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36 posts categorized "Interview"

Mealtime fun with Little Miss Bento

Bloesem Kids | Little Miss Bento Interview

I think few things sound cooler than being a bento specialist like Shirley Wong of food blog Little Miss Bento. If you follow her on Instagram, you'd have seen all her eye-catching creations of meticulously prepared bento featuring our kids' favourite characters (and some even reminiscent of our own childhood!). Besides that, the talented Shirley also uploads pictures of her homemade traditional bento, Japanese tarts, sweets and more.. As if scrolling through her feed endlessly wasn't satisfying enough, she shares all of her recipes on her blog for readers to try! Now, before we have a go in the kitchen, here's the rest of the Bloesem Gazette interview we had with Shirley..

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Japonica rice topped with some salmon flakes and a hot bowl of miso soup.

Ah, that sounds delightful.. And what about secret indulgences, any to share?

I am so in love with Hunters' pistachio butter lately. Some nights, I sneakily open my fridge and eat a spoonful to satisfy my cravings.

What is your favourite comfort food and why?

Bar chor mee. This definitely speaks volume of the local girl I am. Aside from the fact that Bar Chor Mee is simply delicious, there is certain resonance because of its familiar and nostalgic.

And what's a must-try local dish here in Singapore?

Hainanese chicken rice!

Any tips to making the perfect sandwich?

Everything is best when served fresh and using fresh ingredients with good bread. If the sandwich has to be packed to be on the go, I usually prefer slightly thicker bread slices or more crusty type of bread to prevent sogginess. You can also consider buttering the bread and ensure that the vegetables are dry (e.g pat dry using some kitchen paper napkins).

Got to keep that in mind! Now here's a deeply personal one.. How do you like your eggs?

Sous Vide style eggs - perfection!

What are 5 places you go to for recipe inspirations?

I can't name 5, but the immediate thoughts are my mum's kitchen (she is such an awesome cook), Japanese cooking websites and some of the Instagram accounts that I follow.

Get together with your best friends: where and what do you eat?

At home(s). The best gatherings so far are hosted at home. While none of us are professional chefs, nothing beats the freshly prepared home cooked meals and the quality time spent in such intimate settings.

Agreed! Then what do you think is the most versatile ingredient to use when preparing meals?

As a bento and food artist, rice is one of my most favourite versatile ingredient that I work with. The amazing thing about rice is that not only can it complement the side dishes, it can also be a key highlight of the meal. And of course, rice has also enabled me endless possibilities in shaping and making the different bento and food art designs.

What trends do you see in foodie culture?

One is the popularity in rustic and all-natural healthy foods, hence the increase in products such as nut butters, granolas/muesli, chia seeds etc. Coupled with the digital media trends where people are often on the lookout for the next "in" thing, one would often see the introduction of new or less common flavours/food from bamboo charcoal to yuzu for instance. It is also interesting to note that despite the strong emergence of international food scene such as Seoul food, there is still a constant demand for local flavours, the same reason why flavours such as salted egg, milo and milk tea are often popular.

True! Not only do people enjoy trying out new, interesting food, they also love taking photos of them. Do you have any tips to style a nice food shot?

Space. Let the food 'breathe'. Styling requires not only the right food and props but also the entire composition of the elements. For me, I think a good attractive food picture is often one that draws your eyes to the food but yet not overcrowded. Giving the viewer the breathing space for your eyes to rest. I cannot also stress how important good lighting is. Be it a brightly lit setting or one that is dark and moody, lighting will help you get your desired shot much quicker.

Take it from Shirley.. Her Instagram feed is lovely and her creations amazing. Thanks for your contribution to our latest Bloesem Gazette!

.. Follow Shirley Wong on Instagram and give Little Miss Bento a visit!
.. Bloesem and Zara S. on Instagram
.. Bloesem Gazette Issue No. 5

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Project Prep chat with Josselin Bijl

Bloesem Kids | Project Prep Interview with Josselin Bijl

If you've met our good friend Josselin Bijl at our Modern Handwriting Class this year, you would totally agree she's absolutely delightful! The talented Josselin juggles her time as a freelance creative, beauty editor at Amayzine.com and as a stylist.. and did we mention as an illustrator of a new book? Yes, Josselin was the creator of the beautiful illustrations for "Project Prep" and we can't be more thrilled for her! I mean, she got to meet and hand the first copy of it to Queen Máxima of Holland! 

Despite her busy schedule (having tea with the Queen), she came over to teach a Bloesem Class in Singapore and showed us some of her illustrations in the new book. We've got to say, we are totally blown away! They're all so beautiful and cheery, really tickles our inner teen girl soul.. In fact, the book bears a positive message and serves as an inspiration to young girls everywhere, encouraging them to pick up technology. We second that! It's apparent that technology is increasingly integrated in our daily lives.. And I mean where would Bloesem be without it?

Josselin will be coming for another Modern Handwriting Class soon next year.. Based on experience it got sold out real fast, so hang around for the news! You have to meet her face to face, she's just such a joy to be around! In the meantime, we thought we'd share an interview we did with her for all you guys to get to know her better..

Bloesem Kids | Project Prep Interview with Josselin Bijl

Bloesem Kids | Project Prep Interview with Josselin Bijl

For our non-dutch readers, can you tell us in a nutshell what the book is about?

Josselin Bijl: "Project Prep is a novel that will expose countless girls and young women to the wonders of technology and the many opportunities it presents. The story’s main character Isabel emerges as a strong role model, immediately relatable as readers follow her on her own technological and entrepreneurial journey. So in a nutshell, the book is about fashion and technology because Isabel is going to make her own fashion app to solve daily high school outfit problems, and it will be a huge success story. It seems like technology is very boring, but Isabel shows us how technology is really fun and is a necessity for every creative profession.” 

You guys covered all the important topics of a young girl in the book.. can you share with us where the inspiration for the book came from?

“Janneke Niessen is the founder of the book. She’s a technology entrepreneur and is always looking out across the tech landscape to develop new things. In her opinion there aren’t enough women in technology. That’s the basic idea for the book. In the process of getting more women into technology, role models are crucial. The book centers on a young girl who decides to learn to code, build an app and start a company. In her journey she experiences all the excitement, challenges, successes and setbacks any technology entrepreneur faces. Throughout her journey she discovers just how magical working in technology can be – that amazing feeling of satisfaction that comes from seeing an idea become a reality that you can actually touch and feel; that is embraced by others; and that is impacting their lives.

 Okay, it's a long story. But the founder of the book is Janneke and the author, Niki Smit, translated their ideas and experiences into a language that young girls can easily understand. I had the honour of creating all the illustrations in the book and make it more fun to look at and read the book. So the idea of the book is to engage and inspire 10-14 year old girls and young women with a relatable story. A story about them; highlighting how real, how exciting and how cool a career in technology can actually be.”


Snap shot from the book launch party

Looking back to yourself as a tween, would you have been able to relate to Isabel?

Josselin: “When I was a tween I think mobile telephones were just in stores and apps (on mobile phones) were just like magic, abracadabra. But yes, I can relate to Isabel. I was always looking for adventure, always looking for challenges and wanted to learn more and more. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I was very creative. Every day, I was drawing and fiddling with new stuff and I think I was kind of advanced for my age.”

How was it working with Janneke and Niki on the book?

Josselin: “It was very cool to work with Janneke and Niki on the book, because it was a whole new world for me. Janneke is a technology entrepreneur and Niki, an author, so we are all very different. That sounds very difficult, but it was really fun to learn from each other and be on the same level while having other experiences and knowledge. Niki knows the target group of young girls and all the lingo and funny words they use at that age. Janneke has all the experience in technology and I had the creative and media know-how to make it complete.” 

What was the best or most fun part of making the book?

Josselin: “I really enjoyed all the brainstorming sessions, because everything was possible and there weren’t any boundaries. How about presenting the first book to Queen Máxima (Queen of Holland)? – Well, let's give it a try. How about make the book in full colour? Yeah, why not? That’s the coolest part of working with Janneke; everything is possible and she really thinks outside the box. For me a very enjoyable and fun part of making the book was making all the illustrations. I sat for hours, days, weeks behind my work desk to read the whole book and translate every chapter to several illustrations. Sometimes it was difficult, illustrating the subject of technology, but most of the times it was so cool to mix all the colours, make beautiful collages and enjoy the freedom in my creative process. It was so cool to translate the funny and exciting story into illustrations which will be the first thing you see when opening the book.”


Snap shot from the book launch party

Things have changed so much since we were younger, especially with technology advancing so quickly. Would you suggest the new generations to stay at the forefront of the technological changes? Why?

Josselin: “Definitely. Technology is very important for every profession. Even if it is a creative profession. Want to be a fashion designer? You need technology to make all the designs. Same story for jewelry designers, graphic designers but also teachers and marketing specialists. Technology is a hot topic nowadays, but I think it will grow and grow and we can’t avoid technology in the world anymore. It sounds very difficult to keep up to date and stay at the forefront, but there are so many cool apps and websites which will inform you. So, best of both worlds.”

What is your ultimate goal for the book? What would be a dream come true?

Josselin: “Well, I think one of the goals, I can already check off the list. It was such an honour to have met the Queen. We also sold 10.000 copies in one month (that’s a lot for a small country like Holland). But a real dream will be to go international and be a bestseller world-wide. Then I can introduce the book, the idea and of course my illustrations to a very broad public. Of course I’m dreaming about a film for the book.. and I will be in the lead. Haha, that’s a joke of course. But a film, with some illustrations in it will be really cool.” 

Bloesem Kids | Project Prep Interview with Josselin Bijl

Meeting Queen Máxima!

Congratulations on meeting the Queen, what an honour it must have been! How did you feel?

Josselin: “Oh my, I was so nervous. I knew about the event weeks before and was preparing for it every day up to the actual event. How to talk, how to sit, what to wear, what to do with my make-up and hair, how to smile, how to hold the cup of tea. Hundreds of thoughts running through my head. But the moment I saw the Queeen I forgot about everything because the rumors are true.. Queen Máxima is very pretty, very nice and very approachable. I didn’t say much, because the whole time I was staring with my mouth open.. but I enjoyed every single minute. And I’m still enjoying it.” 

Bloesem Kids | Project Prep Interview with Josselin Bijl

To all the young girls who have their hands on this book now, or will be reading it soon, what is something you would like to say to them?

Josselin: “Be creative. Read the book, and I hope to inspire someone with all of the enthusiasm I put into the illustrations. I hope everybody develops new ideas when they read the book. And really don’t forget to be creative. Everybody is creative, only on different levels, but nothing is wrong with that. Just do it and think big.”

We would love to see the english translation.. when can we expect that to hit a bookstore near us?

“I hope really, really soon. We are working very hard on an English translation and hoping  to see publishers in every country. Technology is world wide, creativity doesn’t know any boundaries and I think all the girls in the world need to know about this book. So, why not? I can’t give you an exact date, but hopefully at the end of the year everybody can see it under their Christmas tree.”

Bloesem Kids | Project Prep Interview with Josselin Bijl

Image Credits: Josselin Bijl

.. Prep the Project
.. Josselin Bijl

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Passion for Crafting

Bloesem Gazette | Interview with Mer Mag's Merrilee Liddiard

Merrilee Liddiard has spent most of her life crafting. Her insatiable passion for creating has led to her book Playful. For the 4th edition of the Bloesem Gazette we had a little heart to heart with the craft queen herself and it was hard not to immediately bust out the art supplies! 

Author, well-known blogger and mother, Merrilee Liddiard wears many hats - most probably elaborately crafted paper ones since she is undoubtedly the queen of crafts. You might know her as Mer Mag, the name of her blog, or the author of Playful, her craft book that is a collection of 26 unique do-it-yourself projects parents can create together with their children.

We talk more about her love of craft and the making of her craft book after the cut..

Bloesem Gazette | Interview with Mer Mag's Merrilee Liddiard

Bloesem Gazette | Interview with Mer Mag's Merrilee Liddiard

How did you start your crafting journey? Did you always know that you would publish a book of crafts one day?
I grew up in a creative and crafty home with my father making us dollhouses and my mother sewing us costumes so it’s always been a part of me. I remember pouring over Make and Do kids craft books and we had a tradition of doing something crafty when babysitters would come. When I went to college I studied illustration and went on to illustrate books but when I had my own kids the kiddo crafting bug came back and we just dove right in. Once I was really into it I knew I wanted to do a kids craft book of my own so that my kids and other little ones could have their own book to pour over, inspire, create from on a rainy day, and pass along to the next generation.

What about your kids, do they have a passion for crafting as well?
I think all kids have a penchant for creation. It’s just a matter of finding what ticks for each child. My kids bring different things to the table which birth many of our online DIYS and tutorials. My oldest is mathematical-minded so has always loved shapes, patterns, colours, order, etc. We do a lot of geometric and repetitive crafts for him in that vein. My second son is very imaginative and lives in another world a good majority of the time. He’s very character-oriented and loves toys so we do a lot with that for him. My daughter is two and so is of course very hands on and loves all things sensory. I recently did a floral stamp craft with her and she was very interested in touching, squishing, colouring and patterning whatever mom did. She’s also big into dressing up already.

Bloesem Gazette | Interview with Mer Mag's Merrilee Liddiard

How important is “play time” for kids?
Play time is soo so crucial. It’s the time when children can craft their own world and apply what they are learning on their terms. It breeds creativity, confidence and light heartedness - something us adults could all use a good dose of now and again.

How was the process of working with other creatives on the book?
I loved working with others. It was so important to me to bring on board creatives that I respected, worked well with and would only bring the book to another level I could never get to on my own. I really wanted this book to be set in a world in which a little one would want to escape to - so when you opened its pages you not only wanted to create but you became lost and inspired, to dream and to really be Playful! My editor, Melanie Falick, photographer Nicole Gerulat, designer Brooke Reynolds, and stylists Meta Coleman and Brittany Watson Jepson (as well as all the darling children, props, clothing, hair stylists and so many others involved!) really helped me bring this vision to life! It’s truly a dream come true.

Bloesem Gazette | Interview with Mer Mag's Merrilee Liddiard

What is your favourite craft in the book?
Oh that’s a hard one as it changes all the time! I’m smitten with the cardboard brownstones, but the paper puppets are so fun and versatile, and then there are the doll face necklaces that I really love, but the tiger pinata - that might be my favorite shoot so, oh I don’t know! What’s yours? We are smitten with the tiger pinata (picture to the left)! It’s such a great party decor idea.

Could you share one unforgettable behind-the-scenes moment of making the book? I’m still so fond of the story behind the cover. Meta Coleman had the idea for the overhead shot of the girl with the trapeze doll and I came up with painting the entrance to the circus tent. Then Nicole, who was 8 months pregnant at the time!, climbed a tall ladder (which we spotted her on) to get the shot! It was sort of crazy but so much fun. At the time we just intended this to be the shot for the trapeze doll craft and shot about two days worth of what we thought could be cover shots. We had so many ideas that were almost there but nothing was screaming “Hey, I’m the cover of Playful!”, so seriously a day before having to finalize what the cover would be, and not feeling 100% about anything, I suddenly had this epiphany that we already had the cover, and it was from our Trapeze doll shoot! I quickly comped together a rough cover idea using this photo and sent it off to the editor. Everyone loved it and marketing signed off on it the next day! It was like it was meant to be all along.  

Bloesem Gazette | Interview with Mer Mag's Merrilee Liddiard

Image via Playful.

.. Merrilee Liddiard
.. Grab a copy of the craft book: Playful
.. Read the entire Bloesem Gazette Kids edition

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At home with La Fête


Sometimes a connection just works right away ... and this was certainly the case with Nora Vrba from La Fête   and me. Ever since Nora has become a regular contributor to the BKids craft projects page she and I often chat via email ... so it wasn't only logical that we met in person when i was in AMsterdam last month. 

It always feels a bit like a blind-date when meeting someone after being friends online for a long time. Nora was kind enough to invite me to her home. So I brought my camera (only with a very small close-up lens) and was hoping she would allow me to take some shots. To give you an impression how this lovely Mom of 3 year old Puck has decorated her home.

Nora lives in an apartment on the third and fourth floor in Amsterdam. They completely renovated and connected two floors to each other ... and they have a rooftop garden which is not very common in Amsterdam.




At the end of november 2011, just when Nora decided to quit her job and start as a freelance art-director, she was diagnosed with breast-cancer. After intense treatment Nora was able to fight the cancer and we are all very happy to say this horrible disease has left her body! Of course I was a bit hesitant to ask Nora about this tough period in her life. But she was very open about it and I was in absolute awe about her strength and positive attitude towards the future. Truly inspiring and admirable!!




LaFete_Nora_party_paper  LaFete_Nora_bedroom


The moment Nora found her strength back she wanted to do something productive and so she started her online shop La Fête. All the beautiful party decorations are carefully handmade by herself.

Next to that Nora loves to collect art ... soon she will be writing posts for Bloesem Living and tell us more about where to find, to buy and what to look for when bringing art to your home. 

Today just some lovely impressions from Puck's little corners in their home. Hope you enjoy my images!



All images by me, Irene Hoofs, founder Bloesem blogs.

Nora from La Fête

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Bedroom Love


I am a bit excited and so are my boys ... opa and oma (grandma and grandad) arriving today for a three week visit! Lot's of nice things to do here in Singapore and I will do my best to share a thing or two with you on BKids.

After the lovely start with cute pana I have a lot more eye-candy for you this week ... like the home tour on BloesemLiving including pictures of the daughter's room ... isn't the wallpaper not just perfect?

Couple, Jorine and Egbert-Jan from Buro Jet live here an Sandra from BijzonderMOOI* spoke with them about design, what they like about their home, how they work and life in general. Marjon, the photographer knew exactly how to capture this home in the best way possible and focusing of the charming characteristics of this home.

Buro Jet is amongst many other things known for their fun ceramic snout cups and the beautiful laser lights.

Face to face: a designer's profile with BuroJet



All images by MAll images by Marjon Hoogervorst 

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a new Open House Tour


I can't tell you how happy I'm to finally being able again to show you a beautiful house from a very inspiring mom and artist...this time it's a mom from the Netherlands, her name is Julie Hendriks and she creates and sells unique wall (art) pieces for childrens rooms, Beerlala ....her story and home are both very inspirational...  

Please click here to see the whole Open House Tour... 

..Other Open House Tours..


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