My name is Jantine Vaartjes, I am a mom of a little boy called Storm who is now 14 months old. I live with my boyfriend Christian and Storm in the Netherlands in de Beemster, a beautiful part of the Netherlands just near Amsterdam. Since a couple of years I have started my own company called April & May. I am an interior stylist and love to inspire and advice people about interior related things. I have my own studio at home where I work and develop my ideas. My own creative place where everything happens. I also have got my own blog about interior, design and lifestyle where I want to inspire people. It’s all about a home, a story, a feeling and a smile and brings posts about everything I find and see, about me and my works as a stylist. Last year I started working together with a good friend of mine to develop styling concepts and inspire people with our images and ideas. We work together by the name Birdsintrees and will launch our site this year.
What kind of house do you live in - are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you find lacking or would like to change?
We live in a new build house in de Beemster. Despite the house is new build it is not in a neighbourhood with all one of the same houses. This project is a sort of rebuild country estate with only a few houses in the style of the 17th – 18th century. Before we bought this home we lived in a city called Alkmaar in an apartment surrounded by restaurants and shops. But our wish to become a mom and dad made us look for something bigger. If you would asked me some years ago where I was going to live I would never have expected it would be here but in our search for our new home we came across this project and loved it.
What is it you like best about living here?
We are surrounded by lots of nature and farmhouses with animals. The Beemster is on the UNESCO world heritage list so you can imagine it’s a beautiful surrounding, especially in spring and summer. But we are also very close to cities like Amsterdam and Alkmaar and also the beach is just near our place. So whatever we want to do we can...
Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?
Yes I love it…ofcourse because it is what I do as a stylist but also because I love being in a home that really fits the people who are living in it. Because of my work I see lots of new things, products and beautiful interiors so I think there is always a project going on in our home. I like to change the feeling of our home in winter and summer with little things like color, fabrics and accessories. Now our little boy is not a real baby anymore I am thinking already about changing some things in his room ….
Do you keep your children’s play areas very separate or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?
Storm has got his own room with enough space. But because he is just a little boy now most of his toys are now in the living room. I like to keep the living room really the living room so when he is playing there are lots of toys on the floor. When we are leaving or he is asleep I always tidy things up. Just by putting the toys in nice basket and everything is all set and done. We do have some toys who fit our home perfectly and the are just part of the furniture pieces we have.
Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs?
I have got lots of magazines like the dutch interior magazines VTwonen, 101woonideeen, Elle decoration but also love the Scandinavian magazines and other foreign interior magazines. Lifestyle magazines are also piled up in my office and ofcourse I have got my list of blogs to read. But I have to admit it is not always working to read everything. My favourite place to story my inspiration is Pinterest. This is such a wonderful place to have your own online inspiration board. I think it was your blog where I got to know this fantastic place. My Iphone is always by me side to take pictures or make a notice when I am somewhere and see something nice to remember.
What are your children’s favorite items in your house?
Because Storm is still little now he mostly plays with little cars now. He loves Miffy and every night I read him a miffy story. And….. he loves moms and dads mobile phones. When he sees them he wants them and he loves the Talking Hippo app on my Iphone. Making funny noices and talking to it to hear his voice repeating him is a real fun play…We gave him his own little baby phone now to play with but of course that is not so nice as the real phones we have…
What's it like to raise a child in your town?
We moved from the city to a more rural place because we wanted a garden and more space in case we got children. Now with our little boy it is really nice to have a outside space and bigger home to live in. When he is a little bit older he can enjoy playing outside more then when we lived in the middle of the city.
What is a normal day with your children? What do you do on weekends?
Storm goes 3 days in the week to my mother who then takes care of him. She also babysits my nephew Kick who is 3 years old now. In the morning my boyfriend takes Storm with him to my mother (his company is in the same place as my parents) and at the end of the day he takes him home again. He has already got his meal then so when he gets home he can play for a little while before going to bed. I am privileged to have such a great mom like mine. She loves having her grand children around and I cannot think of a better place for Storm to be. The rest of the week Storm is at home and we play, go for a walk. When he sleeps I can work a little bit, do some household things and try to have a moment for myself (trying hard…but is not working most of the time…)
What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
Not many right now because Storm is too little…but definitely want to do so when he is older.
Are you a crafter or DIY person?
Bot I think…
How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?
In December we celebrated Storm his first birthday. I made his birthday card myself and we got a nice birthday cake with his picture on it. I made some children take-a-way gifts to take home. It was a nice tree from Jurianne Matter on top of little cake. I planned to make some felted garlands but my felt order arrived to late to got this done. So it was balloons without the self-made garlands. Storm did not really understood what was going on but it was nice to have friends and family around.
What are all time favorite books for the children?
Now it really is miffy. He loves this little bunny and everytime he sees it he smiles. I try to read some other books like Dikkie Dik the cat but Miffy is stil his favourite.
What movies do your children like to watch, is there one from your childhood you would love to show them too?
Now Storm really loves BabyTV. This is a tv channel especially for little children with really nice songs and stories. He loves the colors, movement, sounds and recognizes some things already and is making little dancing moves when watching. So cute…
Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food lover’ or both?
Do you cook together with your children? Does Dad cook?
I do not cook together with Storm for now, but he likes to look when I make something. Dad also cooks, mostly when it’s weekend.
What kind of place do you like to go to on vacation with and without the children?
Last year we went for the first time on a holiday trip with Storm. He was then 9 months old. We wanted to go somewhere with nice weather but not too far away by plane because we didn’t know how Storm would like it. We went too Lanzarote with him and everything went great. Before we had children we went to places like NYC and Aruba and some European islands. We really want to plan some citytrips but I think we will do this without Storm because I really don’t think if he would like it that much. So nice, warm, relaxing holidays it will be with tree of us and some weekend trips for mom and dad because I find it hard to be without my little boy for more then 2-3 days now.