Jo wears the Pru dress
Photographs by Clare Murthy Photography

Funnily enough I met Jo as I was leaving a receptionist position as she was just beginning, we instantly clicked and formed a friendship from there. Jo is the perfect example of someone who is truly beautiful, inside and out, always caring and has the sweetest, genuine nature.

Jo, originally from England met her husband here in Australia and after living here for a while has recently moved back to England with her husband, Greg and beautiful daughter, Matilda. If you thought an overseas move was enough to juggle, they are expecting their second child in December, are in the midst of renovations and have just started up Tilly + Cub which specialises in fair trade, handmade eco-friendly Moses and homewares baskets as well as bespoke baby bedding. What they have achieved in a short time is incredible, I cannot speak highly enough of this lovely lady. Read on to hear how this Mum balances it all.


 Tell us about Tilly and Cub?

 Named after my Daughter {Matilda} + my Bump {due later this year}, Tilly + Cub is my third baby. We sell hand woven, fair trade, natural fibre Moses, Changing + Homeware Baskets, along with some gorgeous little baby products. 5% of Sales from our Baskets go to supporting various Charitable causes. I love that by supporting fair trade and being able to donate to Charity I am simultaneously able to bring beautifully crafted pieces to our customers.

 How on earth do you balance family life, pregnancy and a business?

It's certainly a juggle. Being new to this business, it's been about learning as I go. My daughter Matilda, is at home with me full time (and not one for lengthy predictable naps!). She likes to get involved in whatever I'm doing so I try and find her jobs like sticking labels on parcels or counting boxes. Some days we make a great little team- other days it's mostly down to iPad bribery and staying up to the wee hours. Being pregnant again, I do attempt to find time in every day to focus on rest and this babies' needs. My husband is incredibly supportive, and picks up a lot of the slack in the evenings like the cooking whilst I'm packing boxes or updating our site. As I said-I'm still learning and hope to fine tune the balance as I go.


Some of the beautiful baskets available through Tilly + Cub

Why the baskets?

I just fell in love with a colourful Moses Basket the moment I saw one. I had borrowed a Bassinet for Matilda, so decided it was something special I could buy for Cub. I struggled to find anywhere to purchase one and that set the wheels in motion! 

Once I learnt the story behind the baskets, I feel in love all over again and knew I had to share them.

 What is the story behind the baskets? 

The baskets are handwoven in Ghana by talented artisans. The motto of the group we work with is "trade not aid". Empowering people by paying them fairly, supporting traditional craftsmanship and creating something not just beautiful and unique but sustainable and ecofriendly.

 What is the best thing about being a Mother?

 The love, it's a cliche but it's true. The absolute boundless, all encompassing love you can feel for a child is beyond words. I love watching her grow and learn, she teaches me all the time. And makes me so very proud.

Jo wears the Pru dress

What was the biggest surprise about becoming a Mother?

Besides the boundless love; How hard it is!! I was utterly naive whilst pregnant, which is possibly a good thing. It's amazing yes, but it can also be really really hard, and I don't think that's something people necessarily feel able to talk openly about. 

How little sleep a human can survive on was also something of a surprise of Motherhood!

 I hear you re the sleep!! Any advice on running a business and being a Mother?

Whilst I'm no expert, these are a few concepts I find helpful. 

Do what you love, and stay true to why you started.

 Do what works for you- don't compare yourself to anyone else, what works for one family may not suit yours.

 Don't rush- Tilly + Cub has evolved Organically because the time was right, there was no way I could've been doing this two years ago. Chances are our generation will be working for 40+ more years, and our children are young for such a short time. I believe Women and Mothers can do anything, but no person can do every single thing, and attempting to tick ALL the boxes generally means you don't enjoy any of it. I really believe you'll never look back on your life and think you spent too much time with your Children.

 Identify your personal values- both in business and for yourself and your family, and go from there.

 Oh and cut yourself some slack- you won't get it right all the time- you're trying your best!

Jo wears the Pru dress

How would you describe your style?

Haha it depends on the given moment! When it's Matilda, my dogs and I walking through the woods or packing orders it'd be disheveled mum bun sporting scruff bag {or perhaps eccentric earth mother if we are being generous}. But it's a real treat when I do get to get dressed up, and I'm really enjoying dressing with a bump at the moment.

 Has it changed since becoming a Mother?

 Motherhood involves compromise in a lot of areas- and style to some extent is one of those. Tight skinny jeans at the playground just aren't going to work. Adapting clothes around breastfeeding took me a long time to progress beyond the BONDS feeding singlet, I hope this time I will be a lot more confident dressing in feeding friendly clothes which still make me feel good. I would say I'm far more confident in my style now, the opinion of others matters far less than it once did. And when I do get a rare opportunity to wear something special and  my daughter says "ooh mummy your dress SO pretty", that's all I need.

Have you had time for some nesting before Cub arrives?

 The nesting instinct has certainly kicked in recently. Having previously had a premmie, it's very much in the back of my mind that I need to be organised just in case. I have really enjoyed going through Matilda's baby clothes and getting them ready for Cub. And I have discovered some incredible baby brands through Instagram, a few recent favourites are @love_roo,, @rockyracoonapparel, @sarahbendrixkids and @velventeen_babies

What are your hospital bag must haves?

You know what? I have never packed a Hospital bag! My husband was able to rush home from our local hospital whilst we were waiting for the ambulance to transfer us to a bigger hospital. He was in such a panic he packed my entire make up bag but no toiletries, and my nice undies and bras I'd not fitted since falling pregnant. No baby stuff and no pjs! So I am a little clueless!

Jo wear the Clara blouse (coming soon)

Who do you admire?

Whilst there are people in the public eye I definitely do admire, for example Katie Piper @katiepiper_ {burns survivor, Business woman, Philantropist and Mother}, Brene Brown @brenebrown {researcher}, and Brooke McCalry @brookemcalary {creator of the Slow Home Podcast} I find things I admire in almost everyone I get to know-and definitely a new found admiration for Mothers {including my own, my grandmother and sister}. Everyone has a story and usually has been through more than anyone could imagine by just looking at them. Some of the people I was fortunate to get to know whilst living in Australia became women I really looked up to. They have navigated adversity such as grief, loss and serious illness, all with a positive outlook and time for others. They're heroes in my eyes. My husband also has so many qualities I admire- he is endlessly patient and generous, he's pretty much the best human I know. 

Your husband is from Australia, do you have plans to divide up your time between the two as your children get older?

My heart very much in both places. Whilst England is where my Family are, Australia is where I fell in love and my daughter was born. Australia is such a beautiful country and I really miss it, but I have appreciated England with a fresh perspective since moving home. We will always spend time in both places, how this is balanced will certainly depend on our stage in life. I do wish the two weren't so far apart!

 Describe a typical day for you and where you find time for Tilly and Cub

My Daughter is a dedicated early riser so it starts far sooner than I am ever ready for. I try and get messages read and replied to and orders processed first thing. I love hearing from prospective parents and helping them choose their Basket. Or if there's a photo in my inbox of their new arrival that just makes my day! There's usually a lot of wrapping ourselves in fragile tape, trips to the post office and waiting for couriers.  Instagram is a big part of the business, and fortunately I love it- it's a great community and lots of women in a similar position at home with littles trying to get things done!

Jo wears the Clara blouse (coming soon)

What's your mantra?

Ooh I'm the catch phrase queen {it's one of the reasons I love our Letterboards}. 

 "I am enough" in a world of ambition and a message of more, it's so important to remind ourselves that right here, in this moment we are enough. We don't need to be thinner, richer, smarter or better.

 "Where you invest your love, you invest your life." I love Mumford and Sons and this is just so true. For me it particularly feels relevant both in business {love what you do and it wont feel like work} and with your family {spending time with them takes precedence to me above anything else}.

 "There is no way to be a perfect mother but a million ways to be a great one."

 "If you're worrying about being a good enough Parent, you already are one."


If you are in Europe, please check out Jo's gorgeous store




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