealing with the challenges of being a mama?
Again, listen to your body’s specific needs and work progressively to get back in shape. If you go for it with too much intensity after a period of resting you are more keen to damage than rebuild the body. So adapt and work it up slowly. The body should always be treated with respect if you want it to function well for you. I would definitely recommend post natal classes to start with, it ’s such a great way of rebuilding core strength yet being gentle with yourself.
Then breathing consciously and meditation (alone or listening to a guided one) is amazing to regain calm and energy ! Find a short daily routine, stick to it for a month then it’ll be a natural new habit that you don’t want to give up ever again! The breathing consciously is so helpful to learn to let go more easily of pressure and feelings of guilt etc which is a very common thing to feel as à young parent.. since Elias was born three years ago “letting go” is my main goal to work on in my everyday life.
I love your bag where did you get it?
Thank you! It’s such a special project for me. I created these bags ‘Le Sac Nara’ to be able to support an amazing Parisian association called “Juste Humain“. They work with children with cancer, making their lives lighter and happier by organising various cultural events for them and much more ! The bags are made in France, by “Tissons la solidarité”.
They help unemployed women getting back into the workforce. By making my bags (and several other products from various brands) these women get a real salary, experience and support to evolve in their future workplace. For every sold Nâra bag, you are not only getting a high quality and pretty workout/yoga bag, you are also contributing with 10€ by bag is directly paid to Juste Humain.
Favourite health eatings spots in Paris?
Soya in the 11th is definitely my favorite restaurant. Amazing healthy food in a great environment – I love going for lunch or diner. Their organic wines are great too! I love having a juice from Nubio, breakfast at Bob’s kitchen or Rose bakery, a quick lunch at Wild & the moon or Season.
Favourite Paris city escapes en famille?
We love hanging out in parc Monsouris in the 14th if we stay in Paris, but we really prefer going a bit outside in Parc de Vincennes or bois de Boulogne to be a little bit more in nature. It’s still very close to Paris and it’s perfect for a long relaxing afternoon.
Your favourite places to shop for Elias?
I don’t have one in particular. I shop at Petit bateau, Monoprix, Jacadi, Zara kids or this great shop rue de cherche-midi called Church Minippes – it’s a chic second hand store where I always find great items. Every time I’m in Sweden I stock up on organic cotton kids clothes.
Favourite Mama & Bebe websites / blogs?
I really like Shalommama for her naturel approach and great tips. Pirouette which is a kind of lifestyle blog. And this last one called Mylittleday is not a blog but a great site I use when I organise a birthday for my son Elias! I love it.