Monochrome, minimalism, motherhood and the cutest babes surrounded by stunning architecture. We caught up with Apphia Micheal to find out more about her family life in London. If your familiar with her Instagram account @Apphia___ then you'll understand why Pilgrim and her family made this perfect coupling.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family, who you are, what you do and where you live?
I'm a stylist, writer and editor and I live in East London with my husband George, our two kids Tallis (three) and Byron (one) and our whippet Marlowe. George is a Creative Director at an agency and I used to work at Wallpaper* Magazine.
What has motherhood taught you?
The art of next-level patience.
What qualities do you love most in people and what qualities do you want your children to value?
Generosity, kindness and fearlessness.
Do you and your family follow any routines? What does a typical day look like in your household?
George and I are pretty spontaneous, both individually and as a couple, and so I never thought I would say this but we actually thrive off routine. We sleep trained Tallis when she was a baby, working with a sleep consultant to get her into a good routine from the get-go. Through the years we've really seen the benefits of having a daily framework to work around and so have tried to follow suit with Byron. We live right on a park so most mornings the kids and the dog head out with George for a walk and a trip to the local deli for a croissant while I get ready. It's then a couple hours of activities, usually at home, before the kids and I have lunch and head out for the day. I work from home and have the kids with me so naps are sacred, which means I try and get them to rest in the morning in order to get work done at the same time, which frees up the afternoon for us to wander and play together.
Where do you find Minimalist inspiration and what areas of your life have you adopted the minimalist concept into?
Minimalism is such a personal thing. To me, it's about the process of sifting out what is important in your life, and then adopting a more considered, measured approach to focusing on that in order to achieve ultimate simplicity and fulfilment. Surprisingly, minimalism and motherhood has been a great mix so far. Children learn through play and stimulating environments, but that doesn't mean you have to bow to conventional notions of what these toys, colours or environments should be. In my experience it's the toys that haven't received the initial 'wow' reactions that have ended up lasting the longest in the toy box. To that effect, I try and get the kids toys and create play spaces that will last through a few stages of their development.
Do you have any wardrobe staples? What do you look for in clothing for yourself?
A nice sweatshirt, tailored trousers and good shoes are my definite go-tos. I am a strong believer in consuming less, but better. My biggest investment item has been my capsule wardrobe, which is proving to be very cost-effective and ultimately so satisfying because it means nothing in my wardrobe goes to waste. For a few years now I've been working on building a simple collection of easy-to-wear staples, plumping them out each season with a few carefully considered new items, but essentially investing less in trends and concentrating more on the aesthetic that I like and I feel best suits me - oversized silhouettes, layered pieces and a neutral colour palette.
Some people find the monochrome colour palette a bit harsh for children. What would you like to say to them?
Monochrome isn't everyone's cup of tea, but personally I feel it's a great way for kids to find and explore their own comfort zones on the gender spectrum beyond society’s preconceived binary gender norms and stereotypes. A neutral colour palette is essentially a blank canvas for our future generation to explore their own style, interests and tastes. Plus, think of how practical it is. There is one colour scheme, so everything matches. Pieces can easily work in harmony to complement each other, which makes the act of choosing clothes for the kids and getting them dressed a relatively stress-free and speedy affair. The colour works just as well on girls as it does boys, so you could essentially see monochrome clothing as an investment of pieces that could not only be interchangeable between siblings but will work just as well for any future brothers or sisters to follow.
Do you have any favourite family hang outs in London?
We love the Barbican – not only is it an architectural wonder and a cultural hub, but it has the most brilliant kid-friendly spaces. And most weekends we're either in de Beauvoir Square (there's a playground there that the kids love), Southbank, Tate Modern or Redchurch Street in Shoreditch.