Journal with Margie Riddiford

Journal with Margie Riddiford

by Kirsty Beetl 16 February 2023

Kia Ora

What is your child’s name, how old?

My daughter’s name is Vera, she is 18 months old

Tell us a bit about your first year of motherhood

I was saying to someone the other day that I wish I had written more things down from that first year. I feel like I have forgotten so many of the specifics! But what I would say about that first year was that it brought up so many overwhelming feelings. It was simultaneously the most special and most challenging year of my life — and not because of the sleepless nights or the feeding or any of that — but more for the way that having a baby forces you to not only reconsider who you are but to think beyond yourself. It also forces you to consider the world in a completely different way. Sometimes it felt really heavy. Sometimes it felt totally joyful. But from the day she was born it has always felt like a privilege. The first year is such a blur (cliche, but true), so I would say to any new mum to write notes about the little moments that feel maybe insignificant at the time, but are so precious to look back on. And to not get caught up in the small stuff because in the long run it really doesn’t matter. It is a transformative time, for everyone.

What is a current ritual or favourite activity that you do with Vera?

Every weekend we go out for breakfast together to Orphans Kitchen and then got for a long walk, or if it’s Sunday we go to the farmers’ markets together. Just wandering around with her, particularly when the weather is nice, is such a lovely thing to do.

Tell us what Vera’s favourite activity is

Either running around the dog park with her dad and our dog Winston, or going for swims in a pool or at the beach. She adores water. (So much so that if I’m not watching her she’ll plonk herself in the ocean fully clothed.) 

Tell us what Vera’s favourite food is

Right now, boiled eggs, berries and stone fruit. But that tends to change monthly.

What’s your night time ritual with bath time and getting Vera to bed?

We do dinner time early, followed by a bath or shower with me or my husband (sometimes she and her dad take a bath together in our outdoor bath), then some nappy off time to run around and get all her energy out. It’s a bit risky but she loves having nudie time. And then I try to give her a little massage with essential oils and our favourite, favourite BEETL baby cream to start calming her down for bed.

How and when do you use the BEETL baby cream?

We use it at night, after the bath and just before PJs and bed. It has been so so good for her skin, and I feel really grateful to have it going into summer with all the sun and salt-water etc. her little body will be dealing with. Now we have a ritual where I put some on my hands and some on her hands and we rub it on together. She loves the feel of it.

What are some of yours and hers favourite books? Music?

At the moment it is definitely Madeline, The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? She is so engrossed by her books, it’s really lovely to get lost in them with her.

It’s actually quite nostalgic for me, as a lot of what she reads and loves are what I read and loved as a wee one too. Every morning we play music while making breakfast and I from what I can tell from her dance moves she is loving Fleetwood Mac, Harry Styles, and a number of classic 80s dance hits at the moment. (A girl after my own heart.)

We love how you dress Vera in vintage finds, it very much reflects your style.

Can you tell us a little bit how you find these special pieces? What is important to you with teaching Vera about pre-loved. 

I stumbled upon this Instagram account early on @jineu_studio who is a lovely woman based in Perth who always has such a good selection of vintage baby Oshkosh and Levi’s jeans and baby New Balance shoes. So I have bought quite a few things from her which I love. I also often look to the likes of Neighbourhood Goods, which has a really good selection. There’s something about vintage baby clothes that the new ones just don’t quite match up to. That said, I have also had a few wee pieces made for Vera by local designers. Some baby-sized Pecchenino pants (by a friend Francesca Pecchenino) and some pieces from Tiny Dancer in Wellington (everything is made to order). I think I just want to instill in Vera a real appreciation for clothes in the sense that they aren’t just THINGS to hoard and ruin and throw out and buy more of. That they are actually pieces you can treasure and re-use and keep. I will store all of Vera’s vintage pieces for our next baby and then for her if/when she wants babies of her own.

What’s the one key value you would like to instill in Vera?

I think respect. Respect for herself, of course, and for others. But also, respect for her circumstances and an understanding of the responsibility that comes with privilege. Also, respect for the world around her — to care for things outside herself.

What’s the best piece of motherhood advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. I think it’s easy to get caught up in all the dialogue around routines and sleep and types of play and all the daily things that people on Instagram would have you believe you’re doing wrong. But when I’m feeling overwhelmed I just take it back to basics and it’s such a relief. Is she fed? Is she warm? Is she happy? Is she loved?

With protection and love,

Kirsty Coates

BEETL Founder