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13 posts categorized "..mom in Australia"

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: Suzi from Babyology

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My name is Suzi and I live in Sydney, Australia with my husband and two sons - Felix, 7, and Theo, 4 (as well as two Burmese cats!). I'm Senior Writer, Production and Community Manager at Babyology, an Australian design blog for baby and children's products. I am an avid photographer and I like nothing better than getting out with my boys and my camera. Luckily this works in well with my job so I get to blend my passion for design and photography with writing - it's heaven!

What kind of house do you live in - are you and your family happy here, or is there anything you find lacking, or would like to change?

 We live in a large Federation double-fronted house in the inner west of Sydney. It had an overhaul in the 1980s and is a lovely home (except for the shocking salmon-coloured kitchen), but we're about to transform the rear extension to make it a modern marvel. Many homes around here are like that - we like to keep the old-fashioned facade, making surprisingly modern choices out back. We are very happy here - the children love the backyard and we are fortunate to have a fairly large one compared to many in the area.

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What do you like best about living there?

Our area is very multicultural, we have fabulous neighbours and can walk to the supermarket, schools, cafes and deli in five minutes. We are totally spoilt for choice really! We made sure the kids were both cafe-trained very early in their lives and they are well-versed in how to behave at a cafe.

There are those who think that city life means a lack of community but that is definitely not the case where we are. I run into people I know every day, we have brilliant parks which are well-maintained, I help with reading groups at my son's school and have weekly playdates with friends. I wouldn't live anywhere else in Sydney but I guess most Sydneysiders choose their patch and think it's the best. I grew up in the country and sometimes struggle with the congestion of the city, but the inner west affords us a nice large house rather than living on top of each other. It's a good balance.

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Do you like to spend time decorating your home and your child’s room?

It's the thing I love to do most! We are right now in a period of change with the upcoming renovation so I'm in the midst of planning brand new decor for each of my boys' rooms. Our bedroom is always a work in progress - we added a king-sized bed in January which meant all-new linen. Thrilled me senseless, it did! While I love a lot of colour usually, I keep our bedroom serene in monochrome... with a pile of books on the go.

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Do you keep your children’s play area separate or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?

The boys make anything their plaything - seriously, the sofas take a beating on a daily basis, being subject to acrobatics and rumbles. I don't confine the play areas but I do insist on toys going back into their rooms at the end of the day. When they were little we'd have a box to pile everything in and bring out again in the morning but now their interests revolve much more around physical activity and sports. Inside life often happens around this lovely little table in the living room - the boys eat, draw and read sitting there, then when they're in bed it's our coffee table!

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

My Google reader is stuffed to the brim with the best interior design and architecture blogs. Some blogs I follow are The Design Files, Contemporist, Fresh Home and Decor 8. Of course I'm a five-year devotee of Babyology and my kids have many beautiful products that we've written about - sometimes my job is a hazard!

My Pinterest boards are overflowing with ideas and inspiration and I have been a long-time reader of home decor magazines such as InsideOut and Real Living. I am ecstatic about finally getting to do my first renovation and need to be patient in this planning stage because I have been obsessed with interiors and architecture for about 17 years!

What places in your neighborhood do you like to shop at?

We have an awesome deli and an an Italian bread shop called Luigi's where you have to line up at 6am to get the best crusty bread on the planet. I also love our local greengrocer who has been there for thirty years and of course the Portuguese chicken shop where they slather the delightful grilled chicken burger with the best chilli outside of Portugal. We have just about every nation in the world living in our area; it's wonderfully multicultural. Oh and I mustn't forget to mention the Vietnamese Pho - nearby Marrickville has Pho that makes you feel like you've been healed. Oh and fresh Chinese dumplings... can you tell we love our food?

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What is it like to raise a child in your town?

Sometimes I bemoan the lack of freedom my children have compared to when I was a child. I had a huge field across the road from my house which I used to roam about and the most my kids can do solo is ride up and down the street on the footpath. It's very much a city life but we have occasional breaks to the country. I like to think they're getting some of the things I didn't get to do much as a child, like lots of trips to museums, shows and parks and cafes.

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What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?

Anything active that involves coffee and tickling. Almost every day is awesome with these little guys. It's such a relief to be past the baby and toddler phase - we can do so much more in a day. They particularly love the skate park - when they're happy, we're happy.

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What do you do on the weekends?

We'll sometimes take a trip out of town, but mostly we take them to their swimming, dance and music lessons as well as Saturday soccer. I always said my kids wouldn't do too much in the way of scheduled activities, but they both adore what they do and never complain - they're at the stage where they want to be active all the time. Weekends always include a cafe or two and often a ride down by the river!

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Where would you like to go on vacation - with or without your children? 

That's easy; Tokyo, Japan. Babyology's founders, Mandi and Ben Gunsberger went there a few years ago and I loved seeing all the pictures. I also have a friend there from my high school days (she was an exchange student) who I'm dying to visit. Plus there's Tokyo Disney and Junie Moon, the Blythe doll shop. I could go on and on about why I want to go there, but mostly it's that I want to take the children overseas. It'll have to wait though, because of the renovation.

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What places do your children love to visit?

The Powerhouse Museum. The membership is worth its weight in gold. It's the perfect place for kids on a rainy, cold day in wintery Sydney and it's always hands-on so I can just let them explore. We were there the other day and it just never loses its magic, even in the midst of a big renovation as it is currently! Other than that, we just can't beat the park. We ride, scooter and skate board around every park in the area. It's just what we do and it brings so much happiness. I know I'm never going to forget these days of simple joys.

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What do you do with all the projects your children make at home or in school?

Don't ask! I have two years' worth sitting there waiting for me to allocate it some time. It's very neat and out of the way, but that cardboard double decker bus is going to need a serious storage strategy!

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Are there musical instruments in your house?

There are many! We have a digital piano, electronic drum kit, guitars and keyboards. Oh and my violin from when I was a kid.

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Thank so much Suzi for this great Mom Story!

..Babyology

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Mom Story: Food Writer Sophie Hansen

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Hello! My name is Sophie Hansen. I'm a mother of two (Alice 4 and Thomas 2), food writer and farmer (or at least married to one). I love growing, sourcing and cooking good food with my kids and write about this on my blog, Local is Lovely. I also contribute recipes to JustB Australia, Village Voices and Kidspot Australia. We live on a farm about four hours west of Sydney and farm deer Mandagery Creek according to holistic principles. 

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 moderately-sized farm house in a beautiful valley on the back slopes of Orange’s Mount Canobolas. When I moved here six years ago to live with my now husband, it was a functional brick rectangle with an interior palate of dark brown, pale brown and a little more dark brown. But just before we had our first child Alice (now 4), we gave the place a modest face-lift and now it’s a happy, bright and much-loved family home.

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We love living here. We have space and gorgeous views from every window and the kids have vast spaces as their own private playground. Thomas is a busy two-year-old and loves the fact that he can roam freely within the house paddock, pushing his bike and wheelbarrow as long and far as he likes (within the gates of reason!). Alice has a lovely old pony who lives in a paddock just next to the house and she often steals apples and carrots from the fridge for him. I know this sounds trite but I couldn’t be happier that my kids are growing up in the country with so much space and freedom to explore.

If I could change anything though it would be my lack of pantry and kitchen storage;  I write and test lots of recipes for my blog and other websites (justb, Kidspot, Village Voices) and often dream of having more benches and a proper walk in pantry. One day our budget will allow for this but for now, for us, its perfect.

MS3

What do you like best about living here?

The aspect. Every morning I look out our window, up the valley, and catch my breath at the views. To us this valley is paradise.

Do you like to spend time decorating your home and your children’s room?

Yes! I love fiddling around with our rooms and am constantly moving furniture and paintings around. It drives my husband crazy!

MS5

Do you keep your children’s play area separate, or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?

We do have a playroom but it’s also my office and a spare bedroom. In theory the toys stay in there but in practice they migrate to every room in the house as the day progresses.

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

For Alice it’s her desk in the playroom, I try to keep it stocked with paper and pens/pencils and she loves hanging out there drawing her own little creations. Tom loves his big box of trucks!

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Some tidying tips?  Do your children tidy up after themselves?

Er...I wish! I was getting sick of Alice changing outfits ten times a day and leaving piles of clothes in her room so now we pick an outfit the night before, shut the cupboard door and then that’s it for the day. Day two and so far so good!

What places in your neighbourhood do you like to shop at? 

For food? In Orange I love A Slice of Orange and Totally Local. For clothes, coffee and gifts it’s Hawkes General Store. Twenty minutes in the other direction from our farm is the beautiful town of Canowindra, it is home to the fantastic homewares shop Bendy Street Emporium.

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What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?

My perfect day would involve just the four of us hanging out on the farm all day - no driving to town, no work, no phone calls and no computers! We’d take Alice and Chutney (aforementioned pony!) for a walk, cook some sausages over a fire and maybe move some stock around. Just the four of us not going anywhere all day. 

What is a normal day with your children?  What do you do on the weekends?

When they aren’t at pre-school or family day care (three days a week), the kids and I are either hanging out at home or driving around our region visiting farmers and cooks for my blog, Local is Lovely. I think it’s really great that they are getting so much exposure to the way our food is produced and the amazing farmers and cooks in our area. They are learning first-hand that foods come in and out of season and that really nice people work really hard to grow the good food we eat. As well as being my Local is Lovely ‘roadies’ the kids have all the standard engagements such as swimming and ballet lessons, play dates and home days. As for weekends, if we aren’t travelling to farmers markets we spend our precious free Saturdays and Sundays just quietly together on the farm.

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Can you mention some of your ‘how-to-raise-your-kid’ advice?

My kids are still pretty little and like all Mum’s I have days when I feel I’m doing pretty well and days when it all seems a bit too hard. In general though I try to do these three things every day; make them laugh as much as possible, keep them active and feed them well. 

Do your children have friends over often? If yes, what activities do they do?

We live a good half hour hour of town so don’t have a constant stream of visitors. That said, we love seeing our friends so often invite them out for a cup of tea and some cake. There’s an old set of cattle yards near the house with a ramp and some sturdy sliding gates and that seems to be the big draw card for every child who visits us! They love climbing up, over, in and around the yards and jumping off the ramp. We have also tied a rope ladder to an old pine tree so the kids can access their little tree house. I generally find that the kids just need to get started with a play ‘scenario’ and then they’re off and running with the story. This week we converted an old apple bin into a pirate ship and that has provided loads of play ideas.

Ms11

What are your all time favorite books for children?

Because we spend so much time in the car, we go through lots of Audio Books, our favourites are Winnie the Pooh, Charlie and Lola, Dogger by Shirley Hughes and Mem Fox’s collection of stories. For actual books, my kids love the ‘There’s a Hippopotamus on the roof eating cake’ series, Dr Seuss plus all of the Madeleine books.

How do you buy your books? Bookstores?  Online? 

I spend a lot of time writing about the merits supporting local food merchants and try to do the same with other items we buy, from books to clothes and home-wares. We have a handful of really great bookstores here in Orange and I love to shop at all of them. I know it’s cheaper to buy online but we share a community with these bookstores and the people behind them. They support us by buying our meat so we like to support them in turn. Plus I love love love book shops and find the experience of going in to town and coming home with a crisp new book in my bag much more fun than ordering one online.

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What are some nice activities you can do with children in your area, and what would you recommend when people are visiting?

We have some really beautiful parks here Orange and our favourite is the historic Cook Park with it’s gorgeous old rotunda, glasshouses and fish ponds. In the park’s centre is a little shop called The Guildry, selling home made biscuits, slices, jams and preserves plus beautifully knitted baby and children’s jumpers, bonnets and booties. The Guildry is a real gem and all the ladies who bake, sew and knit its inventory work there on a roster system. A little further out of town is Lake Canobolas, a stunning piece of water surrounded by walking tracks, playgrounds and a little further onwards, orchards, vineyards and mountains.

What movies do your children like to watch?

We try not to watch too much television but do love cuddling up on the couch to watch a good movie. Most of our family’s favourites are old classics from Pollyanna to the Princess Bride and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

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Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food lover’ or both?

Both I think! I have spent my career writing about food and spent three years living in Northern Italy working for the Slow Food movement. Now I am a primary producer and am incredibly proud that we grow such beautiful animals via a holistic farming system that is both economically and environmentally sustainable.

Do you cook together with your children? Does Dad cook?

Yes, we all love cooking and eating together. Because Tim works from home we usually share all three daily meals together and all share the cooking. I admit I do the lions’ share but everyone helps. Alice is just getting interested in what happens in the kitchen and it’s such a joy to me to see her mixing, stirring and cooking so happily.

MS9

What a lovely Mom Story, thank you Sophie!

..Local is Lovely

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Mom Story: Julz from Peachie Kids Art

MS1

Hi...I’m Julz....I’m a 40+ girl with two kids Maddy 5 and Sam 3. While on maternity leave I indulged my passion for photography and created a series of art works for kids. Peachie Kids Art  is a culmination of my life, a life filled with craft, art and anything creative. ...Stylish art for stylish families. I live in Sydney, near the beach and love it. I’m happy....I’m lucky and I’m trying to make the most of my life. I believe anything is possible...I believe you can achieve your dreams, you just need to know what you want to give up to get them... hhmmmnn sound cryptic??? No... someone told me this once and I believe them.. you just can’t have everything, well not all at once anyway.

What do you like best about living there?

Welcome to my home, it’s light, bright, and great for entertaining. We often entertain and I love cooking for people who enjoy good food. I think the best thing about our house is the space... there is room for everyone all the time. No room feels cramped.

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Where do you look for inspiration?

Being a stylist also, I’m constantly out and about and on the look out for things, and I tend to get inspiration from each purchase rather than trying to achieve a look, so to speak. I find if I really love something and bring it home it tends to fit in.

Do you like to spend time decorating your home and your children’s rooms?

Yes, I have had many hours of joy decorating our house. I decorated the whole house with comfort and balance in mind, hoping to creative a house that makes sense of every room. By this I mean for example , a bedroom is for rest and rehabilitation so I used dark colors that are soothing and peaceful. My daughters room is painted in a dark  plum color that should last her quiet a few years. The art work featured is called ‘Cream Camelia's’ 80cmx120cm canvas and I think perfectly displays the philosophy behind my art works ...which is to create art works that stand the test of time. 

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My son’s room is a bright and a little room so we grounded the walls by painting the bottom third a dark blue color. The art work featured here is ‘Aerial Acrobatics’ and is 45cmx45cm

Our bedroom is large so we cosy’ed it up by painting it a calming blue. I love being in here, its relaxing and a whole world away from my busy life. 

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Our lounge room is my indulgence, it’s dark, calming and a great to entertain in winter months. I love having dinner parties in here, not many of late I have to admit sadly...  just too busy.. We do however use this room to chill out and read. It’s not used that often by the kids as they tend to like being near us and the kitchen, and I secretly.. (don’t tell anyone)... I like having a room that doesn’t need tidying up to sit in and relax in..

The Kitchen has just been renovated and I love the tiles.. graphic, modern and defiantly a feature. The clocks are Ikea buys which I painted black and wrote Sydney in one London in the other, just so I don’t call the family at the wrong time. The chalk board door is our spelling list this week and shopping list another.. I need to write things down... I never remember things and just quietly...I’m not very organized!

The office is usually ( in my opinion) orderly chaos.!!. well orderly to me anyway... juggling 100 things at once it’s often the last place I feel like tidying.. so no photos here I’m afraid, just a close up of my creative sewing draws with art work ‘Love 145’  20cm x20cm and ‘Poppies pink flowers’ above 60cm x90cm.

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What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?

A perfect day with my kids would include loads of cuddles...... everyday they remind me how lucky I am. I do however, love being home with them, we try to make time to just be... everyone can choose to play together or just potter on their own.... Some top advice I received and am happy to share is... it’s good for kids to get bored at home..., it helps them use their imagination..and get creative, problem solving and thinking.I remember as a kid myself being happy at home. I was lucky enough that my parents let me make mess and try things for myself. I always cooked and made a dreadful mess and helped my Dad fix things... I think its why I’m always busy doing something, never bored or frustrated... well only that there isn’t enough time in the day for all the things I want to do.. like most parents these days!

Are you a crafter or DIY person?

Absolutely! 100%... I love spending time making things. It’s my bliss! Check out my website for examples

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What kind of DIY project do you like to do ?

I will try my hand at anything. I even pulled our kitchen out when we renovated it. It was great fun..my Dad helped and we had a blast smashing the tiles out... quiet liberating actually... I think its the making a mess side I liked! 

What kind of projects do you like to do with your children?

We love cooking together, we love painting, drawing, gardening together. All kinds of projects. My daughter and I do lots of drawing and writing together and she is really good...my kids often paint with me in my studio space...its chaos!

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How do you buy your books?

I do love a good book store, I never really liked choosing books online, I like to par-ooze through them first before purchasing. Books are popular in our house... action books, drawing books, home ware books, cooking books.. in fact I think we may need to get more book storage space.. I hate getting rid of books... Happy to get rid of most things but I like holding onto books... We do encourage reading as much as we can with the kids... most days they get as much as 1 hour a day worth of books...more than I get.... let me tell you!!

Do your children have friends over?

Yes I encourage play dates...It’s important to know your children’s friends and their parents I think. Some kids I would never have back again and some can stay as often and as long as they like, in fact many play dates have turned into mum picking them up then everyone staying for dinner...! I love that, it makes me happy to share the dinner activities with someone else who appreciates a night off.

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What are some nice activities you can do with children in our area?

Reading time at the local library.. its great.. their is this amazing animated librarian who has the kids in the palm of her hand...... defiantly a lovely thing to do with young kids..

Where do you like to go on vacation?

Holidays are a must, just time to chill out and be together without distraction. We love camping, usually near a beach...I have loads of fond memories of camping as a child so would like to give that opportunity to my kids. No toys, no TV, no luxuries just us and our imagination. Plus.... of course some wine at dinner and just quietly...we don’t eat badly either.... you can still eat gourmet food while camping!

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How do you prepare for a trip?

List, lists and more lists... otherwise I’ll forget something...

..Peachie Kids Art

What a lovely Mom Story Julz, thank you for sharing it with us!

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Mom Story: Tess Lloyd from Polli

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Pictures by Naomi Leonard

Hi! I am Tess, I live in the inner city suburb of Glebe in Sydney, Australia with my husband Bill and two children – India Elizabeth and William Wallace, and two dogs – Alfie and Duff.  I am one of the designers at Polli, a design based business specializing in sustainable jewelry and home accessories. Aside from my family I am passionate about sustainability, delicious food and beautiful things. 

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 heritage terrace house, which are popular in Sydney. We recently renovated our home as it is over 100 years old and we needed it to be livable for our growing family and our visiting friends and family.

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What do you like best about living there?

Our house was designed to maximize the natural light and ventilation. While we’re walking distance to great cafes, parks, local markets and a water front walk our house also feels like a little oasis with a quiet rear garden which attracts lots of local birds. Our kitchen and living space is designed for entertaining, with glass bifold doors opening onto a large wooden deck. This concept of indoor spaces melding with outdoor is very popular in Australia given our warm climate. We spend most of our time in this room as it has a large communal table and a great, warm Northerly aspect.

MS3

Do you like to spend time decorating your home and your children’s room?

I enjoy collecting vintage treasures and restoring family heirlooms. My children sleep in my childhood beds which we powder-coated in yellow (her favourite colour). The walls are covered in pictures ranging from etsy finds too, and stitched black works by their Aunty Maja. Their beds are covered in handmade quilts and lots of toys both new and from our own childhoods. 

MS4

Do you keep your children’s play area separate, or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?

The nature of a terrace is very tall so the children spend most of their time playing in our living / kitchen area and on the deck when the weather is warm. They have their own book shelves and lower play tables in this space. The polished concrete floor is perfect as its hard wearing for dogs, kids bikes, spills and more! Indie is often on her step stool helping me cook or at the large communal table drawing, painting or threading me a necklace. Willie is 7 months so he’s crawling under the table, exploring. As with all kid’s play areas it can get really messy fast so we designed large toy crates on castors which roll into the hall cupboards and house all the toys when not in use. It’s wonderful as from the kitchen I can see them playing in the garden, on the deck on in the same room as me and I’m never far away.

MS6

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

Design Sponge, Decor8, Frankie, IndieOut, and Where the lovely things are.

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

Indie loves her dolls house. It’s a great toy as it’s German and very minimal so she can imagine the different open rooms as different spaces, fields for her toy horses, bedrooms for her dolls or even a garage for her cars. She even covers it with fabric to change the feel. I love that she has so many uses for it and it encourages her creativity and imagination. She also loves the garden and can be often found throwing the ball to one of our dogs to calling the neighbours cats from the back fence. 

MS7

What places in your neighborhood do you like to shop at? 

We are so lucky to have some great produce stores and markets within walking distance like Sonoma bakery which is famous in Sydney for it’s coffee and amazing sourdough bread. Our local fruit shop Galluzzo’s is in it’s third generation and the family know everyone in our suburb by name which is lovely. But on the weekends the best place to try is the Carriage Works food markets where country providors travel to sell their amazing meats, cheeses, fruit and flowers. 

Who do you consider a good example for your children?

We quickly learnt that kids copy everything, from what we eat, do and say so I think we are the best example for our own children as we spend the most time with them.

MS8

What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?

A perfect day relies so much on each person being in harmony. So a good night’s sleep, an easy morning at the local markets where there are activity for the kids, or yummy lunch with family and friends at local place like The Grounds where the restaurant has organic gardens where kids can play and pat baby animals, an afternoon sleep for all of us and then a walk with the dogs by the water and dinner at a local restaurant.  

What is a normal day with your children?  What do you do on the weekends?

As our children are different ages and Willie is still on two day sleeps we try to keep things simple and just have one outing planned per day. Otherwise we find things get too chaotic, tiring and we all feel over stretched. We like to have breakfast as a family and enjoy simple things like hand squeezing orange juice together. We all go a little stir crazy if we don’t get out of the house and we like to be active so taking the kids to the pool, beach or for a walk or bike ride is ideal. We are lucky to have lots of friends with children who are similar ages which makes socializing easy. 

MS5

Tell us a funny story, quote or remark one of your children recently made.

Indie (2 ½ years) was spinning around a pole at the play ground one the weekend – “look, the park is spinning around” are you getting dizzy indie? “no, it’s the park, it keeps moving” She makes us laugh so often with her funny voices, role play with her toys, sweet 'I love yous’, it’s such a special age.

MS9

Any books you can recommend for parents on how to raise children?

We are big fans of ‘Baby Love’ by Robin Barker which focuses more on the first 2 years.

What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?

Indie (2 ½) loves simple things like drawing, painting and play dough. She recently discovered ‘threading’ where she takes thin ribbon with a knot on one end and threads large buttons on it to make a ‘necklace for mum’ her concentration and dedication is amazing. 

What do you do with all the projects your children make at home, or in school?

We use the fridge as a gallery for paper based works and hang any canvas works straight on the wall. Indie is always so proud to show people and  it really seems to encourage her. 

MS10

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

We love to entertain and celebrate birthdays in our garden at home. Generally it includes lots of people, animals, food and chaos which is just the way we like it. 

Do your children have friends over often? If yes, what activities do they do?

We are lucky that our friends have children who are similar ages. When they visit the children really make their own fun, chasing each other around the garden, playing with our two dogs or making cubby houses.

MS12

What are some favorite games in your home?

Indie loves making furniture into different things – a cubby house under the kitchen table or a bus made of dining chairs. It’s great to see her use her imagination and she likes all of us to get involved. 

Are there musical instruments in your house?

Bill is a real muso so we’ve got lots of great instruments from an upright piano, violin, guitars, banjo and even a piano accordion. Indie has her own instruments like drums, maracas, ukulele and xylophones. It’s great to see her playing with his and her toys. 

MS11

What are your all time favorite books for children?

My absolute favourite was ‘Acorns and Stew’ by Ruth OrbachIt’s out of print now so when Indie turned one my sister Anna hunted the internet and found a second hand copy in American. It’s so special.

What are some nice activities you can do with children in your area, and what would you recommend when people are visiting?

The local weekend markets often have jumping castles, face painting and pony rides. These are fun, outdoor activities which are inexpensive are an environment where there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

Where would you like to go on vacation - with or without your children? 

We love holidaying in Byron Bay which is in Northern NSW. This lovely coastal town is only 1 hours flight and is lovely and relaxed with great beaches and places to eat. We often rent a large house so we’ve got lots of families staying and playing together. Recently we enjoyed an overseas holiday to Bali, our family came from around the world to celebrate my mother’s birthday and it was a great opportunity to relax and explore somewhere new together.

MS13

Do you keep some sort of travel journal with your children?

We like to take lots of photos and have made online books on blurb.com which are great to have such personalized picture books to treasure.

What are your tips for traveling in a plane, or on a long road trip with your children?

We pack a few new little toys to make the journey excited and some favorite snacks. We try turn the contained journey into a positive where we can sit and drawer together. We also try to travel over sleep times in the hope that they will nap.

MS14

What a lovely Mom Story Tess, thank you for sharing it with us!

..Polli

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