Zoe chats with the wonderful Vai, a loyal Z&M customer and dear friend. We have been with Vai along her journey through some of her most memorable moments. We chatted to her to hear about her joys of motherhood...

Zoë: Vai this is the first time I have interviewed a customer, who I think of as a friend. I still remember the day you first walked into our shop and since then I have made your engagement and wedding rings, and now we are developing some pieces to celebrate the birth of your boys. Tell me what attracts you to jewellery, as I feel like each piece has represented a moment in your life?

Every person who’s been around me knows that I have an obsession for precious things and that diamonds are the top of my list. I am fascinated by the natural process of gemstones and I see it as a true gift from Earth. But I am also a symbolic person, I like that the things that I own have a special meaning that reminds me of someone or something special in my life.

My second favourite moment of the day is when I choose which jewellery I am going to wear (my favourite moment being when I see my baby boys) For me, there is no better way to start my day than being reminded of a moment I cherish. It may be the bracelet I was wearing when I met my husband, the necklace I bought when I found out I was pregnant or the earrings I chose for my wedding.

It’s also nice to be reminded of tougher days, like a loss of someone to keep that person close to my heart. I see my jewellery like a photo album of my emotions and dearest memories and I will pass them on to my sons (or their wives) one day.

When I met you Zoe, I felt that we were connected in that way – you create art and meaning. There is a strong story behind each of your collections and it’s beautifully reflected in your design. I love that Niels goes to you and the team when he wants to surprise me and you always know which piece is perfect for me. Over the years, we have built a special connection from when you were Niels’ partner in crime for his wedding proposal, to listening to my rant about pregnancy sickness and now we are designing my birth rings together! Every time I enter your shop, I share a moment of my life, a new job, or I bring a family member and this is engraved in the jewellery I take home. I feel lucky to have you when being far away from my country and my roots.

Zoë: Being a mum is reliving your own childhood sometimes, do you agree? I love to do things with my children that I celebrated myself as a child, and there’s a joy in that. Please share what traditions you did in your family as you have had an interesting life!

I do agree with you Zoe that part of being a Mum is to share with my kids the best traditions of my childhood and I like to take a little bit from every culture I’ve been exposed to. As you know, I am French on paper but I am more a citizen of the world. It’s always a long story to answer the question 'where are you from?' as I don’t know where to start! I am French and I married a half German – half Belgian guy that I met in Mexico, and we now live in New Zealand after living in Slovenia and France. I was born in Morocco and grew up on a small island near Madagascar. When I was a teenager, my family and I moved to Cameroon in Africa after a couple of years in Guadeloupe. My mum is from New Caledonia and one of my grandmothers is Kabyle, a Berber group from the mountains of Algeria. So yes, I could go on for days to answer that question!

Firstly, we talk 3 languages at home and spend a ridiculous amount of time to make sure that it comes naturally to the kids – lots of songs, games, skypes with the family overseas to keep the vocabulary as rich as possible. Our traditions are reflected in our kitchen through my husband and I’s favourite dishes from our childhood. If you come to my house, you can eat Kefta meatballs from Morocco with fresh German beers and Eclairs au Chocolat as a dessert.

My favourite thing is to gather the family for a crepe night! As a little girl with 3 brothers, I was always the one in charge to make the crepes and the pressure was high as they had to be as thin as possible! I really enjoyed making dozens of them and having my brothers around trying to sneak in and steal one! And then a big mess on the table with the chocolate sauce, sugar and lemon, maple syrups, dirty spoons on the table and the smell of melted butter. These are great memories and I make sure we have lots of these in my house.

More simply, I am happy with a lovely breakfast in the bed with croissants and hot chocolate!

Sometimes, my husband and I don’t agree on the traditions – I celebrate Christmas on the 24th and he does on the 25th so we just do both! More fun!

Zoë: How has the experience of having a beautiful new baby been during the lock down? 

Having a baby during the lockdown has been a challenge but what a rewarding experience! It has been totally different to anything I could have imagined; there has been days of frustration and exhaustion having to look after 2 children with different needs and developmental stages without any outside activities or social interaction. But like many people, it has forced me to focus on my family and to go back to the basics. I found myself spending more quality time with my baby than my first time and paying more attention to every moment as I am going out a lot less. This is precious and having my husband at home with us for the first 2 months of his life has been a true gift. I just miss my friends deeply but we make sure to keep in touch as much as possible.