Shay Paine is a Newcastle local, mum to three-year-old daughter Everly and one half of the winning team from Season 11 of The Block in 2015. Her and husband Dean’s apartment was the highest selling on auction night and since the show finished they’ve returned to family life in Newcastle while working on some exciting new projects in their design consultancy business The Wild Creatives. Read all about what she’s been up to lately in this installment of Meet the Mama.
You and Dean both grew up in Newcastle and still live there. When did you buy your first home and what did you learn about renovating before you went on The Block?
Way back in 2006 we purchased our first property. We had no money and it was a real stretch for us but we knew it was the best way for us to make a good start. We purchased the worst house in a great street in Tingira Heights. The whole house needed a renovation, inside and out. We moved in the day we returned from our honeymoon, with bean bags on the floor and our tv on a milk crate – you can imagine how romantic it was.
During our projects we have learned about the price of renovating, and not just money but sacrificing time with our friends and doing a lot of the work ourselves. We worked out pretty quickly our roles as designer (me) and builder (Dean), lol. Most of all we realised that not everything goes to plan but to focus on our reactions and believe if we can do this it will all be ok in the end.
You sent in submissions for several years before you were chosen to go on The Block – why did you decide to keep trying?
From the very first season back in 2003 we just knew it was something we had in us. We had lots of encouragement from friends and family to apply but to be honest we were very disheartened after applying three times and making it through to the final rounds for Darling St (Triple Threat) in early 2015 and then missing out.
It was such a crazy experience, we watched the Darling St auction and when it went so well we were a bit shattered we didn’t get accepted and then, that night, the casting agent rang and said they wanted to do a skype interview. The rest is history, that was the skype interview where Scotty told us we were on the show. There was something very magical about it and we felt like we were meant to be a part of it and that it would lead us to new things.
How difficult was it to be away from Everly for several months to be on the show?
Missing Everly was definitely the hardest part of the experience. We were very blessed to have such great support from our family at home and they brought here down to us everytime we said we needed to see her. There were times we rang and said we needed to see her and she was flown down to see us the next day, even if it was just for a few hours; we can never truly thank them enough for that.
Your current home was half-renovated when you went on the show and you’re working on completing it now. How close are you to finishing it?
Our latest reno had a tight timeframe and so it was all happening at once, we had two bathrooms being renovated, painting throughout, and a new eave extension happening all at the same time. I would definitely recommend working on spaces one at a time but in reality that just isn’t always possible, particularly when you are juggling trades and trying to get the most out of their time with you. It was chaos living in it but rewarding to see it all finished. Now the reality is we are living in a two bedroom unit while that house stays perfect ready for sale, not so glamourous but that’s part of the adventure.
Before you went on The Block you were a teacher and Dean was an electrician. Once the show finished, you started The Wild Creatives. What types of projects have you been working on?
Well actually, I went back to teaching two days a week (because I love the kids), Dean still has his electrical business, and we run The Wild Creatives, needless to say it has been one hectic year juggling all of that with a reno in the mix. The Wild Creatives was born out of encouragement from those around us that we should enter into the design industry and that we had an eye for it. The last 12 months have been one of great learning. We’ve worked on some great projects in Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne. We’ve enjoyed this year but we are ready to move on to a new project that will see us following our life’s passions.
You continually said during your time on The Block that your long term dream was to buy a block of land to farm and grow your own food. Now that you’ve finished your current renovation will that be your next project?
Well, haven’t you done your research. This is a dream that is very close to our hearts and maybe if you keep a close eye on our social media our new project might shed some light on the farm situation.
Describe a typical week for you. How do you balance work, time with Everly, renovating and family time?
I wish I had some tips on balance but to be honest this year was lacking balance all round. We knew it wasn’t something we could sustain long term and it was a season in our life that will now allow us to do things that set our soul on fire.
Who’s in your village to help you as a working mother?
We have the best support and we couldn't do it without our family, they have backed everything we have chosen to do and encouraged us to tackle our dreams and ideas. Everly has also been in daycare since she was one and absolutely loves it. The socialising and skills she has learned have made her the adventurous and sparky little girl she is today.
How do you like to spend time together as a family on weekends?
We love spending time at the beach and we do lots of camping trips. Actually as I type this Everly and Dean have gone to the beach on an overnight camping trip. We love being outdoors and enjoying the sunshine so we tend to be at the park or the beach in any spare time we can find.
What are your favourite camping spots in the Newcastle area? Do you have a camping trip planned for this summer?
For our little trips we tend to go to Redhead Beach as we are blessed to have a 4WD so we can drive on and find a good spot. We also love to head up to Booti Booti camping ground near Forster, or go to the caravan park at Hawks Nest for weekend trips; it’s so nice to switch off and get away from the hustle for a few days.
Our summer trip this year is taking us to Valla Beach (which I think is near Coffs Harbour). We are heading up there for an extended camping trip with friends and then we are actually going to do something very unlike us and take our parents on a cruise (a small way of saying thank you for all their support).
How do you take time out for yourself as a mum?
Staying fit is probably my time out. I go to the gym in the mornings and every now and then I manage to get myself to yoga (I wish I could go more). It’s funny because I often think I want time out but then I get it and all I want is to get back to Dean and Evy. Is that weird?.
You’ve been trying to expand your family recently but unfortunately had a few miscarriages and shared your story on social media. Why did you decide to do this?
I think my heart just really wanted to acknowledge our babies. I didn’t want them to be hidden or to feel I had to be ashamed of them. I have definitely had moments of feeling responsible for losing them but I know that I need to focus on the path our babies are sending us on. We are stepping out and taking on new ideas and projects that we would have only ever dreamed of doing. I am a big believer in seeing the good come out of our challenges and I hope that we can leave a legacy that will make our children proud.
Where do you like to eat out in Newcastle?
We have lots of favourite spots to eat! We love anything tasty, fresh and healthy (and organic is the best bonus). One of my favourite cafes is The Locale in Lambton, I love their all day breakfast and green juices. We also love Blue Door at Merewether Beach for their Cocowhips (vegan ice cream) which are Evy’s favourite treat after the beach. Our organic faves are Goodness Me Organics at Adamstown (they have a grocer and kids outdoor area too!), and Momo in the CBD.
Favourite Things in Newcastle…
Playground: Bunya Park (it has a community garden too!)
Place to get coffee: The Locale or Blue Door for a Soy Chai.
Store: I prefer the markets and buying local. I love Hunt and Gather markets and the Olive Tree Markets.
Way/place to exercise: Hot Yoga at Fitness Revolution in Lake Macquarie or Well Fit training studio at Warners Bay.