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ECR's Eccentric Mom

re-published with permission from Get It magazine, November 2010

At home with new mom, Jane Linley-Thomas

East Coast Radio’s Jane Linley-Thomas has won the hearts of many Durbanites with her vibrant radio personality. She recently gave birth to her first child, Cooper and invited Tracy Ellis to her home, to chat about motherhood and life in Durban. Photographs: Nicole Maurel (Lamplight Collective - 072 702 6728)

Jane Linley-Thomas can’t be summed up in one word. Or even one phrase. She’s just Jane: a fun-loving, eclectic radio personality-cum-homemaker.

Her world is full of colour, beads, music, books, painted furniture, ornaments, photographs and other funky stuff. She loves vinyl and browsing second-hand shops; she drinks whiskey and calls her husband ‘Mikey’; she has a nose ring, an affinity for tattoos and changes her eyeglasses according to her mood.

She is not the type to conform to anyone else’s idea of who she should be – with Jane it’s ‘no holds barred’ and she is just over the moon with her new role as mother to Cooper Jet Thomas.

“I was born to be a wife and mother,” shares Jane. When most people talk about their bucket lists, they often describe exotic traveling, thrill-seeking adventures and wild dreams. But for Jane, there was no greater achievement than marrying Mike and giving birth to Cooper.

“I am one of those fortunate people who met and married my soul mate,” she says with a playful sideways glance in Mike’s direction. They have been married for two years and live in a cute duplex in Umhlanga, which Jane describes as ‘a magpie’s haven’. Their home overflows with colour, painted furniture, fun fabrics and collected treasures, each of which, Jane assures me, has a story attached to it.

Jane, a self-confessed child of the universe, says she enjoyed a holistic pregnancy and employed the services of doula Nicole Maurel for her birth. “I went to a braai and one of the girls described her horrendous childbirth experience. I literally shook with fear! When someone suggested a doula, I was clueless, but I did some research and then found Nicole.

“She arrived at my house with The Strokes blaring from the car speakers and I said ‘That’s my girl!’ I really wanted a natural birth experience but unfortunately I ended up having a C-section. Nicole was in the labour room with us the entire time and while Mikey gave me emotional support she helped coach me through the process. She has become part of our journey and a good friend. I would recommend a doula to anyone.”

Jane describes motherhood as a life-changing experience but when asked exactly how it has changed her life she replies, “How do I even begin to describe it. The Jane that drove to Parklands hospital was one Jane, and the Jane that came home was a completely different person. It changes everything. I’m just so in love with my child.” Her blog post on three weeks after the birth echoes her feelings. She wrote: “I love Cooper so much I sometimes just want to munch him. The love is so immense and overwhelming. I am so in love. I just love being a mom to this little boy.”

Jane describes Cooper as a ‘kind, considerate baby’. “I know those are words you wouldn’t normally use to describe a five-week-old, but he really is kind. If we go out to dinner, he waits until we are finished eating before he starts niggling,” she says. And true to character, sweet little Cooper is curled up quietly in his crib for the duration of our interview. Not even a peep. “He’s just a rad little guy,” smiles Jane.

Jane took six weeks maternity leave and is excited to get back on air.

“I only work for three hours in the evenings, so it’s really doable. Plus, Mikey is such a dedicated father so he will look after Cooper while I’m working.”

Besides returning to work and getting back into shape, Jane has no huge plans for the immediate future and says she is enjoying her radio show ‘In The Limelight’.
“It’s the show you listen to while you’re making dinner, so it’s really chilled. I get to play a great assortment of music mixed in with interviews and reviews.”

Jane’s own taste in music varies from indie rock to drum and bass. She loves the eighties and listens to lots of music from her vinyl collection. She is currently loving a band called The National and rattles off a few of her other favourites, including Ella Fitzgerald, Radiohead, Paul Simon and Bonobo, but she feels that asking her to name her favourite band, is akin to asking a parent who their favourite child is. “You just can’t ask me that question, it’s not fair,” she protests!

So what do Jane and Mike do for fun? According to Mike they love just hanging at home with friends. Jane describes a typical social as a braai with chicken sosaties, braaibroodjies and salad. “I’m not a good cook at all. I think I was the only student in the history of St Anne’s College to grill a meringue! But I make a devastating salad!”

Before leaving, I sneak a peek into Cooper’s bedroom, which would sit comfortably in the pages of any interior décor magazine. “Mike handmade most of the furniture so lots of love went into this room.” The nursery door has a grey script decal, which reads: ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, do you know how loved you are’ and although the colours are more muted in here, the energy and personality of this family show in their choice of baby décor: grey and white candy-stripe walls, bursts of red fabric and colourful handmade toys.

As Jane shows me out she takes me to a potted plant surrounded by different shaped and sized rose quartzes. “Pick one,” she says, “it’s the stone of love”. I leave feeling light and inspired which is exactly what a good dose of ‘vitamin Jane’ will do for you.

Tune into Jane’s show In The Limelight, on East Coast Radio, 94/95fm, on weekdays between 6pm and 9pm.

Jane’s Confessions:

  • My wardrobe is full of . . . secondhand clothes
  • My style mantra is . . . be
  • I always wear . . . my heart on my sleeve
  • My guilty pleasure is . . . sushi
  • My fridge is full of . . . beer and condiments
  • When I’m stressed . . . I call home
  • I stay healthy by . . . training at home

Jane’s Durban:

  • I Heart Market: for Saturday mornings (once a month) and for Sara Trickett’s badges
  • Mo Noodles: for their calamari and lentil and feta salad – it’s out of this world!
  • Umhlanga Promenade:  for relaxing family walks by the sea
  • The Hospice and SPCA Shops: for secondhand clothes and furniture
  • The Beverly Hills Hotel: for high teas with my girlfriends
  • Evolve: for great haircuts with Drew Christie, my hairdresser

Get It Magazine (Ballito/Umhlanga/Dbn North) is a monthly, A4, full colour, glossy, free community magazine, featuring articles about everything and anything from beauty and fashion to food and travel, local celebrities and hobbies. All local! Get It operates under the Caxton stable and there are currently 13 editions of Get It countrywide.

For more information check out our
website or pick up your latest edition of Get It at one of our various drop off distribution points between La Lucia and Ballito.