Starting your environmentally friendly lifestyle today? Shelly Kolo is here to teach you how.

Environment Gratitude Interview

Here at Babylon Grey, we are environmentally conscious. You may already know, we only use 100% recycled paper for our wrapping paper and natural jute for our strings. We are mindful that our choice of packaging materials are less harmful to our environment, and are recyclable too.

Another thing you may know about us, is that we are a big fan of our Mother Nature (but really how can you not be?). We believe when you truly love the planet, you’ll find beauty at every corner. Think about the tree providing us shade on the sidewalk or the wildflowers providing colours to our lives.

Similarly, we also find it heartwarming to connect with likeminded souls who prioritise taking care of our planet. We don’t know if the universe has brought Babylon Grey and other nature lovers together by fate, or are the microphones in our phones actually listening to our conversations. Either way, in this digital era where we need to be carefully not to let social media consume our lives, we find the silver lining to meet inspiring souls online.

Shelly is mum of two and is passionate about photography. She loves Instagram, a paradise of mostly beautiful and meaningful images. We at Babylon Grey are thankful to have connected with Shelly through social media and get to know her better. We share our love for our planet, our passion for natural self care and most importantly encouraging each other miles apart with our believes in kindness.

We think you’ll love Shelly and her choice of lifestyle as much as we do, so read on and see if she’ll inspire you too!

Shelly, tell us about the lifestyle you and your family have chosen to live and how did an eco-friendly household come about?

My husband is an Eco Builder. He did Engineering & Ecology at University because of his interest in the environment. Learning from him over the years was certainly the turning point for me in wanting to make changes in our lifestyle. 

Then becoming a mum changed things too. I think I am more eco than he is at this point! I want a sustainable planet for my kids. We certainly aren’t perfect, but we are improving everyday and most importantly, educating our girls about how to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

We think it is inspiring how a mum of two can still finds time to study Speech Pathology! How do you manage your day and find time to nourish yourself?

Starting study again with 2 little honeys and a household to run is certainly keeping me on my toes. I have wanted this for a really long time, so you just make it work.

Multi-tasking, prioritising and working hard for shorter time slots seems to be working so far. My house isn’t as spotless as it used to be, but that’s ok. I am a big believer, that to care for my family I need to care for myself too. I take yoga classes where possible, love my beach walks. The bath is my down time.. I make sure its perfectly relaxing, and it’s the one place I’m forced to stop for a moment. I also try to stick to a healthy diet and really love my time with family and friends to reset.

Speaking of nourishing yourself, what does a perfect Shelly day look like?

It involves the outdoors! Maybe a walk or hike or a swim in the ocean. Beautiful company and maybe a chai too. And let’s not forget - cuddles with my girls.

We know that you used to be a jeweller. Can you tell us more about that journey and how did it start and end? 

My mum, sister and I had a jewellery business when I finished school. It wasn’t the conventional jewellery business, but it was certainly creative. We created some pieces and had a lot of comments on them. My boss at the time owned several retail stores around Australia and her first order from us was a big one and it took off quickly from there. I remember us up at nights trying to create enough items for our first orders. We ended up selling in Australia and Hawaii, which was surprising as we had no systems in place, no marketing plan (and this was pre social media) and somehow it still worked.

We wrapped up that business as my sister and I wanted to travel the world. I don’t think we were ready for such a commitment so young. Years on (after having our babies) we also had an events & event styling business, which also got busy quite quickly. Unfortunately logistics became an issue for us, as my Mum, sister and I live in different states. It was also difficult with really young children to have a business of this nature. I really loved having both businesses. It’s a lot of work but also very rewarding.

We live in times where technology is wherever we go; how do you find a balance between an organic and digital learning and teaching strategies?

I wholeheartedly believe that organic learning and teaching should be our primary method, and digital is just a bonus. I am very passionate about teaching my daughters, I make sure their learning is extremely hands on. We have nature trays at home, I love taking them exploring and teaching them about nature. We make perfume in the backyard, white boards for writing and lots of art and craft. Even teaching them spelling is with scrabble pieces. I feel like that is working for them, they were selected for 2 of the best awards in their year group and I really think a lot to do with it is the organic learning they have had growing up. Making it creative, fun and hands on and natural is a wonderful way to teach and learn.

There is technology at school and my girls do some online homework at home also. I am ok with that, but I make sure their screen homework is the absolute bare minimum. I’ve noticed that too much online homework was affecting one of my daughter’s behaviours, so we needed to change things a little there.

With my own study, a lot of it is digital at this stage, however that will change into more practical work as I get further into my studies, which is exciting.

While we are on the topic of technology, what are your thoughts about social media and how do you have a healthy social media relationship?

I’m currently doing a Uni assessment on social media and technology actually. I feel like social media can be a fantastic tool and way to connect, given that it’s used in a healthy way. I feel it might be time to reassess how you are using social media when it’s affecting parts of your life and relationships, or if you’re portraying an inaccurate lifestyle.

My posts are pretty open, I post the wonderful parts of my day, but also about my Dad passing and not being able to say goodbye and the craziness of motherhood, even tantrums. Trying to portray a seamless life with no issues seems unhealthy to me. Recently I actually connected with a Mum that lives in Colorado, USA (my old home once). I think that is pretty special that social media can connect you with likeminded humans all over the world. I also love learning about brands that I would have never known about otherwise.

I try not to be on social media when I am with my kids, I don’t want them to remember me as the Mum on social media all the time. I have my own boundaries. For example, my youngest daughter doesn’t like getting her picture taken at times and I don’t force that on her. Most importantly, when I am with my family, they have my attention; I take their picture, but usually do a post later on.

What would be the top five things you hope for your children?

1) That they are kind
2) That they are happy
3) That they always learn from their mistakes
4) That they always adventure
5) That they know how very loved they are

It takes a village to change the world; what advice would you provide for those who want to slowly transit to living an eco-friendly lifestyle?

I think adjusting your mindset is the biggest step to actually start the transition. People are uneducated and humans naturally resist change. I think starting small is best. Take your own shopping bags or carry a few items instead of buying a plastic bag. If there are two options on the supermarket shelf, choose the non plastic or non toxic / eco friendly option. At the fruit market, avoid buying anything that has any kind of plastic or artificial packaging. When you leave the beach have your family pick up one piece of rubbish each.

Once you master the small things, you can start looking further. It really becomes second nature quite quickly. Educate your family, make it fun. I recently changed my washing powder to chemical free partly due to ecological factors. My family is adapting every day too, as long as there is progress you are on the right path. Society thinks that recycling and reusing is the key, it certainly helps, but we need to aim for complete prevention to be most effective.

We also believe in kindness, love and happiness; but the world today is so noisy and fast paced; most of the time people forget about their roots. What message do you think the world needs to hear in order to do life the mindful and positive way?

Currently I am reading a book on mindfulness. Its emphasis is to be present in any given moment, to help slow things down and appreciate life. This completely resonates with me, so right now I’m focused on what’s in front of me at any given point of time. If I am out with my family, I am not worrying about assessments I have due. If I am having a bath, I am relaxing and not concerned about a messy house. If I am at University, I am not thinking about what to make for dinner. Looking at the now and being present in every moment is a tricky skill to learn, but it is certainly working and helping with all aspects of my life.

Lastly; if you can act in a movie; which movie would it be, which character would you play and why?

I’ll take Avatar in a heartbeat (The female Avatar)! It’s an incredible movie, how amazing would it be to move like them. And working opposite Sam Worthington…Yes, please!! 

 

If Shelly's story inspired you, share it with your mates.
If her choice of lifestyle has empowered you to love our planet more, start your change today.

As Wangari Maathai would say...

“No matter who or where we are, or what our capabilities, we are called to do the best we can”.

Little changes may have big influences. Here at Babylon Grey, we believe that we should try as far as possible to have a positive impact on our planet. Not only because we appreciate it and want to help protect it, but because we want you to love it too! Together we are able to make a huge difference.

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Article edited by amazing Sowmya Katathil

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