Elle Halliwell is no stranger to being in the limelight, not only in her role as fashion and entertainment reporter for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and Nova 9.69, but also for her major health challenges while pregnant. Taking timeout from her busy schedule, Elle talks with us about what she has been up to since the birth of her son Tor, and her local neighbourhood, Drummoyne and the Inner West.
Q&A with Elle
In your role as a fashion and show biz reporter you attend your fair share of A-list events. What's the best 'I love my job' moment you've experienced?
I've attended some incredible events in my 10 years at the paper. When I was just starting out editing the Style pages for The Sunday Telegraph I was flown to Singapore to attend a party for Calvin Klein in an abandoned jail, and in 2015 I attended the Balmain x H&M launch party in New York, which was the most extravagant event I've ever been privileged enough to cover. I've also met some amazing people, and my favourite interviews would have to have been with Michael Parkinson, One Direction and Robert Pattinson.
Now a mother of your beautiful son, you seem as busy as ever. How do you juggle it all?
I'm still on maternity leave from the paper, but I’m currently co-hosting the national Nova show, Confidential on Nova, with J.Mo every Sunday night, as well as covering showbiz for Channel Nine's afternoon news program Nine News Now. I also MC and host events and have recently expanded into keynote speaking, covering topics such as overcoming adversity, mental and physical health and wellbeing and living your best life.
It's been well publicised that over the past 12 months you have faced some major health challenges. How has this changed your outlook on life and how do you manage to maintain your sunny disposition?
Being diagnosed with cancer - Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia - at a relatively young age was a huge shock for me and really made me rethink my priorities and take stock of my life. Finding out I was pregnant two days later was very scary, and making the decision to continue with it and hold off starting my life-saving treatment was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
I realised early on that I had two choices; I could look at the situation as a curse or a blessing. After a lot of soul searching and 10 kilometres daily walks I began to notice the positives that had come from the situation, and decided to use this ordeal as a path to discover my life purpose. I have days where I don't feel great, and days where I worry about my future, but the good days are much more common and all I have to do is tickle my son and hear his giggle to make me feel like the luckiest person on Earth.
How challenging was motherhood in those first few weeks? Were you ready for it?
It was tough. I had spent the past eight months worrying about my unborn baby and thinking only of staying healthy enough to carry through with the pregnancy, so it was only after he was born that the reality of my situation really dawned on me. The constant lack of sleep, hormone fluctuations, commencement of oral chemotherapy and dealing with a colicky newborn made for a very intense, emotional few weeks.
You have created a family home in Drummoyne, what made you decide to live here and what do you love about the local lifestyle?
I've always loved living near the water and Drummoyne has some incredible views of Sydney Harbour. I also like that it's so close to the city but not too hectic. Having the Bay Run and Balmain nearby is also fantastic. The area in general is very suited to young families.
Where do you go to unwind and get away from it all?
I absolutely love wandering through Callan Park and the grounds of the Sydney College of the Arts, which is located just off the Bay Run near the Iron Cove Bridge. The old sandstone buildings and manicured gardens are so beautiful; it's one of my favourite walks in Sydney.
When you get a chance to get out and about, where do you like to go in the Inner West?
I love to stroll through Orange Grove Markets inLilyfield on a Saturday morning, as they have some beautiful organic and artisan produce. I often take my son to the Balmain Library as they have a lovely children's section.
Where are your go-to health and wellness places in the Inner West, why?
Egg of The Universe is my go-to for de-stressing. A yoga class followed by an organic breakfast in their courtyard cafe is my idea of a perfect morning. I also love About Life in Rozelle. It's where I do most of my grocery shopping.
Your top five cafés/restaurants to eat at in the Inner West and why?
Ecco Ristorante, Drummoyne: This Italian seafood restaurant is just across the road from us and is, in my opinion, one of the best in Sydney. The chef there makes a raw tuna carpaccio which would be up there with my all-time favourite dishes.
Jean Louis Joseph, Sydney: This is my pick of the cafes at Birkenhead Point. They have a brilliant deli and the food is always delicious.
Contessa, Balmain: This cafe opposite Balmain Town Hall has a really good breakfast and lunch menu, and the staff are always so lovely.
Bertoni, Balmain: Time permitting, I will walk here from my house (it's an eight-kilometre round trip) just to get a coffee. Enough said.
Recco Lab, Rozelle: This is our new midweek dinner favourite. The Italian owners had a brick pizza oven shipped over from Naples, so you can imagine how good the pizza is.
Finish this sentence. You know you live in the Inner West when... you run into more than a dozen people you know on the Bay Run.