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Mom Story: Sally Roydhouse

Bloesem Kids | Mom Story: Sally Roydhouse

Sally lives in Singapore and very recently published her first book, Find and Seek Singapore.. already one of our favourites and also a big hit amongst customers of the Bloesem shop.

Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs?
My favourite daily online inspiration is without doubt the designfiles.net, I am a huge fan of creator Lucy Feagins as she always presents amazing original content from Australia and it keeps me in the loop as to what is going on at home - it often makes me a bit homesick as well as giving me house envy. I do follow several art/design/interiors/fashion and mommy blogs – notably jessicacomingore.com, joannagoddard.blogspot.sg, garancedore.fr, lovetaza.com, ohjoyblogs.com and my sister’s blog dianaellinger.com (of whom I am always in awe). Locally I love lilreddotfolks, woolfworks.wordpress.com, and of course bloesem.blogs.com.
I am inspired not just by aesthetics but by how people live with family and particularly by creative women in business.

I have always collected picture books as beautiful objects – whether they be architecture or artist monographs, cook books, or children’s picture books, old or new. Book shops are a must – Basheer Graphic Books in the Bras Basah Complex is a treasure trove of inspiration for me. Books are what I love and what I create, so they are what constantly inspire me. I am also an avid consumer of magazines, my favorites at the moment are Peppermint, Frankie and Habitus.

When I work I often listen to podcasts such as Grace Bonney’s ‘After the Jump’, the Creative Mornings Lecture Series, or a great TED talk. Music is also a great motivator for me.

Bloesem Kids | Mom Story: Sally Roydhouse

Bloesem Kids | Mom Story: Sally Roydhouse

What are your children’s favorite items in your house?
I realize that my boys are both quite different in personality and are attracted to different things. They also seem to go through stages of favoring certain ways of play. My eldest Rupert(5) loves dressing up and being ‘the character’ (rather than playing with a figurine), and at the moment he is into being Robin Hood with as many swords/bows and arrows he can get his hands on. He will customize belts into holsters – or stick his sword straight down his pants to get the desired effect, he will wear his sweaty velvetine suit all day if I let him. He has also come to really enjoy playing UNO and board games such as junior Monopoly, and enjoys collecting swap cards.
David(3) will generally tag along with what Rupert is doing, however I have noticed that when he is on his own he has more patience for drawing and painting, taking his time to colour and is good at tinkering away by himself. He is also very in to animals and is almost maternal with his soft cuddly dog collection.
They both love books and reading has always been part of the bedtime routine (to the point where 2 year old Rupert would not go to sleep unless I read 6 books!).

Bloesem Kids | Mom Story: Sally Roydhouse

Bloesem Kids | Mom Story: Sally Roydhouse

How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?
We see it as a good excuse to invite our kid’s friends and their parents over for lots of yummy food (usually a bbq with lots of salads) and make a cake (kids are easily pleased in this department) and have a good time – lots of kids dancing and running around, a sprinkler on the lawn is always a hit. Simple pleasures.
What are your all time favorite books for children?
I have lots of favorites from when I was a kid – Would You Rather by John Birmingham, Mr Magnolia by Quentin Blake, as well as a beautiful and well thumbed Treasury of Animal Stories that my parents still have at their place. Anthony Browne’s books (Gorilla, Changes) were intriguing to me as a young girl and equally both my boys will ask for his books over and over again.
I remember reacting to certain picture books as a child – noticing how colour might bleed off a page, the shock of negative space, dark versus light, the interaction of the text – having an awareness of how the dynamics of the layout can contribute to whether the story visually is memorable. And this is something I think about when I design now. The overall package of the book is also significant.

You also can’t go past a well-crafted story written in verse such as anything by Julia Donaldson – my kids love all her books.

Bloesem Kids | Mom Story: Sally Roydhouse

Tell us about your book. What inspired you to write it?
Taking some time off from my work as a designer and having my children really was a career catalyst of sorts. I found myself reading mountains of picture books to my kids and loving it again. Revisiting books I read as a child to my own children triggered a lot of memories of my early years and this sort of ‘sparked’ the germ of an idea to create Find and Seek Singapore.

Like other mums with littlies – you have plenty of time to think but not that much time to do. Taking that first step and starting the project was key, and staying committed to it was the challenge. So little by little I started to chip away at building the imagery of the book, forming a narrative about a boy who visits Singapore and discovers the sights, sounds and tastes of this amazing city that we infact live in.

I felt that there wasn’t a lot on the market that Celebrated Singapore through the eyes of a child. Having two very active boys that needed to be kept busy mostly outdoors meant we are always on the lookout for fun things to do, and our activities together was plenty of inspiration for the book.

Also, even though I was very happy and grateful to be taking a break from work to raise my children, I felt that I needed a creative outlet. I didn’t have enough time to commit to employment that required regular hours. So, I started working on the book partly to keep my brain working and creative skills evolving, and if nothing else to create a keepsake for my children of our time spent here in Singapore.

Bloesem Kids | Mom Story: Sally Roydhouse

What movies do your children like to watch, is there one from your childhood you would love to show them?
They do enjoy watching movies although they do get scared quite easily (Lion King too scary mum). They both adored Frozen which was a pleasant change from the usual boy category. I really enjoyed watching Planes 2 with them for the amazing scenery around the world, quite spectacular. A firm favorite is Epic which features a fantastical world of characters of tiny ‘leaf men’ who fly around on birds wielding swords (so of course it is popular with Rupert).
I have introduced Rupert to E.T which was a hit and I would love to show him the The Never Ending Story.  
How do your children prefer to spend their leisure time?
They both love being outside preferably with friends. We have some lovely parks in our neighborhood with no shortage of buddies to play with. They love riding their bikes or scooters, kicking a ball and sometimes flying a kite. They get very tetchy if they are inside for too long, and I always joke that they are ‘like dogs and need to have their daily walk’ (or run-around time outside).
The hose, water table and sand pit are also an endless supply of entertainment.
Where would you like to go to on vacation - with or without your children?
There are so many places I have on my wish list. We have been so lucky since moving to Singapore as we have had a lot of opportunity to travel – pre and post having kids. I would love to travel to Japan for a family skiing holiday.

Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food lover’ or both?
I am both. We cook all our meals with the occasional night out. I grew up on a farm where everything on our plate was mostly home grown, country life does tend to instill a love of food, particularly seasonal produce. My mum is a fantastic and very creative cook who never seems to tire of producing amazing food to feed the family – I sometimes get a bit stuck in a rut.

Books, websites, local shops you would recommend for tips and ideas about kids crafting?
You cant go past Spotlight and Art friend. Pinterest is an absolute goldmine.

Bloesem Kids | Mom Story: Sally Roydhouse

Are you a crafter or DIY person?
I would say I am more a DIY person in terms of what we do with our house. I like using found and more eclectic pieces that may need a little TLC (I found an abandoned cane chest of drawers on Changi Road which I rescued and revived), we have a lot of second-hand furniture which I love for their charm and the story that is behind them. I enjoy working in the garden and our little vegie patch.

I put my ‘craft’ on with the kids when they are at a loss for something to do, we have a lot of art supplies – inks, paints, papers, stamps, beautiful pencils and chalks – some of which I used to create the textures of the illustrations in my book Find and Seek Singapore.

What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
If we have an old box or large piece of cardboard they love painting it or re-purposing it to become something else – a boat, a city, an airport, or a crocodile. They also love cooking, so we often make banana cake together.

Bloesem Kids | Mom Story: Sally Roydhouse

Can you mention some of your ‘how-to-raise-your-kid’ advice?
- babies need to feel secure in order to sleep
- boys need to be outside and move around every day
- keep putting the broccoli on the plate
- be consistent
- make time for you and your husband
- sometimes a bit of ‘quiet time’ (code:TV) is good for everyone!
- if else fails put on some music and dance

I lose my patients with them often and I am no expert, I am forever learning.

What is a normal day with your children? What do you do on the weekends?
On the weekends we usually go out somewhere as a family for breakfast. Places such as ‘Loysel’s Toy’ and ‘South Coast’ are fantastic as you can actually have a decent conversation, enjoy a good coffee and yummy eggs, whilst the kids have space to scoot around on their scooters/bikes. We then follow this with a walk around the surrounding area. The kids love Gardens by the Bay or the Botanical Gardens for a good run around. On Sundays we might have a bbq with our friends in the park.

Bloesem Kids | Mom Story: Sally Roydhouse

Bloesem Kids | Mom Story: Sally Roydhouse

What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?
The kids love to travel, so they are always up for getting on a plane and flying somewhere exciting (who doesn’t). We have also had some great family trips in the car into Malaysia, across on the ferry to Bintan, or even just exploring our own backyard here in Singapore – there is always more to exlpore.


If you are living in a foreign country, how do you feel about it? How do you meet new people, make new friends? What is it that you miss most about 'home’?

I have lived in Singapore for eight years now and I am still constantly amazed by what a fantastic opportunity it has been for me and my family – in work and play. It feels like I have lived through a few important life stages here.

I think that when you become an expat you become a lot better at making friends and connecting with people of all different cultures/ages/walks of life. I hope that when we eventually do go ‘home’ we will continue to create new friends and be ‘open’ and not just caught in our own ‘bubble’. We have made some amazing friends here who are from all around the world.
 
Whilst spending time at home in Australia with family is so precious we want to make the most of our time here and are far better off for the experience.

Thank you Sally for sharing your home and thoughts with us! ~ irene

- Find and Seek books

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Mom Story: Peta from Love Mae

Peta-girl

How wonderful to introduce the lovely Peta from LoveMae to you.... she is the founder of love mae ... you know that beautiful fabric wall-decalls and wall stickers label with all the romantic colors and patterns ... "Love a little bit more passionately, live a little more recklessly and nurture a little more deeply. It is you that notices the precious detail in life and enjoys the moments that are truly important."

Peta lives in Stokers Siding in the Byron Bay area above Sydney together with her husband and two daughters.

Do you keep your children’s play areas separate, or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?
I must admit I've always loved the idea of a children's creative area where they are able to hang out and create chaos. I imagined this as a space where they don't have to hear me ask them to tidy up constantly, so I made one of the rooms in our house into a craft room. I was so excited and thought that my our little home might be a bit tidier for it - we live in such a small cottage and mess can really take over very easily. It didn't work though, my girls follow me everywhere so if I'm cooking the bench gets covered in an amazing amount of stuff. I do however get a bit strict with the end of the day clean up. I figure I'm teaching them good habits, but I must admit it's because I work quite a bit when they go to bed at night and I need to house tidy to be able to concentrate better.

Cubby-girls

Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, or blogs?
All of the above. I'm a very visual person and love being filled with inspiration. I'm an addict. Small crazy bursts is all I can squeeze in lately, but I'm sure I'll make more time for it soon. Blogs are much more easier for me to access and enjoy. I find I completely go off on a tangent when give the chance.

What are your children’s favorite items in your house?
In the house, the love their craft supplies. I  think all of us would be lost without them.

Some tidying tips? Do your children tidy up after themselves?
I love a tidy space, in fact its the only way I can clearly think. Not a good trait with two crafty girls. I promise I'm trying to work on it for their sake. I dream of built in cupboards where everything hides behind doors. In the meantime we find ourselves being quite minimal, we don't have lots of things. Living in the country most of our time is spent outdoors. Every month or so I do a complete tidy but otherwise they are encouraged (or cheekily tricked) to tidy at the end of each day. Especially when a cubby house has taken over most of the house.

Hutch

Studio 2

If you are living in a foreign country, how do you feel about it? How do you meet new people, make new friends? What is it that you miss most about 'home'?
I don't live in a foreign country, but 5 years ago we moved a rural location. A little cottage in a little village. Finding new friends that you truly love the company of can be difficult, especially when life is so busy. I find that my children seem to attract like minded people. It's an amazing ability they have and of course it's always convenient that their children and ours children get along. I often fantasize about living close to all my good friends, but with them scattered everywhere I know it will never be possible.

What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?
The perfect day would definitely start with a little bit of a sleep in - not so much that the morning is gone, but enough that you wake up naturally. Straight into the car and down the beach. A big swim and sandy play to work up a big appetite. We've got a family breakfast tradition going on the moment so we would head home for this. The rest of the day would be hanging out. We really love to entertain too so friends to join us in the afternoon and into the night would be a perfect day for us.

What is a normal day with your children? What do you do on the weekends?
It's warm here now and I can feel the summer sun. Our weekdays are very busy. Lots of school work and all sorts of activities including piano, circus and swimming lessons. Gosh children have so much going on. Our weekends are filled with beach, gardening playing and friends. We love all our weekends so very much. I'm travelling a lot at the moment so our weekends are filled with each other. 

Back hills

Backyard

Can you mention some of your ‘how-to-raise-your-kid’ advice?
Some days I still can't believe that I'm a mother. I'm not sure if I have any advice as I feel like I'm stumbling along making all kinds of mistakes. I try to include my girls in everything and always remain honest with them. I don't really believe in the little untruths to get through a situation. I think understanding is the most amazing trait we can posses, and honesty has a big part to play in this. I believe you can love whatever you understand.

What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
We are crafting mad in this house. Crazy messy crafters. My girls are amazing at turning nothing into something. I stick to that sort of DIY. My husband is a joiner so I try to steer clear of the DIY at home ... don't want to mess with his manhood. In the Love Mae studio it's a different story though, I wield a drill with passion.

Are you a crafter or DIY person?
Crafter when my husband is home and DIY when he's not. Its a much happier home that way.

Studio wall

Dauther-packaging

Girls room

Books, websites, local shops you would recommend for tips and ideas about kids crafting?
I'm a big Hello Sandwich fan. Everything Ebony Bizys does is wonderful. My girls and I find lots of amazing craft projects on lovely blogs.

Pinterest is amazing for storing these ideas. We are also lucky enough to have some great craft and origami books. We went through such a huge origami phase lately.

We are very excited about a new movement in a local town. A collective called Hey Maker is just about to deliver pure crafting goodness. Its a collective of women who see the need for a place where crafters can meet and craft together. They have classes for all ages and are really inventive with their courses. If only that kinda thing would roll out like McDonalds.

Cubby house

How do you like to celebrate birthday's and other special days in your house?
We do the year on year off thing. One year we have a party and the next the kids choose what they want to do. We find it really fun. I don't think I could do a party every birthday. I've got this problem with wanting to do absolutely everything myself and I end up quite a mess at the end of it. I think mothers are crazy like that.  When I'm sipping my wine at the end of the birthday party day I always declare I'm crazy if I do it again. 

Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food lover’ or both?
I'm part time both. At home I'm a cook, it goes with the country setting. I have an incredible talent of keeping the larder full as it's a 15 minute drive to the nearest town. I love cooking and entertaining. I travel alot with Love Mae so I balance this with dining out in every city I find myself in. The restaurant trail I find in Sydney, Melbourne and New York will always be a huge passion of mine. I get so incredibly excited when I find a good restaurant.

Where would you like to go to on vacation - with or without your children?
Our next vacation is to Cairns (Australia) to watch the solar eclipse. We are very excited and have a few side trips planned in the area. As for the next unplanned one, I'm doing my best to convince everyone that we need to buy a caravan. Then we could holiday without involving airports. My husband thinks I'm just trying to add to his work load, he knows I'll buy some vintage wreck that needs a complete overhaul. I drive him mad with my love for things that need 'a little work'.

Dog-girls

Family

~ Thank you Peta from LoveMae for sharing your home and thoughts with us! ~ irene

..Love Mae

 

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Mom Story: Rosie Jansen from Tribe Bags

Rosie and son Toby-Introduction-02

I’m Rosie Jansen, mom to an active two-year old, my son Toby. I’m also the founder of Tribe Bags, a luxury line of stand-out leather diaper bags. Our signature diaper bag, the “Singapore Sling”, was named Best Changing Bag in the prestigious UK Junior Design Awards, and is often seen carried by several Hollywood celebrity mums including Katherine Heigl and Denise Richards. While I was born and bred in Australia, I now live in sunny and humid Singapore with my husband and son.

Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs? 

I collect contemporary Asian art and several of my friends are art curators and gallery owners, so I’m always looking around for pieces that take my fancy. I’m running out of wall space though, so I don’t buy as much art as I used to. I’m always looking at interior design magazines and lately, blogs. Besides Bloesem, I like checking out designsponge, and apartment therapy for general ideas and inspiration. My taste stays fairly constant but I have fallen in love with colour over the past few years, and that love has translated into my designs for Tribe as well. Colour works well in my home because I have a backdrop of a lot of stone-coloured and light wood fixtures and furnishings.

Rosie's Home

What are your children’s favorite items in your house? 

When I was pregnant. I bought a very modern and generous-sized rocking chair which I placed next to my son’s crib. Since birth, my son and I have cuddled up in that chair every night and read book after book. Toby loves the chair and has become quite territorial about it.

Rosie and son Toby-Rocking Chair-Favourite Item in House-01

How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house? 

I always make a nice creative sign celebrating the occasion – “Toby’s 1st Birthday”, “Toby’s 1st Christmas” etc. – and make sure that the sign appears in photographs taken on the day. As Toby grows older, it will be nice to look back at photos and to instantly know how old he was at the particular point in time when the photograph was taken. It’s a good way of keeping track of time without having to look at the date stamp of when certain photographs were taken. 

Rosie's Artwork-05

What are your all time favorite books for children? 

Toby and I are both obsessed with books, and they’re my absolute favourite things to give as baby shower and newborn baby gifts. I love Australian author Mem Fox and her books Hello Baby, The Green Sheep, Time for Bed, as well as classic children’s books like Peter Rabbit and Winnie The Pooh. I also enjoy reading fairy tales to my son.

Rosie's Artwork-04

How do you buy your books? Bookstores?  Online? 

I like visiting bookstores as it gives me an opportunity to flick through the pages of a book to get an idea of the story line and to also see the illustrations. I have a soft spot for beautifully illustrated books. 

Luckily for me, there’s been a growth of lovely independent bookstores in Singapore, like Woods in the Books which specializes in children’s books. Another one I like is Littered With Books, which carries books for both children and adults, so there’s something for Toby and myself. Both stores have a very relaxed and warm vibe, which just makes the shopping and reading experience so much more pleasurable. 

Woods in The Books

What movies do your children like to watch, is there one from your childhood you would love to show them? 

My son Toby just loves Thomas the Tank Engine. Currently, he doesn’t have the attention span to watch a movie, but he likes short 10-30 minute episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine and various other animations like Shaun the Sheep that I also love. I liked the Smurfs when I was a child and have around 100 Smurf figurines, which my mother kept and stored for me, but my son just isn’t interested in them!

Rosie's Artwork-03

How do your children prefer to spend their leisure time? 

I suspect my son isn’t dissimilar from most young boys his age - he’s active for the whole day and never stops! He loves playing at our local park (on the slippery slide and in the sandpit), playing at home with toy cars and trains, and really enjoys running around and just making his own fun. He just turned two and has started go to pre-nursery school several mornings a week which is something he really enjoys due to the mix of different activities and the company of other toddlers.

Rosie and son Toby-Introduction-01

Thank you Rosie for sharing your lovely Mom Story with us!

..Tribe Bags

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