The spirit of Mother’s Day made me reflect upon my own mother a lot. I quickly realized that her attitude in life has inspired me in so many ways. The way she raised me has undoubtedly influenced me to start a natural, socially responsible brand like Maiwe. My mother and I have been through our share of ups and downs together, and the way we stood with each other has made our connection stronger than ever. I admire how she manages to balance to care deeply for the people around her, whilst never neglecting her own needs. To me, she’s a lighting example of how to spend 73 years on Planet Earth. Enjoy this intimate conversation with the woman who raised me.
Hi mama, can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about your life?
(laughs) I’ve never done this before, you will have to help me! Well, my name is Cécile, I’m 73 years old and I live in Ghent. I’m a native French speaker, I moved to Flanders when I was 9 years old. My own mother was very important to me, she was quite the character, as you know! I have two daughters, Ruth and Maayke, and three beautiful grandchildren. My days consist of studying Greek and Spanish, doing voluntary work, sewing, cooking, gardening and taking care of my grandchildren. Besides my daily yoga exercises, I go to Pilates every week and sing in a choir. I spend a lot of time with my friends too.
People are what matter most to me. My children and grandchildren, but also my friends matter a great deal. I have always valued solidarity a lot. I like the idea of a universal, human connection. We’re all in the same boat. Some of us have a bigger, stronger or fancier boat than others, but our main worries are the same. Helping others that are less fortunate than I am simply makes sense to me.
"We’re all in the same boat. Some of us have a bigger, stronger or fancier boat than others, but our main worries are the same. Helping others that are less fortunate than I am simply makes sense to me."
I have always seen you dedicate time and attention to what today we call “self-care”. You start every day with breathing and yoga exercises, you eat wholesome and organic food, you care for your body and mental health. Can you share a bit more about this?
Maybe you didn’t know this, but I started doing yoga about 50 years ago, when I was right out of university and was going through a difficult period. I was feeling very emotional and overwhelmed. It’s mostly the philosophy of yoga that served me in that period, and I carried it with me throughout my entire life. To me, this means you practice to take a step back, and look at your emotions from a distance. You don’t try to alter what you feel, you accept it, and you let it be. Mindfulness in yoga becomes a lifestyle, which is much more than physical exercise.
But of course, exercising is important too. I need to keep moving, or I won’t be able to anymore, that's related to my age (laughs). I read every day. I stretch every day. I learn every day. I still travel as much as I can. I’m grateful for the life I live.
"I read every day. I stretch every day. I learn every day. I still travel as much as I can. I’m grateful for the life I live."
When I was growing up, I remember our house always being full of books. On a daily basis, you were combining your editorial work with the household and the care for your two daughters. I also remember how much attention you would pay to our daily meals. Every single day you would cook a fresh meal with loads of vegetables, and you would use natural remedies when we were ill. Why was this so important for you?
I have always been an adept of a holistic approach to health. I’ve learned that from my mother. A physical problem never comes out of nowhere, it’s always linked to another part of your body. If your back hurts, it could be related to your digestion, or to stress. If your skin is troubled, you might want to seek for its cause a bit further. It requires more patience to know your body, but it’s rewarding in the long run.
And as I mentioned before, I feel part of a whole, which aligns with this holistic approach to health. I believe we have to care for our planet, as we’re connected to her. That’s the main reason I avoid pesticides as much as possible and support organic agriculture. There’s nothing that gives me greater joy than harvesting a few vegetables, as I did in your garden in Chile or at the farm of my sister, and cook them up into a nourishing meal.
"I feel part of a whole, which aligns with this holistic approach to health. I believe we have to care for our planet, as we’re connected to her."
What about your skin, what’s your relationship to beauty and skincare?
I have always taken good care of my skin, without spending a lot of money on it. Before using Maiwe, I would often make my own blends, for example I used to cleanse my skin at night with ‘liniment’, a mixture of calcium-rich water and olive oil. This would remove makeup and impurities, and it nourished my skin too.
I don’t mind aging. Of course I have more wrinkles than before, but it’s okay. I don’t want to fight that. I even feel as if I look better than I did ten years ago, maybe I feel more as myself every year, and that also shows in my appearance?
Do you have a favourite Maiwe product?
The quality of the Rosehip Oil Serum is incomparable, but I love all the products. I have a soft spot for the Nourishing Cleansing Oil. It’s the perfect product to use at night, as it removes my eye makeup so well. Before I always had to rub my eyes and still it wouldn’t remove my makeup very well. Now it goes effortlessly, I love it. I remember when you first told me about the Double Cleansing Ritual, I thought “oh my god, two cleansers? But that takes so much time!”. But now I have to admit it’s my favourite part. I have even added a warm cloth to it. I find it so relaxing and pampering to use this cloth in combination with the two cleansing textures! At night, I finish with a few drops of the Rosehip Oil Serum. I use the Balancing Facial Cream in the morning with two drops of Serum to start my day with a natural glow. My friends are all hooked too. When we travel together, the bathroom we share is stacked with Maiwe.
I’m so proud of you, of what you have accomplished with this story. I always knew you were able to reach your dreams. I’m so happy you found something that aligns your heart and your mind, it makes you more dedicated than ever.
SHOP CÉCILE'S FAVOURITE
The Rosehip Oil Serum