AT HOME WITH BONNIE LEE MOONEY IN NEWCASTLE
Allow us to introduce you to one of the most joyful, radiant and driven women we know — Bonnie Lee Mooney. With one very impressive portfolio — both personally and professionally — it’s near impossible to sum her and her accolades up within a simple sentence. She’s a make-up artist, beauty therapist, founder of skincare brand MBL Beauty, an aspiring artist and, last but certainly not least, a mother-of-two.
The Newcastle-based creative has spent the last couple of months in self-isolation with her husband and two children Morna, 5, and Chilli, 2, and while she admits there were some challenging days, Mooney — in true form —turned this unfamiliar time into a positive by embracing the slower pace and ensuring she made the most of every single day they had at home together as a family. Here’s how she did it.
Where do you live?
“Our little family is tucked away in Potter’s Lane — a little place of peace in between Port Stephens and Newcastle. When the notions of life are moving, it’s the perfect balance between the busier lifestyle of Newcastle yet oh so close to our forever home, Anna Bay.”
What’s the thing you love most about spending more time at home?
“The most magical thing about having more time to spend at home is just that; having ‘time’. Our days were always filled with places to be and things to do, but slowing down has been incredibly revitalising for us individually and as a family. Morna had only just started kindergarten this year so I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy having his beautiful self at home with little Chilli and I for just that little bit longer! We cook, paint, skate (no, not me) and cook some more. It has honestly been so beautiful to have these moments all together and the opportunity to soak it all up.”
“THE MOST MAGICAL THING ABOUT HAVING MORE TIME TO SPEND AT HOME IS JUST THAT — HAVING ‘TIME’. OUR DAYS WERE ALWAYS FILLED WITH PLACES TO BE AND THINGS TO DO, BUT SLOWING DOWN HAS BEEN INCREDIBLY REVITALISING FOR US INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A FAMILY.”
What’s the thing you miss the most?
“I miss wandering aimlessly through my favourite places, brushing shoulders with strangers in my most loved stores. I miss sitting in bustling cafes innocently smelling the aroma of my fellow cafe-lover’s brew and I truly miss being able to practice my art of beauty. As a makeup artist and beauty therapist my world has been completely shut down. I feel like my hands have literally been tied behind my back — which I guess they kind of have — so I am dying to get back into pouring myself into others.”
What three items in your home bring you the most joy?
“Let’s take the babes out of this question, ‘cause lets’ be honest, us mammas know that with all their joy comes a hella lot of craziness! So, the three items that bring me the most joy would have to be my easel, our book (and tequila) collection and an incredible print I have from my beautiful friend Teresa of Muse Photography of Dan and I. Every time I see it I fall even more in love with him — I am a hopeless romantic, and he, not so much!”
What outfits do you currently have on rotation?
“It is such an unusual time with the seasons changing so my day time trends are still made up of summer vibes with easy linen throw-ons paired with my oversized denim jacket. And in the cooler afternoons I am living in my Bassike Motley sweat with black acid wash jeans. Once that sky starts to fall it is straight into my Deiji pyjamas — any excuse to get back into those bad boys and tucked into bed.”
What self-care routines are keeping your happy and sane right now?
“Fortunately for me, MBL Beauty keeps my self-care pieces intact. We have been working on so many new products for the body range so I have really been able to delve into different practices that are out of my usual self-care routines.
A lot of my personal self-care routines are usually made up meditating, mindfulness and of course my daily MBL Skin Sequence, but with the introduction of body products I am guilty of laying in these baths with a locked door for a little longer than usual. At about 4pm everyday we pop our candle on and start to slow down. I love this ritual in our home, it’s a beautiful transition for the kids as they start to unwind for the day.”
“FORTUNATELY FOR ME, MBL BEAUTY KEEPS MY SELF-CARE PIECES INTACT. WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON SO MANY NEW PRODUCTS FOR THE BODY RANGE SO I HAVE REALLY BEEN ABLE TO DELVE INTO DIFFERENT PRACTICES THAT ARE OUT OF MY USUAL SELF-CARE ROUTINES.”
How are you keeping active in self-isolation?
“Does walking to the fridge count as keeping active? If so, then I am nailing the isolation exercise game. To be honest, it has been quite hard to stick to my usual routine as heading to the gym was my ‘me’ time. Fortunately, the kids love to get out and about so walking has certainly become our new norm. We like to head to the sand dunes in Anna Bay and run wild along the shoreline. The salty air is so damn good for the soul and the candy-coloured skies at sunset have us feeling like we are part of a whole new world.”
What are you currently reading, watching and listing to?
“Reading: Killing Floor by Lee Child. My inner nerd is absolutely thriving during this time. Reading has always been a real escape for me. Although I would love to be delving into self-help/business books, I find it really hard to switch out of work so reading genres that take me on crazy adventures is extremely euphoric.
Watching: Queen of the South. OBSESSED.
Listening: Norah Jones and Maggie Rogers. The soulful jazzed-up sounds of Jones mixed with Rogers’ pop-folk vibes is my ultimate day time groove. It literally makes me dance around the house, keeping me motivated for the household tasks, home schooling and my daily work checklist — plus, it is the perfect accompaniment to that sunset vino on the deck!”
“WE LIKE TO HEAD TO THE SAND DUNES IN ANNA BAY AND RUN WILD ALONG THE SHORELINE. THE SALTY AIR IS SO DAMN GOOD FOR THE SOUL AND THE CANDY-COLOURED SKIES AT SUNSET HAVE US FEELING LIKE WE ARE PART OF A WHOLE NEW WORLD.”
What are your top tips for working effectively from home?
1. Get up early and get at it.
Try to sneak in a little meditation and get any extra household things ticked off before the babes wake up. You’ll start your day with a clean slate and feel on top of things before you even begin!
2. Choose your work time wisely.
There is no point trying to get things done while you have little fingers and toes running around your feet. Allocate your time accordingly to your little one’s schedules (even if it means getting up a little earlier or staying up a little later) so that you can work guilt free knowing that you have had uninterrupted (and unforgettable) times with the ones who mean the most.
3. Get comfy and get organised.
Call me a rule-breaker or call me genius, you decide — but don’t just get dressed-up for the sake of it! I work SO much better when I am head to toes in my lounge wear. Make a list. I like to add everything on there because it feels so damn good when you cross something off. I am a sucker for a good list!
4. Relax, reflect and remember why you started.
Try and take a little time out to enjoy what you have created. I have really been able to reflect on the core values of MBL Beauty while I have been at home and it has been incredible to have the time to stop and take it all in. Creating is my ultimate passion and to have the opportunity to align that with my career is pretty amazing.
What activities are topping your post-COVID-19 bucket list?
“I honestly can’t wait to go out for dinner and for small little weekends away! We have had to cancel two international trips due to Covid-19 so while the beat was unbearable, I know we will make up for it over the course of the next year or so. I have never wanted to travel more within Australia than I do now! Give me old coastal highways, bars in country towns and new faces and places for us to call home for a day or two.”
What are your top three tips for keeping your kids happy, active and entertained?
1. Run wild like your inner child.
Just get amongst it. Get involved in whatever they feel like doing. It is so much more fun when you get down to their level and see the excitement for an activity like they do! Let your inner child run wild.
2. Do the exercise first!
If you get the chance to get the exercise out of the way it leaves you with two things; natural endorphins to get you through the rest of the day and, most importantly, worn out children. The nagging to go outside might stop (for at least a half an hour) and maybe, just they’ll be content for a little bit when they’re hanging out inside.
3. Let them get involved
It is so easy (and understandable) to want to do things alone, but when we are all stuck in the one place with no school and no help it isn’t always that easy. I have loved getting the babes involved in most things I am doing; the cooking, cleaning, painting, planting and taking extra-long baths. I will re-run that hot water if they are happy playing in there! Water therapy works wonders and can change their mentality completely — and who doesn’t love laying in the bath until you’re all wrinkly?!”