IMAGES: CARTER'S PARTNER JACK, AS DIRECTED BY CARTER
Carter Were is a mother, chef, baker and cookbook author. We have always loved Carter's approach to nourishing simple food and could not wait to get our hands on the cookbook she wrote with her twin sister (and occasional Nu Swim collaborator!) Harry Were. The cookbook in question is called Carter's Cookbook, which is currently sold out of its second printing, but we can assure you that the design, imagery and recipes make you feel comforted and inspired. Carter and her partner also run an airbnb called The Banana Shed, located on their beautiful property in Australia – we are dreaming of a trip there when the world reopens. We sent Carter some pieces from our 2021 and permanent collection and her partner Jack so beautifully took images of Carter and their family at home, in their garden and enjoying the sea. Read our conversation below.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF – WHAT YOU DO, WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO THIS PATH
My name is Carter and I’m 30 years old. I live with my partner, Jack, and our two daughters Patience (2) and Dorothy (nearly 1) just outside of Byron Bay in a little town called Federal but I’m from New Zealand. My full time job is a mother at the moment, but I’ve also written a cookbook (with my twin sister Harry) and I bake bread. We also run an Airbnb on the property where we live and we call it the Banana Shed. My interest in food began when I was 19 and moved to Sydney and got a job at a good bakery. I just used to sell the bread, but I realised what good food could taste like because growing up both my parents didn’t enjoy cooking. I went to Greece and loved how simple food tasted great with good ingredients. Fast forward a few years and I found myself back in Auckland and owning a shop with my good friend Sophi, which I miss. She ran a florist and I ran a little cafe/bakery where I served simple breakfast and lunch, loaves of bread, cookies and pickles. We outgrew the space, I went traveling (back to Greece), met Jack, moved back to Byron, fell pregnant, wrote a cookbook, fell pregnant again and here we are…
My goals are: to write another cookbook with Harry when we can hopefully be together in the same country soon.
What brings me balance: Jack
What brings me joy: my babies, ice cream, foot rubs, the beach, friends.
What eases my mind: a trip to the beach alone, a negroni
WHAT DOES BEING BY THE WATER INVOKE IN YOU?
It makes me feel happy and calm. And when I’m in the water weightless and free. Something I even enjoy more when I am pregnant, or when I am alone without my babies. I also love it with my babies because they love it too and it makes them smile and laugh.
DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL CHERISHED MEMORY OF SWIMMING?
Yes I do I have a few. The first is swimming when we were younger. My twin sister, Harry, and I used to swim in a squad. We used to swim 5 days a week after school. I remember the feeling of swimming laps and laps and being so exhausted but having so much momentum that you could just keep going and going. Dad used to drive us home in his old yellow VW beetle. We used to be so cold in the back and embarrassed by his car. I wish he still had it. The second is much more recent and it was in Greece. I was there with some friends and I was nannying their kids. They took me to a secret beach on an island. It had big round pebbles and very clear water. There were a big family of gypsies camping on the beach and just us there. I swam out very deep. I remember the sounds of the pebbles rolling with the tiny waves. It always comes back to me for some reason. I even thought about this beach when I was in labour with my first born, Patience. And with my second born, I was at the beach when labour began.
WILL YOU SHARE YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITE BODY OF WATER?
I think it would have to be fresh water somewhere in New Zealand. The rivers and waterholes there are heaven!
WHAT COLOR COMES TO YOU WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT SWIMMING?
Blue has always been and is my favourite colour.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SWIMMING RITUALS, THINGS YOU DO BEFORE OR AFTER GOING TO THE BEACH, LAKE, POOL, ETC?
Usually we pass by the bakery to get a croissant for the beach. They always get sandy.
HOW HAS HAVING YOUNG CHILDREN CHANGED YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH SWIMMING AND SPENDING TIME AT THE BEACH? I WOULD IMAGINE IT IS MUCH HARDER NOW TO TAKE A QUICK VISIT TO THE BEACH, OR GET TIME TO SWIM BY YOURSELF.
We live a 25 min drive to the beach. But now we have two babies, the beach is a much different experience than before. It requires a lot of organisation, energy and stuff to bring two babies to the beach. No longer is it a book, togs, water and towel I take with me. Instead it’s an umbrella, buckets and spades, nappies, lots of snacks, changes of clothes, sunscreen, hats, lots of water, more snacks. We end up staying until one of the babies has had enough. It’s never that long but I look forward to the days we can spend longer there. I cherish the moments I can get to the beach alone now.
WE LOVE YOUR COOKBOOK “CARTER’S COOKBOOK” AND YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO SIMPLE COOKING AND EATING, SO WE CAN ONLY IMAGINE YOU HAVE A FAVORITE FOOD THAT PAIRS WELL WITH A VISIT TO THE OCEAN; WHAT DOES YOUR BEACH PICNIC LOOK LIKE? DO YOU HAVE ANY FOODS THAT YOU FIND PARTICULARLY NOURISHING OR THAT BRING YOU JOY FOR A DAY AT THE BEACH? OR PERHAPS A RECIPE YOU CAN SHARE RELATED TO THIS FOR OUR READERS?
I don’t take picnics to the beach! I’m a bit fussy and don’t enjoy sandy food. We bring fruit for the girls. Sometimes we stop and buy a whole watermelon and bring that.
We eat lunch when we get home. Usually it’s a toastie with cheese. Or we stop on the way home for a pie or sausage roll.
ASIDE FROM A GOOD SNACK, WHAT ELSE DO YOU BRING WITH YOU FOR A DAY AT THE BEACH?
Towel, togs, sunscreen, hat, book, sunglasses, water.
HOW DOES WHERE YOU LIVE INFLUENCE YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO SWIMMING? YOU MOVED FROM NEW ZEALAND TO AUSTRALIA, DID THIS MOVE CHANGE HOW ACCESSIBLE SWIMMING AND SPENDING TIME IN NATURE IS TO YOU?
In New Zealand, you are always close to water. But often the temperature of the water is pretty cold. I guess I’ve always lived close to the sea though. Moving back to Byron meant I was able to swim more because it’s always pretty warm! I also moved from Auckland city to Byron Bay and now I’m living a 30 minute drive into the hills. I’ve always enjoyed nature though.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE SEASON?
Summer in New Zealand. I used to love summer here in Byron Bay, but since having kids that’s changed. It’s far too hot and muggy, the traffic is bad and carrying two babies is hard work. In winter, it’s dry here and it’s still warm enough to swim at the beach. So winter is my favourite season in Byron.
DO YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH SWIMMING IN THE WINTER MONTHS?
Yes, in winter we still swim!
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO WITH WARMER WEATHER? WHAT DOES SPRING/SUMMER LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Longer days. I love it when it gets dark later. And wearing less clothes.
HOW DO YOU WEAR NU SWIM?
When it’s very hot here, I wear togs as clothes. I’ll just wear togs with some shorts over top or just the togs even.
MUCH OF NU SWIM'S INSPIRATION COMES FROM FILMS AND ART EITHER DIRECTLY OR LOOSELY RELATED TO WATER – DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE SWIMMING OR WATER RELATED FILM, MUSIC OR ART REFERENCE?
Film and soundtrack from The Big Blue.
SINCE COVID BEGAN, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN SELF ISOLATING (OR HOW DID YOU SELF ISOLATE IF YOU ARE NO LONGER SELF ISOLATING)? CAN YOU RECOMMEND SOME THINGS THAT HAVE HELPED YOU STAY GROUNDED? A RITUAL THAT BRINGS YOU PEACE?
We were self isolating soon after Dorothy was born, but having a new born is kind of the same as self isolating. I was very lucky that my sister, Harry, came over 2 days after Dorothy was born. Since then, none of my family has met her and she’s neary one now! We have spent more time at home than we could’ve imagined. It has been both good and hard, since the year before we were lucky enough to travel the world for my partners work.Compared to the rest of the world, we have been relatively unaffected by COVID (apart from being able to travel to New Zealand) so I am very grateful.
I guess the ritual that brings/brought us the most peace during isolation is having a lot of space and a huge garden to spend time in. We are so so lucky to have that and my girls don’t even know how lucky they are yet! Cooking I enjoy too, but I have always enjoyed that.
WHAT ARE A FEW OF YOUR WORK FROM HOME OR SELF ISOLATION ESSENTIALS?
Cooking utensils and ingredients.
HOW HAS COVID CHANGED YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE DAY TO DAY?
I’m not sure if isolation has changed my relationship with the day to day or if it’s just adjusting to life as a mum of two.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE VEGETABLE? FRUIT? HERB?
Potato Fig Parsley
HUGE THANKS TO CARTER AND YOUR BEAUTIFUL FAMILY