Born and raised in Antwerp, currently living in Geneva and always dreaming of New York, Stephanie Duval is a multi-tasker woman. She is a freelance journalist and photographer for various Belgian and international publications (Elle, L'Officiel, B Magazine, Kwintessens…). Stephanie is also a branding and content consultant for several fashion, design, lifestyle and travel companies. Her blog 70percentpure won in 201 the first prize in the personal blog category during the belgian weekend blog awards. She is the mother of Juliet, six months old and she is the JOSEFINA of October!
How did your motherhood change your lifestyle? How did
you manage to balance it with work, couple and social life?
It changed at the same time nothing and everything. I try to stay as true to myself as possible, because I don't want to become one of those moms who wake up one day and realize that's all they are. I think it's important for me to keep doing the things I love, like traveling and going out to dinner with my husband and friends. I read somewhere that the Parisian way of doing it is to not make your kid the center of your universe, but to have them be a satellite. I love that idea. I try to involve Juliet in every part of my life, but of course sometimes I need to adjust, too. It's hard finding that balance between love, work and play, and I'm still working on it. I'll probably always continue to work on it.
What are your favorite things
about being a mother?
That feeling of unconditional love that suddenly overwhelms me at times. The moment when I come into her room to take her out of her crib and her entire face lights up with a smile just for me. Introducing her to the things in life that we find important, and seeing how she takes it all in and learns so much every day. Having her lie between us in the big bed, or sit in my lap on the sofa – just to have her close fills me with joy.
How did you manage your body changes since the
beginning of your pregnancy?
To be honest – I didn't manage anything. I think I coped with the pregnancy just fine – I loved my body pregnant: that big round belly from which she kicked me all day long. I had to closely watch what I was
eating because I was not resistant to toxoplasmosis, and I really missed wine and some of my favorite dishes that were suddenly off limits, so I felt like I could cut myself some slack whenever I felt like eating anything that I was allowed to. I gained quite a lot of weight, but it didn't bother me at the time.
It did come as a shock to me what giving birth does to your body – so much more than the pregnancy. I literally could barely walk or sit for a couple of weeks, and I felt utterly miserable in my own skin. I still need to lose a few pounds and I'm still coming to terms with my new body. It's like it has served its purpose, and now it suddenly feels a bit worthless. I know that's not true and it's as much of a mindset-issue as the fact that I need to get my lazy ass off the couch and get into some running sneakers, but I also feel like it's a process that will take quite some time.
What is your beauty & sport routine?
So unfortunately, not much of a sport routine yet – but I'm working on it. As for beauty, I try to just take care of myself, eat healthily as often as possible, drink water, and sleep long, looooong nights. I was so happy when Juliet started doing 12-hour nights – it literally changed everything.
Your favorite spots to eat/drink in town?
There's not much around Begnins in terms of eating and drinking, but I love the Birdie coffeeshop ( http://www.birdiecoffee.com ) in the
Plainpalais neighborhood in Geneva. We used to go to Luigia ( http://www.luigia.com ) in Geneva for pizza quite often, and they have recently opened up a location in Nyon, which is close to where we live now, so I'm looking forward to pick up that habit again. In my hometown Antwerp, I love to go for coffee at Kolonel Koffie ( http://www.kolonelkoffie.be ), and I adore the private dinner club Klein ( http://www.klein.agency ).
What does your Josefina contain? Do you have any
tips for mums to make the best use of theirs Josefina?
It holds all of Juliet's essentials, really. There's a neat little space for everything: from pacifiers and bottles to diapers. I love the print on our changing mat from Cam Cam ( http://www.camcam.dk ), and I always pack an extra outfit (currently loving everything from Gro ( http://www.gro.dk ) and Marmar ( http://www.marmar.dk )). I also love that there's two places for larger bottles on either side of the bag: I keep a thermos with hot water in one and a bottle of Evian in the other. I like to make a mix of both to make Juliet's bottle, so that I'm not dependent on finding a microwave to heat water. That's basically the only life hack I have right now for new moms, but I'm always on the lookout for new tips 🙂
Is there any mom's that inspires you? If so, who
So many moms on Instagram inspire me. It would take too long to name them all, but suffice it to say that I adore everyone I follow. So many of them commented on the pictures I shared of Juliet in the beginning, when she was having a hard time due to a milk allergy. It was a tough time for me, too, and I got so much support from the Instagram community. In 'real life' there are a lot of women in my environment who are entrepreneurs and women who work hard to find that balance between their families and their careers. They inspire me to no end.