We talk to Phoebe Ghorayeb about keeping a light footprint with a growing family
Phoebe, thank you for chatting with us today! You’re a mother, model, writer and passionate home chef - we just love this mix of talents and credentials! Can you tell us, after a year of lockdowns in Sydney, what are you most looking forward to this summer?
Sadly lockdown meant a lot of time away from family, so this summer will be spent soaking up as much family time as possible. My mum is flying in from the UK in just a few days and I’m so excited! It’s been over 2 years since I last saw her. We recently used Christmas day to announce our newest little arrival - it was a perfect way to see out the end of lockdown and begin 2022 with some very positive and happy news.
Many of us now understand that our planet needs us to take action and reduce our footprint if we are to survive long-term. Shopping is unavoidable with a growing family - what are some shopping tricks you use to keep your footprint light?
This is something I’m really conscious of - especially now that I have another baby on the way. Firstly, I’m a big fan of hand-me-downs, and I imagine this third baby won’t own anything new for a very long time! I try not to buy anything on a whim and only buy what we need. When it comes to birthdays and Christmas, I tell our family exactly what to buy the kids so there are no unnecessary purchases and unloved toys lying around the house. I’ve also signed up to our local Bondi Toy Library, which is such a great concept. You buy a year-long membership which gives you access to heaps of toys, which you can borrow for up to 4 weeks. It means the toy basket is always getting a refresh and I’m not contributing to the purchase and disposal of more plastic toys.
You are a passionate home chef who loves to cook for your family - do you have any food related tips for living more sustainably?
It all starts with the shopping. I always make sure I have a list before heading into the abyss of the supermarket. This way I don’t end up buying items that I ultimately never use. I try to make meals that I can freeze too (like schnitzel, bolognaise sauce and turkey burgers) and make them in bulk so we’re (mostly) never out of food. This then stops us turning to takeaway or fast food when we need a quick dinner. Finally, when I see any vegetables in the fridge that are starting to turn bad, I’ll use them to make a roast or stir fry so they don’t go to waste. Some of these more random meals have been better than others, but at least I try to always live waste free.
What key qualities do you look for when shopping for your family for clothes and other household items?
The first question I ask myself is: do we really need it? If the answer is no, then I don’t buy it. As a Virgo, I can be annoyingly indecisive and I like to weigh up ALL the options before committing to any purchase. The positive to this is that I rarely make irrational and unthoughtful decisions. My husband Georges and I are very houseproud, so when it comes to household purchases we like to buy good quality pieces that stand the test of time. We have been known to hold onto things until they are literally falling apart! We also choose to buy from smaller, local business where we can – and this goes for clothes as well. Of course, I do buy from larger, more commercial stores but I try to balance it out where I can and keep those purchases to a minimum.
You have recently built a stunning new home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches - what are you most looking forward to about living in your new space?
SPACE! Having space! I feel like every time I turn around there’s a child, a toy, a husband or my shadow in the way. Bondi has been a wonderful place to begin family life but I can’t wait to create new memories in a home that we have built from scratch.
How do you try to teach your young girls, Valentina (3) and Siddy (2), to waste less and be mindful of our planet?
I talk to them - very subtly given their ages - about not wasting food. For example, if they ask for more food, I will always ask that they finish what’s on their plate first so we don’t waste anything. Or if they ask for toys and clothes, I explain that we don’t just buy things all the time, we wait for a special occasion and decide if we still need or want it then. Given they are still young, I’m taking the approach of “planting the seed” at this point, and hoping the messages and understanding will grow with age.
What family traditions have you and your husband Georges created for living a happy and healthy home life?
Sometimes life gets hectic and gets in the way, but for the most part we focus on simple things like always sitting down together at dinner, and reading as a family before bedtime. These are perfect little traditions for now, and I know that as our family grows and evolves we’ll create new traditions. For me, what it really comes down to is showing love for each other always, and keeping communication open. I really believe this creates a happy and healthy mind and spirit, which is the most important thing at any age of life.
And finally, do you have a favourite recipe that you think is a “must” for this summer?
This summer has been all about the homemade ice lollies! They are super quick and easy and you can make a huge batch to last a few weeks. Blend the following ingredients in a blender, pop them into an ice lolly mould and wait (as patiently as possible) until they set in the freezer: one frozen banana, one avocado, one cup spinach, 2 tablespoons chia seeds, half a cup coconut milk, one and a half cups coconut water, a touch of honey for sweetness. A simple and delicious summer treat!
PS – we’re releasing a very special greeting card in April 2022 in collaboration with Phoebe Ghorayeb. It’s a card for celebrating mammas on Mother’s Day but ALSO can be gifted to the wonderful women in your life at any time of the year. Why? Because we want to celebrate a world where women lift each other up 365 days a year!