Zoe chats with illustrator Anieszka Banks about being a mum, a creative, and what takeaways she'll keep with her from the lock down.

You can see Anieszka's beautiful illustrations on her website here

Zoe: I admire you as a talented, funny, loving human so when you said you were having twins, I remember dropping to my knees and crying in the City Works Depot car park! How has the last year been for you as a mum, and a creative, intelligent, instinctual woman?

I remember that phone call very clearly, I was so excited to tell you because I knew you would have a reaction like you did - one of pure joy and happiness for us! The last year has been the biggest range of emotions I think I’ve ever encountered and the wildest ride I’ve ever been on! I didn’t think it was possible to love two small things as much as I do. The day they were born and for about three days after my chest physically hurt because my heart was aching so much, I thought it was actually going to burst with love. I felt so overwhelmed with happiness I could barely sleep, which was lucky as it turns out babies don’t really sleep, so we were all up together...

As a mum - this last year has been full of lessons, the twins have been teaching me how to be a mum, how to be patient, slow, mindful, present, kind and playful again.

As a creative - this has been really interesting as having small babies means you spend 98% of the time talking to yourself with no replies, so I’ve learnt a lot about what I point out to them. Since having them my senses have sharpened, colours are brighter, smells stronger, sounds louder and tastes are better! I notice more than I used to because I am taking my time, living at their pace, their height and much more in the moment. So creatively this has been amazing as I can spend days pointing out things I find beautiful and watching them enjoy them too.

As an intelligent instinctual woman - thank you for this! Despite reading every book, blog, article under the sun about babies and twins before they came - I actually ended throwing it all out of the window and just parenting from my heart and letting them teach me about who they were and what they wanted in life and going from there. This worked better for me as with twins you have no time or hands free to google anything anyway.

Zoe: I have many fond memories of your time at Zoe and Morgan, but I'm so proud of you, as an independent mama, and also how far you've come with your illustration work. What is your main focus for 2020, don't tell me gluten free pizza! I know you have amazing things you dedicate your time to.

Thank you Zo, that is so kind of you. I have so many fond memories as well. A lot of them involve laughter, and dancing in the shop. I feel exactly the same about you with your life as a mama and the business. The way you have always balanced work and family, routine and spontaneity, dedication and playfulness has always been so inspiring to me. These are definitely things I try to implement in our lives too. I think the main focus for 2020 is to continue to take each day as it comes, for the first time in my life I’ve stopped trying to plan every single part of the future and I’m finally feeling content with the pace of right now. So the focus is to continue to be present and to find joy in the crazy adventure of having two babies at once. Each day is different as they are learning and growing so fast, and it’s really beautiful to watch and be a part of. It’s completely bonkers, but beautiful at the same. I’m especially enjoying my illustration work since becoming a mama, as I feel inspired by so many more things around me! I would like to hire a baby magician to teach my babies to nap at the same time so I can work more on some of the million creative ideas and amazing projects that have been coming in.

Zoe: Having this 'break' over the lock down has really focused my personal priorities. I'm not just a mum; I'm a cook, a thinker, a daughter, a sister.  I 'm loving having a sense of time in my day. To be free and to exercise, it fills my well with creativity. What are the key takeaways from lock down that you will carry with you?

I think the key takeaway that I will carry with me is a huge sense of gratitude. We are lucky enough to live a few doors down from a beautiful beach on the west coast, and having small babies who find napping a bit of a joke, I do a huge amount of walking. Each day I feel overwhelmed by the beauty of where we live, how lucky we are to be safe, healthy and in a country that is being run by such an intelligent compassionate woman. The other thing I will takeaway is laughter, my partner Oscar doesn’t take many things seriously if he doesn’t have to, so we laugh a lot. Having twins this is probably essential or you’d go completely mad pretty quickly. So I have been grateful for this time with him, and for us as a family to be able to adventure around our surroundings and have a lot of fun. I’ve discovered that I love routine if it means my children will sleep at night, and I am really good at making all of the animal noises from Old Macdonalds Farm. Also you won’t believe this but I’ve actually gotten quite good at baking bread. I am still absolutely terrible at any other kind of baking. Although the twins don’t seem to mind, so far they seem to think I’m good at all the things I’m actually terrible at, baking, singing, dancing...